How do I know? Is it your growing belly? Perhaps, though not generally. Despite the tabloids latching onto a celebrity’s “bump” (which was more likely caused by a heavier than usual lunch … which, in a celebs case, probably just means they actually ate lunch at all for a change), that’s not the earliest giveaway. It’s more subtle than that. It’s the way you dress – no, you’re not showing yet, but you are wearing roomier clothing. It’s the way you’re always drinking water when I used to see you drinking Diet Coke. It’s the way I see you touching your stomach more … even though it doesn’t yet “look” pregnant. But, many times, it’s because you’re so damn smug.
Now I know I’m going to take a lot of shit for saying that. Especially given that some of my very favorite people in the world are pregnant right now – at this very moment – including my very own (and very beloved) sister. But hear me out on this anyway (besides, I’m not talking about YOU. I know, you don’t believe me because, honestly, so much IS focused on YOU right now, but I’m honestly not. But you – and everyone else in the entire world that I know right now – being pregnant has got me thinking).
As someone who’s never been pregnant I have to admit that I, of course, don’t really know what happens to you emotionally, on the inside, when you pee on that little stick and some lines pop up or it says “Pregnant” or whatever that little stick does when you’ve got a bun in the oven. But, I do have 35 years experience watching you and seeing how it changes you on the outside. And that change is noticeable almost immediately. Yes, it’s all the things I mentioned above, but it’s so much more. The one thing that’s really the dead giveaway is the way you talk. Within days of getting a positive pregnancy reading (and sometimes even prior to) your demeanor changes. You get a little more serious and reserved without even noticing it. You talk more long term and are more concerned about things you never gave a second thought about before. You don’t find my snarky quips and unabashed sarcasm nearly as funny as you used to (even though I KNOW I’m just as hilarious as ever). You’re more peaceful in a way but often times you’re also much more emotionally charged (hormones, right? Who’s with me?) It’s lots of little changes really, but if you pay attention to them like I do you’ll soon figure it out – this smug chick is pregnant!
Okay, there I said it (and then said it again). You sound smug. All of a sudden you start talking like Mother Theresa. You’re all concerned about what’s right and what’s just and talking about craving a utopian style society even though we all saw you smoke pot and five finger discount some CDs back in college. I guess what I’m saying is this – I know you’re pregnant because you stop acting entirely like “you” (to some degree anyway. Some preggos suffer far worse smugness afflictions than others). But, honestly, and I mean this in all sincerity (and I’m totally not just saying this to avoid a third-trimester lynch mob on my doorstep), it’s not really your fault. You change because you’re preparing for motherhood. You realize it’s time to crack down and be serious. After all, this is another human life we’re talking about here – it’s SERIOUS business. But, mostly, you change because society has modeled for you what it considers to be “appropriate” pregnant woman behavior and, not wanting to stray from the strict norms set forth by EVERY OTHER pregnant woman you’ve ever seen – EVER – lest you be labeled an unfit future mother, you do … and most importantly “say” … all the things you’re supposed to.
What types of things you ask? I find this video (which, okay, you caught me, I stole the title from to create this post) sums it up pretty nicely.
Okay, so you don’t ALL talk in clichés. But we’ve all heard them … a million times … and it’s that sort of gibberish that makes for great pregnant lady fodder. But, hey, what other choice do you have? You can’t really admit to everyone that you’re ONLY having that third child because your husband is crazy obsessed with having a boy this time around, can you? How will that look when it turns out it’s a girl … TWIN girls … after all? Okay, yeah, so sometimes you sound a little smug and self-important but, eh, it’s your right goshdarnit (see how I kept it clean for you – that’s because I know you want your baby to grow up in a nice place, not one that curses at the Lord) – after all, you can’t drink for 9 months (by the way I have some great evidence proving otherwise but it really doesn’t matter, you still can’t do it because you’ll be shunned by every person in America), you swell up to the size of an RV, your lady parts will never look quite right again, the entire world feels like they can butt into your personal business and tell you all the things you’re doing wrong and, at the end of it all, you give birth to a really painful but gorgeous baby who is, let’s be honest here, not at all grateful for what you just went through and will suffer through on their behalf for the rest of your life.
So, okay, fine. Enjoy your 9 months of smugness while you can. I get it. I understand. And I still love you. But, come on, tell me the truth. You kind of hate it that you HAVE to buy an ugly minivan, right? And, fess up, you don’t REALLY believe that a natural childbirth is the best option, do you? But, hear me on this one – I know you can’t tell off that bitchy woman at work who’s always telling you what a horrible person you are if you don’t breastfeed for at least 18 months and puree all your baby food yourself, etc, etc – you know, because that’s not the kind of behavior that’s acceptable for pregnant women. But I’m under no such limitations … and I have nooo problem whatsoever doing that for you.
See ladies. I DO have your (aching) back!
Note to men everywhere: The viewpoints stated here will, no doubt, ostracize me from a good portion of the entire population of women everywhere. But, as bad as saying everything I said here is for me, a fellow woman, trust me when I say that if you were to ever say any of this, as a man, it would be far, far, far worse for you. So don’t. Just don’t. We already know you feel the same way so why dig that hole you’re already in any deeper, okay?