You Should Be

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 · 63 Comments

How’s everybody enjoying their holiday season? Already had a few teary fights and regrets? Having a lot of life-altering meditations and heart-to-hearts? Thinking about your life and what has happened to it? Determined to be able to see your feet again by this time next year? I hear ya, friend. I lift my non-alcoholic beer to you in solidarity.

I’m entering the final stretch of a very long period of time that has been my Visibly Pregnant season. It is exhausting — not just because of how pregnant I am — but because it has brought out in full force the You Should Be’s.

These are the people who take one look at me and start their next sentence with “You should be…” and then smugly add some advice they’re sure I had never heard before about being pregnant, raising a kid, breastfeeding, exercise, drinking water, or bending down.

The You Should Be’s like to hang out at grocery stores, airports, awkward social gatherings where people don’t really know each other, in line for a public bathroom. They know they know what’s best for me, even when they don’t even know my name.

“You should be walking right now.”
“You should be resting!”
“You should be definitely not working anymore.”
“You should be wearing different shoes.”
“Do you have a pool? Because you should be swimming as much as you can.”

Occasionally you find the one person who’s like, “I’m not going to tell you what to do. Because, listen, you’re going to hear a lot of advice and you should be ignoring it all. You’ll figure it out on your own and every baby is different. But you should be doing pre-natal yoga because seriously, it’s important.”

To the credit of all of my friends, they either have confidence in my competence, or they don’t want to find out what it would be like to tell me what to do. Almost all of them have kept from being You Should Be’s. Or their advice is very useful or timely, because they know me and/or I asked them for help. But the strangers. The strangers are out of control.

Strangers want to guess the gender of the baby, and if he or she is wrong (Oh, how the Asian ladies get it wrong), they turn angry, as if I’m running a Three Card Monte out of my uterus. They blame the way my body is shaped for why they are wrong. “You should be carrying differently.”

I was on an elevator the other week, and when the door closed, the only other person in the elevator– a man I had never met in my entire life — turned to me, put his hands on my stomach and asked, “What are we having?”

What I should have said was: “A fucking panic attack, dickhole.”

But instead I told him the gender. And then he argued with me that I was wrong.

When people ask if I find all this pregnancy stuff magical and wonderful, I think about moments like this, which only confirm what I thought getting pregnant would be like — just months and months of putting up with the inappropriate. You guys all know weird shit happens to me anyway, and people generally have no filter when they say stuff to my face, but this baby sitting in my stomach has put things on a whole new level. And listen, before you tell me, “Just wait until the baby gets here, and then you’ll know about getting unsolicited advice…” I know. I know. But I’m not there yet.

Sometimes the You Should Be’s start with trick questions to lure me into their trap.

“Do you have any baby clothes yet?”
“Yes, I think we’re all set for some time.”
“Well, you should be washing them right now.”

“Have you packed your hospital bag?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Is it in your trunk?”
“No, it’s by the door.”
“Well, you should be carrying one in your trunk, one in his trunk, and then one you just carry on you at all times because you never know. And look at you, clearly this baby is about to drop right out of you today. You should be at home with your feet up.”

That really was said to me this week. Somehow they still find a way to tell me what to do.

My life is a constant pop quiz, always oral.

“What hospital are you going to?”
“I’m at xxx.”
“You should be at yyy. And don’t birth in your living room. You should be at a hospital.”

I’ve never had so many personal questions from people who have no business asking me such things. Suddenly everybody’s my dietician, my nutritionist, my personal trainer, my lactation consultant.

“Are you breastfeeding?”
“Well, not yet, the baby isn’t here yet.”
“Still. You should be. It’s what’s best for the child. Starting now couldn’t hurt. There are babies who need breast milk – HOW COULD YOU DENY A BABY BREAST MILK, YOU MONSTER?”

I never used to have to tell people about my workout schedule. Nobody used to ask what was happening to my cervical mucus (any mucus, really), the size of my nipples, or the state of my colon. None of these people has the word “Doctor” on a business card. I’m never going to see any of these people again! Why do they want to know whether or not I have stretch marks? Just order your latte and then get on with your day, lady-wearing-tights-as-pants!

And as for a glass of wine, let me tell you I haven’t had this many people trying to get me to drink booze since I was a freshman in college. “But don’t you miss it? This was your thing!” I’ve learned a lot about what people think of me since becoming a vessel for someone else. It’s like getting granted an invisibility cloak and eavesdropping on your friends.

My friends have been very kind and supportive, and I can tell in their faces that they are as surprised as I am that I don’t look like the world’s saddest pregnant lady. “You look so good!” they say upon seeing me, and not in that way you usually do with someone when you greet them. I can hear the genuine shock in their voices. I’m one of those “all baby” people. I can tell this, because that’s what people say when they look at me. “You’re just all baby!” If I’m wearing black and you’re facing me straight on, you can barely tell. Until I turn to the side.

