Pregnancy is, in many ways, like running a marathon. It’s hard. It gets harder as it goes along. At a certain point, it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to end.
When it finally does end, you feel a strange mixture of pure elation and incredible pain. And even though, for all intents and purposes, you have to do it completely on your own, there are a bunch of people having the exact same experience. From marathon runners, we expect to hear certain phrases that we’d really rather they just stop saying, like “I do it for the endorphins,” “I ran through my shoes,” and “Can I have two nipple-sized band-aids please?” It’s no different for pregnant women.
There are certain phrases that pregnant women use and abuse, like “please pass the butter” and “got any Tums?” We just smile and nod as though we haven’t heard it a million times before because, hey, they’re pregnant. They are literally forming a human being inside their body. They are about to bring forth life into this world. We can listen to them talk about “going for a waddle” one more time. It’s uncanny. It’s almost like there is some sort of convention where they all go to buy nursing bras and learn to say phrases like “back off the bump” and “are you going to finish that?” Here are a few more phrases and sentences that pregnant women say over and over and over again.
15 I’m Eating For Two
We hear this every day, several times a day, at meal and snack times, from pregnant women, and in a different respect, from their partners who claim that they’re drinking for two. Okay, we know they’re kidding (sort of) about the drinking thing, but what about that eating thing? Have you ever seen a pregnant lady hit the buffet at Sizzler? Preggos do not joke when it comes to cheese toast. If you don’t believe me, just try to cut in front of one them in line and see if they don’t threaten to cut you.
We kid, of course. And that’s what pregnant ladies are mostly doing when they say this. They know that they aren’t meant to double their intake, but they realize that they have a big responsibility now where nutrition is concerned. They can’t have coffee and stress for breakfast anymore. Or hit the vending machine for lunch and then the bar for dinner. From the moment they take their prenatal vitamins in the am, pregnant ladies are thinking about the other person they’re eating for. If they do it right, it will all pay off at the finish line.
14 Boy or Girl? I Don’t Want to Know
This is a bit of an odd one. No one said this back before the days of the second trimester ultrasound. Back then, people would just walk around, having no idea about the sex of their babies, but instead of just going with it and waiting the nine months, everyone around them would suddenly become intensely curious. People would just walk up to strange pregnant women and say things like, “oh you’re carrying high, you must be having a girl.” Or “Here, let me rub this poultice on your belly. If it burns, you’re having a boy. If it itches, you’re having a girl.”
Pregnant women would spend a great deal of their time telling those people to chill out. Now that a tech can wave a wand over your tummy and give you the sex and relative well-being of your baby, why would anyone want to go back to the days of stranger danger and poultices? Sure. Surprises are nice, but there will be plenty of surprises at the moment of birth.
13 Nothing Fits
This might be the biggest complaint from pregnant women. We’ve all heard it, although we might have to listen a bit harder to hear this one. It’s usually screamed from the depths of closets and changing rooms all over the world. It’s understandable. Pregnancy bellies have a way of popping out all at once, leaving women stuck in the skinny jeans that they put on that morning.
Still, maybe they shouldn’t have put on those skinny jeans at all. It’s not like they didn’t have warning. For their entire pre-pregnancy life, they’d had to walk past the maternity section of the department store on their way to shoes or workout wear or intimates. Who did they think those clothes were for? Women who wanted to smuggle pumpkins over the border? Here’s the deal, preggos. Maternity clothes are for you because you are pregnant. Wear them. You will look great. Even better than in your skinny jeans.
12 I’ve Decided on a Name
This one is deceptive, and anyone who hears a pregnant woman say this, needs to be very leery. What is usually the truth is that she’s actually saying the opposite. If she says that she’s decided on a name, it means that she’s not decided on a baby name. She really just has a list of names that she is going to trot out to all her friends once a week. She’ll show up at brunch and say something like, “Oh, I’ve decided on Mortimer.” Then she’ll watch closely as her friends strain to keep straight faces. Then, she’ll go home and cross Mortimer off the list and do the whole thing over again. The very next Sunday, there she is. At brunch. “I’ve decided on Geraldo.” Conversely, if she tells you she hasn’t decided on a name, you can be sure that she has already decided, but doesn’t want to listen to her friends tell her what a terrible name Mortimer is.
