March 20, 2012

It's My Pregnancy And I'll Cry If I Want To


While getting pregnant might be the most fun that two people can have without breaking the law (well, in most states), being pregnant is no party.

I suck at being pregnant.  I would never wish it upon anyone who didn't actively wish it upon themselves.  And even then, I still feel bad for them.

But without a doubt, one of the most frustrating things about pregnancy is also one of the most frustrating things about being a fourteen year old girl.  You can't look at your reflection, or a picture of yourself, or even your shadow, without being critical.

And I'm not saying, "Oh, we're on day four without a shower are we?" critical, I'm talking full blown paranoia critical.  Like, "MY BODY HATES ME AND WANTS ME TO LOOK BAD SO NOBODY WILL EVER LOVE ME!" critical.

What- never been a teenage girl?  Never parented one?

Well if you, like most of my readers, have daughters, you have this to look forward to!  (Or back on, if you're a woman.)

Here's what I mean about that whole fourteen years old and self loathing thing... fourteen year old girls, on top of hating themselves, are crazy.

Take this photograph, for example:
15 years old
That's me and my little sister's best friend.  We were all playing dress up.  Because that pretty much never gets old, no matter how old you are.  And in this case, we are thirteen and fifteen, I think.

I have this photo on facebook, in an album dedicated to old pictures of me and my friends from our high school-ish days.  There are three comments on it.

B: "You're just so cute!"
Me: "I was just so THIN!"
B: "You'll notice I used the present tense."

Now, I have put on a bit of weight since then.  Probably forty pounds.  And at the time, I did think that I was fat.  Why?

Because teenage girls are paranoid psychotics!  That's why!

What did my ridiculously attractive (by my today-me standard) think of that photograph?
Allow me to recap all of those criticisms for you...
Hair- too frizzy.
Face- weird.  (I don't know how, it just always looked weird.  Makeup just made it worse.  If you've never experienced this phenomena, ask a teenage girl if she thinks she looks weird today.  Then watch her develop an eating disorder.)
Boobs- absurdly large at a DDD (HA!).  Sometimes, I was okay with this.  (Not when standing next to girls with small boobs.)
Stomach- fat.


And that, my friends, is insane.

I think about the Sunscreen Song (if you're of my generation, you know exactly what I'm talking about), and it has that line in it...  "You are not as fat as you think you are."  At the time, I thought that was dumb.  With better than ten years of hindsight... that actually was pretty deep.

Now, there is one distinction I feel I must make.  Those crazy self loathing hormones only generally apply to the self.  I didn't look at that picture and think that my sister's friend looked bad at all.  She looked the way she looked, and there was no problem with that.  It's the distinction between a fourteen year old girl, and a mean fourteen year old girl.

Mean girls pick on the flaws of others, which is an incredibly effective way to make yourself not think that you suck so badly.  Most girls just pick on themselves.  Because there is nobody you spend as much time with as you, and when you're constantly around somebody that you despise, you can't help yourself but to finally snap and start being mean to them.

Just imagine being stuck on a boat with Carrot Top for a two week voyage down the Amazon.  Now tell yourself you wouldn't throw one of you into the piranha infested waters.

Which brings us to... pregnancy.

Now, pregnancy and adolescence share a lot in common.  Most sinister of these commonalities is... the hormones.  Crazy hormones.  Hormones that don't make sense.  Hormones that makes your body do weird things.

But sadly, it's not just your body.  It's also your brain.  Your suddenly deranged, adolescent mind begins to do what overly hormonal female minds do best.

It hates the body it is trapped in.  Oh, how it hates.

It hates like a supervillain who has been foiled once again in its schemes for world domination.  It is disgusted by every single element of human life into which it is being initiated.

It does this to itself, consantly:

That, when applied to every move a fourteen year old girl makes, coming from inside her own head, is why teenage girls are mostly evil and insane.

And it is impossible to stop it.

M, bless his heart, knows that this isn't intentional.  It's not just my mind whirring around, and therefore looking for some kind of validation by asking over and over and over again, "Do I look really bad today?"  He knows I'm restraining myself.  Because what I really want to ask is, "Will you please put this bag over my head, so that I can walk through the streets without shame?"

And he is grateful that I don't ask him to do that.  So he kindly tells me day after day that I am sexy and beautiful and that no, my face doesn't look weird.  It looks pretty, he says.

Does this help?  No.  No, it does not.

28 weeks pregnant with Baby X
Take this image, for example.  This is a lovely picture.  There's the early morning light, the gentle corona of my hair, and my beautiful children, watching from the breakfast table. So idyllic.  And that dress is definitely my color.

Unless the person looking at this picture is its paranoid psychotic pregnant subject.  Because I have matured to the point where, for short bursts, I can ignore my hormonal brain and think with the animal part of my brain that does not contain the incredibly human capacity for self loathing, I am able to recognize this.

But I can only be rational in short bursts.  What I see is...

I have a chorus of teenagers in my head.  And they're all mean girls.
Hair- hasn't been cut in ten months
Eyes- giant circles underneath them from sleeping badly due to occupier in uterus, leg cramps, back pain, etc.
Chin- stray hairs.  They make me want to annihilate my face.
Arms- flabby.  Somebody hasn't been to the gym (or even done yoga- YOU try it with your hips dislocating) in almost as long as they haven't had a haircut.
Scar- only bad on some days.  These days are unpredictable.
Boobs- completely overwhelm the pre-pregnancy bras, resulting in both the oh-so-attractive quad-boob effect, and also in just sort of making me look lumpy all over.  Also, the very large lumpy shelf of breast tissue camouflages my stomach, making it look smaller.  I am actually only about an inch and a half smaller than I was with twins.  Not very significant.
Belly- extra lumpy, thanks to a belly button that doesn't pop when I'm pregnant (never did with the girls, either) and the addition of the lumpy lower belly pouch that was left after my c-section.
Butt- where is it?  No really... where is it?  And how can it manage to take up so much more space?

On top of that, my skirt has a giant hole in it, my children are actually covered in maple syrup, and my house is a mess.

If I shut down all that criticism, I can see that in the picture I am practically glowing.  I am glowing like a pregnant lady is supposed to glow.  I am awash in maternal glory.  I am a goddess, creating life.  I am Gaia, I am Aphrodite, I am Venus.

...I am a gigantic lump of worthlessness.

I am, however, better off than a teenage girl.  I know that this ends.  I know that in the near future, I will stop being hormonally driven to loathe everything about myself.  My pregnancy hormones will give way to a weirder wave of post partum hormones, and then from there I can revert to my former, mostly-happy-with-myself-actually personality.

It's just that it's going to suck until then.

To all the people of the earth who ever must interact with a pregnant lady, I urge you... follow my rule number one of dealing with pregnant ladies.

And never, EVER, tell a hormonally charged female person that their face is weird.

Because, ew.  Seriously?  That is so gross.


  1. Ha. As much as being pregnant sucks (and I so totally agree with you!), at least you're able to keep your sense of humor about it.

  2. Butt Simultaneously fat and non-existent. Hilarious.

  3. Sigh.....well since you already have kids you know that it just keeps getting worse.....
    At least when there's a baby in your uterus you don't have a flabby muffin top and wrinkled fat stomach hanging over your pants.....

  4. OMG I totally know how you are feeling!!!! But you look great! So much better than I do! Although I have yet to even take a belly picture.... sigh...

  5. We're always so hard on ourselves, aren't we?

    I remember the sunscreen song. Loved that. And yes, it makes a lot more sense now than it did back then!



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