“You give me hope!” one of my friends said.

“I hate you,” another said, one who had a child of her own. “How do you not look fat?”

The answer is one people don’t like, because it’s no Hollywood secret. “I’ve been on an enforced, restricted, low-carb diet for almost two months. My face might look slender, but my soul is miserable. This is the diet I’m on when I’m trying to lose weight, so it’s no surprise it works even better when there’s a human inside of me stealing any and all nutrients before I can get to them.”

Now that I’m in the final days of Visibly Pregnant, there’s one question that everyone asks, from the You Should Be’s to the I’ll Never Breeds.

“How are you going to have it?”

They ask with a healthy gleam in the eye, because this is the good stuff. This is the stuff where goo and guts and are-you-worried-you-might-shit-the-table conversations come from. This is the opening move.

And the truth is I don’t know how I’m going to have it because it hasn’t happened yet, and I know from enough people that no birthing plan ever goes according to plan, and this is the baby’s birth, not mine, so it’s not really up to me in any way. Besides, all of the options that have been presented to me sound horrible, and while I’ve been holding out for a version that won’t involve pain, mutilated genitals or surgery that slices open my abdominals, there doesn’t seem to be any alternative. So I start to say, “I don’t know,” but the truth is I don’t even really have to answer the question, because it’s just a formality. It’s only asked so that the person can tell me Someone’s Birthing Horror Story.

I tend to tune out during the Birthing Horror Stories, because somewhere inside of me I have at least one or two defense mechanisms that know when something said to me will be helpful. I just wait until I hear the words, “But I’m sure that won’t happen to you” and then I come back to the present.

But I did a dumb thing yesterday. In all the You Should Be’s and their equally helpful You Shouldn’t Bes, nobody mentioned something I did to myself yesterday. I did this willingly, because at the time I thought it would be a good idea.

I’ve been having some periods of stronger-than-Braxton-Hicks contractions over the past couple of weeks (sometimes for five or six hours before they stop) (“You should be drinking lots of water for that!”), and as I come to terms with the fact that I will soon be giving birth one way or another, I decided it would be helpful if I’d seen a whole lot of ways it could happen. I thought if I’d watched woman after woman become mother after mother, it would make me feel less like I was entering Terror Town and more like I was doing something that happens every day, all over the world, for as long as there have been people.

I don’t watch those I Almost Died birthing shows on TLC, so I thought I was being smart deciding to watch birthing videos on You Tube.

You guys, it was not helpful to watch birthing videos on You Tube.

I’ve seen things now that… I don’t… I’m not… Look: I’m not okay anymore. One video was just this woman on her back, the camera over her shoulder, as she’s screaming. Screaming that she can’t do this, that this is killing her, and that something is very wrong. And then she gets really quiet and says to the doctors, her husband, the nurses: “Please, somebody help me.” Very small, very worried. “I need somebody to help me.” And they’re all going, “Just push! Just push! You’re doing great! Breathe and push!” And she whimpers, “You don’t understand. I’m going to pass out or puke or something bad is about to happen to me. I am… not going…to make it.” And they’re not even looking at her. Just staring into her vagina, all smiles. And she weakly grabs her husband’s sleeve and begs him, “Please…Please make them …help …me.” And that guy whom she married who put this baby inside of her, he turns to her and says, “Just breathe, honey.”

I almost punched him through my laptop screen.

This semi-snuff video wasn’t titled, “Me, Dying In Front of Five Caregivers.” No, it was titled, “Our Beautiful Son’s Birth.” That lady uploaded that video herself! As something sweet! Something she has nostalgia for! Does she not see what I see? Does she not see herself begging someone to help her? Because it has been a good thirty hours and I still hear that woman’s calm, quiet announcement that she is going to die before the baby is going to be born.

I didn’t pick a single video that sounded like the horrorshows I witnessed. Every one was like, “Hannah’s First Day!” And then I’d click it and there’s a woman spread open with the camera focused firmly on her private parts and MORE THAN ONE HOLE OF HERS had grown to the SIZE OF A BABY HEAD and this woman is screaming, “GET IT OUT OF ME! I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I CAN’T DO THIS! IT BURNS IT BURNS IT BURNS IT BURNS IT BURNS!”

And all around her are people holding her legs open, staring between her knees, going, “Just breathe. You’re doing great. You can do it.”

There was one with a woman going, “I can’t do this!” and all the other people responded in unison, “Yes, you can.” Not encouragingly, just monotone call and response. “I can’t!” “You can.” “I will die!” “No, you won’t.” “I’m still a human being here!” “Not really, baby-pusher. Just breathe. WE NEED THE BABY. WE WANT THE BABY. YOU ARE THE ONE HOLDING THE BABY HOSTAGE. RELEASE THE CHILD FROM YOUR VAGI-VISE.”