11 I Haven’t Seen My Feet in Months
Pregnant women say this sentence so much, they should really have it printed on a t-shirt. It would, of course, have to be written on the top half of the t-shirt or else they’ll never be able to read it. We totally get it, though. It must be a shock, to suddenly not know what’s happening way down there at their toes. There could be an entire Smurf village down there, for all they know. Four or five times a day, just while walking in their own home, they stub their toes on something and have no idea what it was. Corner of the coffee table? Gargamel? It could be anything.
This sentence isn’t actually the truth, though. Pregnant women do see their feet on a few occasions: when they do prenatal yoga, when their feet are in stirrups and when they paint their toes. We all know pregnant women paint their toes. We’ve seen the Youtube videos, and they are hilarious.
10 My Fetus Is the Size of an (Insert Fruit or Vegetable Here)
Yes, we are all a bit tired of hearing this from pregnant women. “Did you know my baby is the size of a peach? A peach! Can you believe it?!” We sense that they all expect us to respond in some way, so we ask, “Freestone or clingstone?” And they tell us, “A peach! Isn’t it amazing?” We nod. Yes, it really is kind of amazing, this making of life inside a human body. The thing is that when the whole astounding process is reduced to something we cut up into our leafy greens for lunch that day, it’s hard to be as reverent as we should be. Just wait until they get to “The baby is the same size of a squash!” We try smile, nod and understand how excited they are. But then something takes over our cerebral cortex and we can’t help but blurt out, “So cool! But is it acorn or butternut, because there’s a big difference.”
9 I’m Sticking to My Birth Plan
Walk into any prenatal yoga class or parenting class, and you will hear the words “birth” and “plan” filling the empty space and bouncing off the walls like balls in a ball pit until the words have lost all meaning. The word “birth” of course still has meaning. It’s what happens when pregnancy is finally and blessedly over. The word “plan” is another animal entirely. Pregnant women get very specific and adamant about the things in their birth plans.
It is amusing to women who’ve given birth to hear it because we know that almost nothing goes as planned in the wild, wooly world of labor and delivery. It’s understandable, though. After months and months of uncertainty, to want to know what is going to happen. Women who’ve given birth should allow pregnant women this one fairy tale. They haven’t slept on their stomachs in months…just let them have it.
8 I’ll Never Do That
Walk into any maternity shop or birthing class and you’ll hear the sound of tongues clucking and whispered admonishments of “I would NEVER!” Oh pregnant women! You are such comedians. Especially those of you who are pregnant with your first baby. Hilarious. As soon as the plus sign appears on the stick, you think you can tell the future. “I’ll never bottle feed.” “I’ll never dress my baby in gender-normative clothing.” “I’ll never let my baby look at a screen.” “I’ll never allow my child to eat sugar, watch a Disney product or listen to pop music.” It’s like progesterone is some magic sauce that turns all pregnant women into little waddling Nostradamuses. Parents just smile, shake our heads and say, “Two-am feedings, skipped-nap afternoons, relatives, and life.” Softly, though, so as not to interrupt the psychic vibes.
7 My Doctor Said I Could
Pregnant women have it rough. Their feet are swollen, they’re in pain all the time, and like they tell us over and over again that they haven’t seen their feet in months. Add to all that a strict set of rules that they have to follow, and there’s no denying it. Pregnancy is no picnic. That’s why, when they say “my doctor said I could” while riding a roller coaster, eating sushi or drinking a wine spritzer, we don’t say anything. We’ve all read the horror stories about baristas refusing to give espresso to pregnant women (like they’ve started giving out OBGYN licenses with the Starbucks training course, now).
No one wants to be That Guy. However, it gets harder to stay silent when they say it while doing things like downing tequila shots, eating raw eggs or bungee jumping. We open our mouths…unsure of how to begin as their voices echo off the open ravine they’re dangling above. “My” boing “doctor” boing “said” boing “I” boing “could” boing boing boing!
6 I’m Giving This Baby His Eviction Notice
By the third trimester, the baby is the size of a pair of sneakers, which in vegetable terms, is the size of two eggplants, next to each other and laced up. This is the trimester when the baby learns to do new and interesting things like opening his eyes, sucking his thumb, and kicking his mother in the ribs for twelve straight hours every day. This is also the Done Trimester. As in done with heartburn, done with swollen feet, done with fitting behind the steering wheel and done with carrying this baby. Or they think so.
The third trimester is when women learn that there’s done, and then there’s really done, and there’s still not done yet, and then there’s done done done. That’s actually the mantra of the third trimester woman: done, done, done. It’s kind of like how runners say “down, down, down” towards the end of a marathon. We shouldn’t be surprised when pregnant women start acting like an angry poltergeists, looking down at their protruding belly and whispering in hoarse, urgent tones, “get out!”
