When you are pregnant there is a lot you should not do. And I’m not talking about smoking, drinking, bungee jumping and things like that. No. I’m talking about very normal things. Things that you probably think you can still do just fine with your big belly. I’ve done them all and that’s why I know: it’s impossible. Do not do it. I repeat: DO. IT. NOT.
I once tried to haul a top-heavy closet (a kást) up three flights of stairs when I was quite pregnant. My husband had forbidden me, but of course, I didn’t care. It is a wonder that my water did not spontaneously break on the second step, or that I did not get stuck halfway between the banister and that cupboard with my fat stomach. After that I did have a hernia and a blue belly. My husband, when he came home to find out what I had done, almost prenatally called child protection services. And rightly so actually.
Wear a tanking.
I spent most of my first pregnancy complaining about how fat and ugly I was (then I didn’t know what you look like once you’re pregnant for the third time). Because I was heavily pregnant in the summer, I had to swim. And, so I bought a tanking, to ‘hide’ my belly. Of course, it might only stand out because of the floral design of that thing, and besides, it was terrible, and I was only busy pulling the fabric down, as it kept crawling up and so was in my neck in no time. In my next pregnancies, I just went in a bikini. Moreover: such a beautiful pregnant belly, can be seen!
Stress about stretch marks.
There is a considerable chance that you will get it and you will not do anything about it. No, even all those spreads that promise you a peachy skin won’t do anything for you once your skin starts to tear. If you are lucky it is not too bad and you can get rid of it with a few lines, if you are really unlucky you will walk in a tiger skin for the rest of your life.
- I once drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles at 6.5 months pregnant.I also flew to the far north of Norway once pregnant. For which I had to switch three times. That is quite a hassle, especially if you have to pee every ten minutes because someone is jumping on your bladder and you get restless legs if you cannot move properly for more than half an hour. Moreover, you usually have to pack suitcases when you travel and that is a disaster when you are pregnant because of course, you have nothing to wear (or that still fits). In addition, they never have enough pillows in hotels and the scent in every restaurant makes you spontaneously go over your neck. It is therefore better to stay at home for nine months. Or rather: you better just not move at all for nine months.
Cut back on pillows. Pillows are indispensable when you are pregnant. Buy many. Buy good ones. Build a fort of pillows your bed. If necessary, buy new ones every three months, depending on the changing size and shape of your belly (and your butt). That is not a waste of money, it is necessary.
Hesitate to play the “I’m pregnant” card.
- You are building a person with your own body. That is hard work. The hardest job a human can do. So you have the right to get what you want. A McFlurry at 11 PM? Pregnant. A foot massage? Pregnant. Want to spend a whole afternoon looking at baby clothes in the city? Pregnant. Don’t let anything refuse you. You’re pregnant. You can do anything.
Let yourself be threatened by the baby stuff mafia.
- The first time I entered such a baby store I burst into tears almost spontaneously. Did my child need ALL of these to survive? Then I could immediately register with the debt restructuring. Slow down, take a deep breath and remember, this is bullshit. You don’t have to go out of business on baby stuff. And if you don’t have a heated wipe dispenser, your baby won’t die.
Say you don’t need a baby shower.
- It is very modest and very Dutch to say that you don’t think all that hassle is necessary and that people really don’t have to buy you presents and stuff, but you will regret it. A baby shower is hysterical and over the top American, but it’s fun too. And cozy. And there are cupcakes. Plus, it’s probably the last time you’ll be together with all your friends, because once the baby arrives, you won’t have time for anything for a long time. Get pampered, play stupid smell-the-diaper games, drink virgin margaritas. You want it. Really.
Refuse help in advance.
- If your mom offers to come and help for the first few days, say yes. Do you have a friend who can cook well and who wants to come and put a few tasty casseroles in your freezer, let her do her thing. You may think that you will be able to manage it all later and you probably will, but why make it difficult when it can also be easy? That first time is hectic and you will be tired. If you can get help, grab it with both hands. It will be a blessing.
Don’t be blind to your birth plan.
- It is good to put a number of things on paper. What you do and don’t want, what is important to you, what you feel comfortable with. There is a good chance that during the delivery you will no longer be able to formulate a coherent sentence, so then it is as easy if your husband can read the note to the midwife. But: realize that things can go differently than you expected. That you yourself suddenly want other things. Even if it’s just a tiny bit in the back of your mind, keep that in mind. That prevents disappointment.
Don’t get a new pet.
- We got a new cat when I was pregnant. The beast was terrified and so was shivering under the sofa all the time. Where I tried to lure her out, which is not so good if you have a huge stomach on your knees. In addition, animals tend to sense that something big is about to happen and it also takes time for them to get used to a baby. And taking care of a small baby is intense enough without you also feeling the troubled psyche of Mrs. Whisker’s son should be reassured. So try to keep the number of creatures you need to keep alive to a minimum. That is very safe.