I click another video and it’s a lady crying in a bed, miserable because she’s been laboring for more than a day and now they’re going to give her a c-section, the one thing she never, ever wanted and why is this happening to her and basically her entire life is ruined now.

I clicked another only to watch a taint rip in real time, inches from my face. You know, I can’t see a man even say the word “asshole” on television without a good three or four warnings before that segment airs, but one click and I’m face to face with unedited butt-torture.

Every face of natural childbirth was one of primal fear and pure, agonizing pain. Eyes wild, legs splayed, screams and tears and just women begging for mercy, pleading with someone to take his or her focus off the baby and just for the love of God save them from this impending death.

And then I clicked on the epidural ladies.

Oh, the sweet, blissed-out, heavy-lidded epidural ladies with their lazy smiles and half smirks, leaning back, head tilted toward the camera as they serenely explain, “So…. I just got my epidural… and I’m feeling pretty good now… and it was a little scary earlier… but now I’m just fine and…. We’re just waiting on the baby! The baby’s coming and I couldn’t be happier because I’m not in pain and the baby’s coming and I’m just so happy and I love my epidural lady. There she is! Honey, point the camera at her. That’s my new best friend, the epidural lady. I love her. I want to put her to my breast and give her all my colostrum because she deserves it. She loves me. If I could walk right now, I would run away with that woman.”

It’s the end of Visible Pregnant season. “You must be so ready to have this baby,” people keep saying to me.

My house is pure chaos right now. In one week we had to replace a bathroom fixture when pipes exploded on Thanksgiving Day, our washing machine decided it had a new cycle called SCREECH AND SHAKE, the carpets got jacked from all the repairmen (including one who plans on returning the day after my due date) so today we had them cleaned, just after three different delivery men arrived with the final pieces of baby-related furniture. If you could see what I’m sitting in the middle of, you would laugh. In the living room alone there are open boxes and pieces of bedroom furniture and bedding and towels and stacks of mail and an old mattress and two different yoga balls and two different emergency suitcases. And right now, at any minute, this baby might arrive.

Still. “No,” I answer, “I’m not ready just yet.” But I’m not thinking of the state of this house. I’m thinking of the slaughtered taint. “No, I’m good for another week. That’s fine. The baby can finish out its lease.”

“You should be ready, though,” they say.

“I know.”

“Because it’s happening.”

“I know.”

“Soon.”

“Oh, I know.”

“Are you scared?”

“Yes.”

“You should be.”

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63 Comments

  1. Bunting
    December 7, 2012

    Girl. Do whatever you want.

    (Also, the number of strangers who would talk to my SIL unprompted about The Plug? I can’t even.) (You know what I’m talking about. THE PLUG. God, you parents are heroes.)

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 7, 2012

      What upsets me about The Plug is that it’s one of those things we should know before pregnancy, but it’s just another thing on this list of shit nobody tells you until IT’S ALREADY HAPPENING TO YOU.

      As a comedy writer, I’m crazy pissed off that “bloody show” isn’t something we talk about all the time. That’s such a grosser, funnier thing than water breaking.

      Reply
      • Jane
        December 7, 2012

        I did have a couple of friends who managed to miss the fact that once the baby comes out, the ol’ placenta still needs to be delivered.

        I never could’ve predicted how my son’s birth would go, but since the totality of my birth plan was ‘everybody gets out alive’, it was a smashing success!

        I’ll share what *I* say to all expectant moms, in your format: You should be ready for good times ahead. Best wishes!

        Reply
      • dgm
        December 8, 2012

        “Bloody show” is one of my favorite terms in all of pregnancy, although I think it promises to be a better show than it actually is.

        Reply
      • Alexandra
        December 8, 2012

        Things I wish my sisters would have told me: Color me dumb, but I had no idea you bled afterward. For a long time.

        Duh. I know.

        Reply
      • NP
        December 11, 2012

        I need to know more about this, “bloody show”!

        Reply
        • Rachel
          December 13, 2012

          The pooping when the baby comes out. Yep, that was a shocker I learned from a friend.
          My husband swears I didn’t poop last time and he was watching. You know what? Even if I did poop I am so thankful he is in denial about it and ready to sully our marriage with a lie to allow me my dignity.
          Pamie – I’m due with my second in a few weeks. Shit is going to be fine. Listen to no one except your accountant. Oh, and put some water on those XXXL maxi pads and then freeze them. If you deliver the old fashioned way they will be a delightful way to ice your shredded undercarriage :)

          Reply
          • kellig
            December 29, 2012

            this is a fantastic piece of advice.

  2. Elizabeth
    December 7, 2012

    I hate people who act like pregnant women are public domain. A guy asked me about my bloody show the week I delivered and was appalled when I asked him if he had hemorrhoids. Well if we are getting personal here. That person was my boss too.

