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Is there any such thing as a "typical" pregnancy?

2008-04-25 - 9:22 a.m.

Weíve all heard the stereotypes about pregnancy and pregnant women. Now that Iíve live through two almost-complete pregnancies, I thought Iíd share my take on a couple.

Pregnant women waddle
This one is kinda true, but only sometimes. I have found myself waddling when itís the end of the day and Iím tired and maybe sore. If Iím going to be completely honest, Iím more likely to waddle when I want the world to notice that Iím tired and sore and, hey, look over here! Iím pregnant! Donít you want to give me your seat on the bus?

Much more often, however, I notice a change in my walk which may be labeled waddling only because thatís what people expect pregnant women to do. What I try to do is glide. This is not so that people will marvel at how graceful, regal even, I am on my feet. No, this is because my normal exuberant gait is rather, um, bouncy. And bouncy may connote a youthful zest for life, but with a baby riding on your bladder it can be kind of uncomfortable.

I seek solace in the fact that I still outpace most people on foot, and I glide up the stairs from the bus stop at the entrance to my workplace, while other, less encumbered individuals ride the escalator.

Pregnant women shovel huge servings of ice cream into their gaping maws
*slurp* What? Hunh?

Just kidding. Again, yes, my intake of ice cream is much higher when pregnant, especially in the later stages. BUT, this is not because of a devil-may-care-about-calories-but-I-sure-as-heck-donít, shut-up-and-pass-me-a-spoon-already, canít-you-see-Iím-PREGNANT-and-allowed-to-eat-whatever-I-want-? attitude, to which most people credit this phenomenon.

I have two words for why thereís a steady stream of chocolate frozen yogurt from the grocery store into our house these days (okay, one word, but Iím splitting it up for emphasis): Heart. Burn.

On days when even a half of a grapefruit or a couple of strawberries burn a small, fiery pit in my chest, I am grateful that there is something that can quench it. And hey, if that something happens to be cold, and sweet, and smooth, and chocolate-y, who am I to complain?

Pregnant women cry/get angry/get emotional in general all the time
J can attest to this one: I do not really fall into this category. And if he says I do Iíll tear him limb-from-limb. Seriously though, I might find myself thinking ďAwwwĒ and maybe even getting a little misty more than usual, but much as Iíd like to attribute the occasional bitchiness to hormones I do not see those extreme moods happening in me like I was told to expect.

In the interest of total confession, Iíve actually bawled twice since getting pregnant: once was when I was suffering from one of the worst colds of my life and had stayed up with Grommet all night anyway with the assumption that letting J get a good nightís sleep would mean heíd take the day shift and then he went off to do errands, leaving me with the sick demanding toddler the next day. The other I had gone to the gym and done a workout, then loaded up on a huge amount of groceries, then had a small fender-bender in the parking lot (not my fault) and had to stand in the hot sun exchanging info while my back and feet hurt and my ice cream melted, only to have to make five trips to unload the car once I got home. I finally broke down when I couldnít even find J and Grommet until J started snapping his fingers at me to bring my attention to the fact he was lying on the couch with her, and he knew Iíd been in an accident (Iíd phoned him from the parking lot) and had let me unload all the groceries myself.

Frankly, I think anyone would have been driven to tears by these two things, pregnant or not.

I donít want anyone to think J is anything less than the wonderful, considerate, helpful husband he is though; the fact that I didnít actually voice my distress or ask for help in either of these two situations until they totally overwhelmed me was my own damn fault.

As for other pregnancy stereotypes:
No, my diet didnít change substantially in either volume or types of food, except I drink a lot more milk.
No, I didnít get any real food cravings.
No, I didnít stop exercising.
No, I didnít get morning sickness to the point of throwing up even once.
No, I didnít get that bone-crushing fatigue that afflicts some unfortunates.
No, so far I havenít gotten stretch marks (knock wood).
No, my boobs havenít really gotten a lot bigger (darn it).
No, Iím not ďcarryingĒ a boy differently than I did my girl.
No, I didnít really find that I got bigger earlier this time. Nor have I gained more weight or weight in a significantly different pattern than last time.

But despite the fact that all these things add up to a much less interesting pregnancy, Iím still writing about it, because if thereís one thing I donít think anyone avoids when pregnant, itís the fascination with whatís going on inside you and how it manifests itself. The literal navel-gazing that goes on is, in my estimation, the most universal experience of pregnancy, and the sense of wonder it evokes never goes away.

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