If you’re going to participate in a night of unprotected sex with the hopes of bringing a new person into the world, be prepared.
Most women expect the usual – sagging breasts, stretch marks, and a slightly loose vagina. They look to push-up bras, cocoa butter, and kegels for hope – and then dimmed lighting and vodka tonics when nothing else works.
Here’s what else happens:
1. Incontinence: Sure, go out and purchase those adorable $200 maternity dresses in that trendy boutique near the stores selling artisan olive oil. But you only have yourself to blame when Fetus decides to stretch. One quick kick to the bladder and, really, your next status update writes itself.
I once stood in line at the grocery store, and thought we’d all experienced an earthquake. In Boston.
“Did you feel that?” I asked the guy behind me.
He immediately looked at what was trickling down my leg, avoided eye contact, and I had my answer.
“No,” guy with dental floss and tic-tacs was thinking as he whistled and stared at the ceiling, “I didn’t hear a thing. And please wear pants next time.”
Those same kegels that bring us a tighter vagina and orgasms during sex? Those exercises help your muscles keep the pee-pee inside until you get to a toilet. Start practicing now.
2. Mental Freeze: You will start feeling foggy during pregnancy and it won’t really let up until your little nose-pickers leave for college. And by that time you’ve got dementia right around the corner along with the inability to understand anything invented after 1987.
So you might as well start coping way ahead of time.
I routinely call one son by another’s name, often walk into a room and forget why I’m there, and on several occasions have called out my own name during sex.
Lists. Lists help. I write them on napkins, receipts, the palm of my hand, and even record them into my cell phone.
Calendars are a godsend, both the kind you keep on the refrigerator, and the kind you have on your phone. Set alarms for calls you need to make and go over your day as a mental exercise every night.
3. Mouth issues: Your gums will bleed when you floss your teeth and brushing might make you want to gag. Other things you put into your mouth might make you gag, too.
4. Bras Can’t Be Worn Past 8 Hours: I’ve tried sports bras, push-up bras, underwire bras, and HOLY SHIT I LOOK LIKE MY MOM bras. I feel good, damn good, at 8am. By noon, I’ve adjusted the straps and hooks at least four times. When I get home, it comes off within four minutes of walking in the door, often getting flung across the room and lodged behind the dresser between all those toenail clippings and broken dreams.
5. Tears: I’m pretty tough.
I once had a bone marrow biopsy and then drove myself back to work. I get Brazilians every month. I run marathons and take cooking lessons from my Jewish mother-in-law without medication.
The week I gave birth, a fucking deodorant commercial made me cry.
This isn’t okay. I try to blame it on allergies. But other moms around me nod because they know. They know I’m a fucking liar.
That’s when I silently repeat my social security number until the tears subside or I see someone slip and fall and start laughing. Whichever comes first.
6. Carpal-tunnel: As a writer, this is especially fun. After a few minutes in one spot – whether riding a bike, driving a car, or giving some lucky bastard a hand job – my fingers and wrists go numb.
Finger exercises help. Not during the hand job, though. Just stop and use your mouth. He won’t notice or complain.
7. “I have all the answers” Syndrome: I know everything. Breast is best, co-sleeping is okay if you never want to get laid again, cloth diapers are a rip-off and those toys have been recalled three different times since 2001.
Don’t fuck with me. I produced two children with very little professional help and only about half the hospital’s supply of Codeine. I’m now a self-taught know-it-all who ruins every dinner party with unsolicited opinions, after only two glasses of wine.
8. The burps: Women like me, whose fetus faced the wrong way, ass first, thus requiring a c-section, understand that once they take your stomach out and put it back, well, digestion is never quite the same.
Drink plenty of water, and organic apple cider vinegar helps, but really, you’re going to need to burp a whole lot more than you ever did before. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and it’ll happen in the bathroom where God intended.
Other times, you’ll open your mouth, ready to bark a funny retort, something hysterical about fascists and downtown parking lots, and when you open your mouth, a burp happens instead.
9. Hot farts: Remember the good old days when you could eat anything?
Yeah, pizza with jalapeno peppers and then a two-hour movie…bad call.
10. Super-human powers: I read minds and know when you’re lying. I smell the lasagna burning from upstairs, around the corner, in the bathroom, while taking a shit.
I wake up from a deep sleep, where I’m enjoying quiet time with Chris Cornell on a cloud somewhere above Guam, because holy shit, the kid just coughed and I totally heard his heart stop for a second.
I shut my eyes and immediately know you forgot to unplug the iron – even though we’re five miles away and Friday night services just started.
I possess the power of ten men. This comes in handy when trying to steer a grocery cart, rip coupons from a dispenser, and keep two kids from killing each other over a flying booger – all at the same time.
Yes, these are the things to expect as your body revolts from the damage of carrying and birthing children. Happy procreating!