Monday, September 10, 2012

Manboobs and Men Who Are Boobs

When I first got pregnant, I naively assumed that the biggest violation of my privacy would be people wanting to touch my belly, and doing so without asking. I'm into my 8th month, and I have to say I haven't had much of a problem with this. Not a single stranger has touched me or even asked to, and only a couple of family/friends have, and that doesn't bother me.

BUT, my privacy has been violated in a way that I definitely did not expect.

I went to a wedding last weekend, and not one but two different GUYS asked me if I planned to breastfeed. These were not close friends. One was a guy i met one time, about a year and a half ago, when we were drunk together in a limo. The other one is a neighbor down the street that I have talked to a handful of times. One guy had a six month old daughter with him and the other's girlfriends is due around the same time I am. 

The first guy, guy A, introduces us to his daughter (wife is not around because she's in the wedding) and starts spewing off random baby facts, akin to Rainman, because now that he has a baby he is the official knower of all things baby. We talk about benign things like strollers for a while until he abruptly asks, "So, are you going to breastfeed?" Frank and I look at each other like "seriously dude?" and I feel the sudden need to cross my arms over my chest. I kind of stumbled over my words and told him that I wasn't sure yet, blah blah, and he proceeded that as soon as I get past "the bloody, cracked, nipple stage" I'd be good to go and it would be super easy. Though the guy has a minor case of MB's going on, I'm pretty sure he's never nursed a baby. Thankfully, frank jumped in and said, "We plan to feed the baby." 

I may not be able to breastfeed because of some medical issues. Whatever. I don't feel like I need to explain myself or justify myself. To anyone, especially a strange guy. And no, I won't degrade myself or preface any explanation with, "I know breast is best but . . . " because there are many times that breast is NOT the best, in a particular situation, case closed. And I feel well qualified to judge my own situation and make the right decision. 

The point I'm trying to make here is not really about breastfeeding vs. formula. The point is that it has been really disconcerting to watch my body suddenly go up for public debate and judgement. No one  in their right mind would ask a woman a question about her breasts if she weren't pregnant or a mother. Or a loaded question about such a personal choice. Because you know if they're asking, they have an opinion about it. I think the next time someone asks me I'll follow up with an equally inappropriate and private question, like "How much money do you make?" Any other suggestions?

(By the way, this same guy also asked me if I planned on getting an epidural. Because his wife went all natural and it was "really easy". I like to think that if she would have been there she probably would have smacked him.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An Insider's Look at Pregnancy

I've been pregnant for over seven years months now, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. I want to share with you what I've learned so far. Although I have a feeling that I'm just now entering the "I want to die, kill me now" stage where you feel like your body is being ripped limb from limb. So I'm sure I'll have more to discuss later.

It's no secret that this pregnancy has been hard for me, super hard. I think I said in a previous post (although this might have been a blog post i wrote in my mind and never actually wrote, that happens a lot) that the hardest thing about this so far has been the hormones f-ing with me. I've gone to the brink of crazy and (almost) back and it's been horrifying. But I don't feel like writing a post about the really hard stuff so I'll stick to the normal pregnancy stuff.

  • Pregnancy will go a lot faster than you think it will. It will also go a lot slower than you think it will.
  • Cravings: For me at least, the cravings were not extreme and there hasn't really been one single craving that has lasted for a while. The way I explain it is that these are things that I crave when I'm not pregnant, I just give in to the cravings more now because food is ALL I HAVE.
  • Maternity Clothes: When you're not pregnant, you think all these stores have the cutest maternity clothes. I always thought, "I can't wait to be pregnant, this Liz Lange shit is cute!" Then you actually have to shop for maternity clothes and you realize that target has two racks of maternity clothes and they are all size XL. You have to drive 45 min away to the only Old Navy in your city that has maternity clothes, and they have about 3 racks, all size XL. Your standards for fashion go way down because you have nothing to pick from. Before, I could have walked into a Motherhood Maternity and said "I will never wear this fugly stuff," and now I'm all like "Oh, a plain t-shirt with side ruching? JACKPOT!" I really feel for the women who have to leave their house to go to their job, because I have literally been living in the same pair of leggings and rotating between three tank tops for the entire summer. My theory is that a lot of women fall into the "mom clothes" rut because they get so used to having to wear crap during pregnancy. I'm countering this by pinning tons of real people clothes. 
  • More on Maternity Clothes: I (naively) said at the beginning of the pregnancy that my goal was to not wear maternity clothes at all. HAHAHAHA. So smug. It lasted for a while, but I eventually realized that despite the lack of selection and style, maternity clothes actually do flatter more than "regular" clothes. If you compare a plain white tee to a plain white maternity tee, the maternity one will make you look ten times better. I could probably still wear regular jeans, unbuttoned, with a belly band right now (in a few sizes up from my old size, RIP) but I don't want any kind of stuff touching my stomach besides the glorious spandex panel of maternity pants. I just feel more sensitive there and don't want things all bunched up and pinching my gut.
  • The strangers-touching-your-belly thing has not been an issue for me so far. It hasn't even happened once. 
  • Stretch Marks: None yet, but I know that most of the time they happen in the last couple weeks.  I also know that it's mostly genetic, so I don't go crazy with the belly butter etc. What did freak me out was that my mom told me she practically erupted in stretch marks at 5 months and the doctor told her it was one of the worst cases he's ever seen.
  • My goal was to be one of those women who work out until they give birth. I thought that those who didn't were mostly just lazy. Not true. One day I woke up and my body had broken overnight. My SI joint went out of place and hasn't gone back, so for a while I could barely walk, had excruciating pain, and sleeping was a joke. Since I've been going to a chiropractor and getting massages, it's been downgraded to a constant pain and annoyance that only wakes me up every 2 hours rather than every half hour. But it makes regular yoga impossible and I can only walk about a mile or so now. It also feels like my hips are being ripped apart with a crowbar. 
  • Feeling the baby move: A lot of people who have never been pregnant ask me what it feels like to have a baby inside you. Well. . . it feels like you have a baby inside you. Imagine taking a newborn squirming jerky-limbed baby and putting it inside yourself. I get kicked in the ribs on the hour and have to push him out of there. It's kind of cool but it kind of sucks also. It feels like all my internal organs are in different places than they used to be. I got food poisoning a few weeks ago (yeah seriously) and I could feel the intestinal cramps in my chest.
  • Peeing my pants: This started pretty early for me. Anytime I sneeze, I pee myself. The only way I don't is if my bladder is empty and I have enough warning to cross my legs tightly. I've peed on the new glider for the baby's room. I've peed 
There's one more big one, but that requires it's own post. Hopefully I get around to writing it and not just writing it in my head. It's a doozy. In the meantime, here are some pictures to prove that I'm actually pregnant. The whole "take a photo each week of pregnancy" thing only lasted for a few weeks.

These are from a wedding I went to this weekend:

And this is what I more typically look like: