There’s a lot of reasons pregnancy is miserable. Weeks of vomiting and non-stop nausea, horrible heartburn, limp-worthy sciatica, terrible constipation leading to hemorrhoids so awful-please don’t use a hand mirror, they’re more horrifying than you are imagining. Let’s also give a shout out to some stretch marks and the slow suffocating crush of major organs. But there are some unexpected perks of pregnancy that they don’t talk about in the books. Before you roll your eyes at me, I should probably tell you that I’m not the type to slather my belly in cocoa butter lotion and drape my naked body in creamy white chiffon while posing in a field of wildflowers at sunrise. I’m not that kind of pregnant lady. This isn’t a list all about the gloriousness of growing a person inside you or the miracle of life. This is a list of the stupid (yet totally legit!) reasons to love being pregnant.
1. The pregnancy experience will allow you to indulge in your deep-seated need to micro-manage the tiniest insignificant details. From not taking pink pre-natal vitamins with red dye in them to only sleeping on my left side for 240 days straight, it is exactly the sort of irrational I-need-to-do this-who-knows-why kind of control that I thrive on and actually have the ability to carry out. There’s plenty of things I have no control over at all, like my baby’s evacuation plan from my uterus, but I made peace with those things early on, and I set my focus on weird things, like using organic deodorant and not dressing my belly bump in white after Labor Day. Which brings me to…
2. Wear whatever you damn well please. Start with stripes every day, because, why not? I actually wear stripes a lot in my everyday life. Yes, horizontal ones. I just like them. Maternity shirts, for some reason that makes no sense at all, are available in a horizontal stripe option. Jokes on them because I bought them all, and they are wonderful. There is no need to suck in my tummy post-meal because if my shirt feels tight across my belly it isn’t because of my food baby, it was because of my REAL baby. And these gorgeous stripes just accentuates the bulge. And the people who can make fun of my big belly with a baby inside of it have bigger problems to worry about, like making sure their membership in the asshat club is up-to-date and paid in full.
3. Pregnancy is a valid reason to man-spread, or more appropriately, belly bulge your way into extra seating. I’m usually a cross-armed, double-crossed legs kind of gal who then gets irritated when the men next to me take the armrests. By the third trimester, no longer able to wrap myself up like an origami crane, I plan to utilize the opposite approach and just let it go, belly bulging my way onto both armrests. When possible, I always made sure that I politely crossed my ankles though. It’s important to still be a lady.
4. People love a pregnant lady. Or are incredibly scared of them, I’m not sure which one. But the results are great regardless. People love to hold doors for me, stores have a special parking spot for me, and people love to feed me. You can’t buy into the “eating for two” hype, but you can certainly enjoy an occasional indulgence, like hot fudge sundaes with whipped cream and sprinkles. Every day.
5. You get praise for even the lamest exercise workouts. My maternity workout video is literally 20 minutes of swaying back and forth rhythmically and 10 minutes of marching in place. And the marching is optional. This was not an accident; I chose this specific workout video with intention. Once finished, I can announce to my husband that I have “worked out” for 30 minutes, and he’ll hug me proudly. I can tell my doctor that I “work out” 5 days a week, and he will nod approvingly and draw a smiley face on my chart. They don’t need to know that my video is probably based on a geriatric water exercise class or that I sometimes eat a snack while swaying back and forth. Minor details.
I’m comfortable enough to admit that my favorite parts of pregnancy are dumb and probably a little bit selfish, but that’s okay. Being pregnant is not always the most comfortable experience. Did I glow? Nope. Not even close, unless you want to count all the sweating I’ll be doing in the third trimester. It is the day-to-day joys that get me through the physical discomfort and the inevitable insecurities of becoming a parent. It’s important to find your own silver linings, even if they are kind of dumb and shallow.