So I’ve picked up a few books and assorted reading materials here and there on the topic of pregnancy because I thought that maybe if I had a little scientific insight into what is happening to my body I might be able to stave off what I’ve heard referred to as first-trimester jitters. Many women like myself when faced with the actual notion that they are going to be bringing a living, breathing human being into this world begin to panic and ask themselves in dark moments, “What the hell have I done?” In my darkest moments, moments like Saturday night when I sprayed the backyard with staccato chunks of orange shrimp tikka masala, I wonder why women aren’t equipped with tidy ctrl-z options, like, “undo eating that Indian food,” or “undo smelling those coffee grounds,” or “undo the biological urge to procreate.” What the hell have I gotten myself into?
Sadly, nothing I have read so far has done ANYTHING to make me feel better about the fact that I’m facing months and months of ongoing discomfort. In fact, everything I have read so far has had the following wholly infuriating thesis statement: Be careful and don’t gain too much weight! And I am here to tell you that the last thing a pregnant woman in her first trimester wants to think about is how much weight she is gaining. Do you have any idea what else we have to worry about? According to the four books sitting on my nightstand the list of things I have to worry about runs the gamut from not mixing certain household cleansers else risking the possibility that my child might be born with three ears, to not touching lunchmeat with my bare hands else risking the possibility that those three ears will be covered in scales.
What’s even more annoying is that all these books begin with a foreword in which the author talks endlessly about how their specific book will calm all the worries of an expectant mother, and then they spend the entire book detailing everything, real or imaginary, an expectant mother should be wary of. And every other sentence says something like, “But be careful and don’t gain too much weight!” Always with the exclamation mark IN CASE WE WEREN’T TAKING THEM SERIOUSLY.
Believe me, it’s hard not to think about the weight gain when you can feel your thighs separating at the joints. It’s hard not to think about it when you can look at an entire chocolate cake and project manage in your head how you would get the entire thing down your throat in less than four minutes.
But for women like me who on a good day are able to keep down three meals without delivering them straight to the toilet wrapped in digestive acid, weight gain shouldn’t be at the top of the list of things I’m losing sleep over AND I’M TIRED OF READING ABOUT IT. I started this pregnancy about 20 pounds under the ideal weight for a woman my height, and I discovered last week at my first doctor’s visit that I’d lost 10 pounds since the nausea hit me four weeks ago. And so I’m not going to feel guilty when I lie there in bed reading the ever vile What to Expect When You’re Expecting while snorting a cream-cheese-frosting-topped cupcake because it’s the only thing I can put in my mouth without wretching.
Now, when I gain 30 pounds from eating nothing but cream-cheese-frosting-topped cupcakes those books can tell me they told me so, but then I’ll just complain that they weren’t emphatic enough with their exclamation points, and how was I supposed to know?