5 I’m a Whale
You would think that pregnant women would celebrate the one time when it is perfectly acceptable to walk around sporting a beach-ball-sized tummy. They do not. They don’t celebrate it all. When we tell them that they’re glowing, they say things like, “Glowing? I look like Homer Simpson in a caftan.” Or “Glowing? I went to the beach the other day and someone called Marine Mammal Rescue because they thought I’d beached myself.” Oh come on, pregnant ladies. It’s not like those are cheese-its and Whoppers that built that beach ball (exclusively anyway). That is the house that your body built for your baby. Some babies need more than just a studio apartment. Some of them need a duplex with a two car garage. And aren’t you a magnificent creature for building her one. Oh, is that what you meant by the whale comparison? Spot on, then.
4 Look at My Baby Registry
If pregnant women learn anything, it’s how to be consumers. From the first trimester, the capitalism machine bombards them with advertisements for things All Pregnant Women NEED! They need full-body pillows, all-natural ginger mouth rinse to fight morning sickness and tartar build-up, belly bands, snore-stopping nose strips, belly casting, prenatal massage, vaginally-inserted speakers to play music and sound to the fetus, and yes, I just said vaginally-inserted speakers. It’s no wonder that as they look forward to greeting their new baby, they are well-versed in the consumerism of baby-rearing.
They need wipe warmers, baby tool-kits (which really exist and might be useful when you need to change baby’s oil), special brushes to clean baby bottles, pacifiers that magically land nipple-side up, frozen organic fruit baby teethers, self-cleaning diapers, a combination bottle warmer/baby shusher/electric nose sucker, and an attachment so you can strap your iPhone to the stroller. These are all genius products that should be on everyone’s registry, and if anyone says otherwise, it’s probably because they’re jealous that the fanciest thing available when they had their baby shower was a facecloth with a duck on it.
3 Pregnancy Is Not a Medical Condition
It can be awfully frustrating to be a pregnant woman. Suddenly, her body is not her own. It not only belongs to the sneaker-sized baby currently kicking the underside of her ribcage, but in a weird way, it belongs to the general public. All of a sudden, perfect strangers are telling her to sit down and take it easy…even if she’s out for a run. All of a sudden people make a federal case of it every time she drinks a cup of coffee or attempts to jump Springfield gorge on her skateboard. It’s easy to abuse this phrase, though.
Many pregnant women say this as a response to hospital births. Of course all births don’t need to happen in a hospital. The fact is, with all the machines and regulations and off-brand granola bars in the vending machine, hospitals can be a downright annoying place to give birth. However, if there is even the slightest chance that the baby might be born with the umbilical cord around his neck, it might be best to have the birth as close to a NICU as possible to avoid having a baby with a permanent medical condition.
2 The Baby Can Hear Everything
This phrase is often used by pregnant women who say that they talk, sing or read to their babies every night and abused by those who say things like, “I’m teaching my baby to appreciate Mozart in the womb” or even worse “I’m teaching my fetus Italian with Rosetta Stone and a vaginally-inserted speaker.” Don’t say that ever. The baby is not going to learn Italian, and it just makes the rest of us glad that they haven’t perfected the in-womb algebra flash card.
Pregnant woman will have plenty of time to go overboard with the cultural and mathematical education of their babies. They should just take these last few months to enjoy the things they won’t be able to enjoy much longer: like napping, sex and listening to heavy metal music during the afternoon nap hour. Why not kill two birds with one stone and play some Ozzy for the fetus? It’ll do the same thing as the Mozart.
1 It Must Be Preggo Brain
Pregnant women forget things. It happens. You can’t get mad at them for flaking on your birthday or retirement party or their own baby shower because they have preggo brain. Preggo brain is a kind of foggy, stupid feeling that most pregnant women feel and most experts say is only in our head. They love to tell us that stuff is in our heads, don’t they? It wasn’t until recently that they stopped telling us that menstrual cramps were in our heads. Hey experts, you know what else is in a pregnant brain?
Heartburn and morning sickness remedies, nutrition plans, sushi rules, birth plans, vegetable-based fetal development charts, baby registries and vaginal play-lists. How can anyone remember a birthday with all that going on? Even if preggo brain weren’t a real thing before, it must be now. It’s real, and it is shared among a wide-network of wonderfully adaptive, miraculously daring pregnant women who just happen to all say the same things: over and over and over.