This morning we watched Sesame Street. About halfway through, my 4-year-old looked at me very seriously and said, “Mommy. When the cutting open to get the baby out part comes on you need to change the channel. That’s really gross and blood is too icky to see.”
Two things cross my mind:
1. What version of Sesame Street did she think we were watching? Because unless Big Bird got busy fraternizing with A Baby Story, there’s not a snowball’s chance we’ll be seeing a live birth on PBS.
2. My children are scarred forever because I’ve told them about Caesarian sections. They will never procreate.
I had a second-thought. My children might truly never procreate. Maybe that’s ok… at least if they make the decision on purpose.
I say that, not because I don’t want them to experience the joys, trials and triumphs of parenting, but because there are certainly some items regarding pregnancy I was clueless toward when I started this venture. If they knew what I didn’t know, they might not want to partake in reproduction.
So I’ve decided at some point I’m going to sit my girls down and give them the full scoop on the things I didn’t know before I got pregnant.
(FYI… this list is not for the faint of heart. If you’d rather remain innocent, now’s the time to click over to another web page for your viewing pleasure.)
Five things I will make sure my daughters understand about pregnancy — before they get pregnant:
1. Round ligament pain. I have never, even experienced anything like round ligament pain. No one told me about round ligament pain. I suppose I could have figured it out, because, seriously, how did I expect to get something the size of a basketball into my abdomen without some serious re-ordering of my innards? Regardless, feeling like a tiny imp just speared you in the gut with a knitting needle — or the joy of actually feeling your muscle tear when you innocently roll from one side to the other during the night — these are items that no one mentioned when they were filling my ears with the joy of parenting.
2. Swollen toes. Anyone who’s ever seen a woman in late pregnancy has a suspicion bloating comes with the territory. Innocent passerby can observe the lack of indentation between the calves and feet where an ankle used to reside or the puff in a face that resembles two-day old road kill. I expected the cankles, I expected the explosion of my midsection. I did not know my toes would swell. Not my feet, the toes. I have abnormally bony toes. They aren’t fleshy in the least. Unless I am pregnant. Then the little piggies turn into, well, little piggies. Like small grapes on the end of a blighted stump of a foot. Not my favorite sight (or feeling).
3. Lactation. I attended a baby shower approximately three seconds after I found out I was pregnant with Uno. One of the party games asked every woman to come up with alternate uses for breast pads. I had never heard of a breast pad. (Someone suggested reuse as a coffee filter.) I felt stupid.
While I generally understood that breast-feeding a child required a breast and some milk, nothing prepared me for lactation — or the fact your body can sometimes begin this nourishment process months before the grand entrance of the child into the world. I also could never have expected that, after giving birth, any noise that might possibly sound like a baby crying could trigger a milky eruption à la Mount Vesuvius. Viva la breast pads.
4. Gurgling. When your uterus bloats up with a baby and fills your midsection to capacity, where do you suppose your internal organs go? Yep, your stomach, intestines, gall bladder, etc., they all need a place to call home, and the uterus pushes them out of their normally scheduled territories. No one mentioned I’d be feeling gas gurgles under my rib cage or beside my hip bone. And yet, I do. Because the baby has graciously squished my guts into new locations.
5. 10 cm. Sounds innocent, huh? Any viewer of TLC knows a woman is physically ready to give birth when they’re dilated to 10 cm. But that’s not innocent, friends. Not. At. All. The base of a mayonnaise jar measures 10 cm. If you haven’t fainted at that thought, you’re ready to get pregnant. I’m over here on the floor still recovering.
What do you wish you had known before you got pregnant?