    He did get the point he admitted that it was weird for him to ask any questions about my vagina.

    I admit for me it was worse after when one of my dad’s asked me if the doctor tightened me up for my husband. Gaaaaah

    Reply
  3. Katy
    December 7, 2012

    See why I was so cranky, now?

    Reply
  4. Hellcat13
    December 7, 2012

    Sigh. Well-meaning people are the worst. When I was sick this year and needed painful/frightening tests and procedures, it was the phrase “it’ll be fine” that sent me over the edge. I needed validation that it was okay to be scared, not whitewashed reassurances that nothing bad was going to happen. I bet you the “you should be” and the “it’ll be fine” people are one and the same.

    Reply
  5. Kari
    December 7, 2012

    I was going to try to encourage you by telling you that everything related to my son’s birth went just like I would have wanted it to, but I see you already found the epidural ladies.

    Reply
  6. elissa
    December 7, 2012

    I promise it’s not so bad as all that. YOU SHOULD BE fine. Good luck!

    Reply
  7. Medha
    December 7, 2012

    My step-sister who is currently pregnant with her second told me that another one of those things that no one tells you until it’s actually happening, is that when you are in labor it feels like the baby is coming out your ass. Scared me right the eff off but she’s now having another so I guess it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

    Reply
  8. Kathleen
    December 7, 2012

    In my usual fashion, it was only AFTER I could no longer use the line that I thought up the best response to the touchers and all the others. “If you didn’t out the baby in there and you aren’t going to help get it out, please stop.”

    You should use that. ;)

    Reply
  9. Monica
    December 7, 2012

    See. See. I’m telling you, I’ll take my heart transplant ANY DAY over expelling a living screaming tiny (but really in relation to the intended exit not that tiny) human from my vagina. Seriously though gah…you’re having a baby one that won’t give you a paper cut and that is pretty awesome. Best of luck and hopes for an easy delivery and an amazing Christmas with the baby. And as a former kids photographer if this baby comes before Christmas and you don’t put it in a stocking and take a photo you’re really missing an opportunity. ;)

    Reply
  10. Susan
    December 7, 2012

    That was laugh out loud hilarious. Slaughtered Taint should be a band name. Can’t wait to hear about the birth. Oh, and last time I had a plumber visit my house, he tracked dog shit in. We don’t even have a dog!

    Reply
  11. Jen Anderson
    December 7, 2012

    What your SHOULD BE doing is carrying around a water pistol to squirt all those people when they tell you what you should be doing. Train ‘em like cats, it’s the only way.

    Reply
    • kellig
      December 29, 2012

      oh my god!!! this works, i used it on my students when they cussed. i couldn’t slap them, so i thought of the water bottle. it sounds silly, but it totally worked. ah, jen anderson, you made me laugh…

      Reply
  12. amanda
    December 7, 2012

    Augh! Best of luck. The birth will be what it will be. Then it will be over. Yay! And you guys will have a blast with the new baby.

    Reply
  13. Jay
    December 7, 2012

    Wow.

    I think I’d pretend to not speak English and attach barbed wire under my shirt.

    Still you’ll be the funniest mum ever.

    Reply
  14. J.C.
    December 7, 2012

    Pamie, while I am in NO way an expert in such things, I was the videographer of one of my best friend’s birth of her 2nd child.

    It seemed to me to be painful at times and yet trippy at others—all those chemicals flooding the brain and all…

    You, Darling, are a force to be reckoned with IN GENERAL so I KNOW that this little one will be a challenge but you’ll birth with humor and give fodder for a new book!

    Congrats to all THREE of you and Happy Holidays—hope to see pictures, and am still holding out hope to see pix of “Preggers Pamie”…just sayin’….

    Sending my best to all y’all and wishing you happy holidays & good luck!!!

    *hugs*

    ~J

    Reply
  15. Chelle
    December 8, 2012

    If it’s any consolation, while I did *not* enjoy being pregnant, I slept through first half of my fifteen hour labor. While I certainly wouldn’t want to do it every day, my son’s birth was really pretty easy and my first thought afterwards was, “Well, that wasn’t nearly as bad as they made it sound.”

    That being said, I’m also a certified doula with eleven births under my belt, and when I was thinking of having a second child, I couldn’t help but think that epidural looked awfully nice.

    Reply
  16. Sarah C
    December 8, 2012

    One of my very best friends had her baby two weeks ago. A few weeks before the baby was born I showed her the last post you wrote about being pregnant and she told me it was one of the best things she had read throughout the entire experience. Because she felt like you understood – better than her boyfriend or her other friends with kids – that pregnancy is not just this perfect joyous miracle. So thanks for that!

    Everyone needs to do what feels right for them and you’ll figure it all out. Watching my dear friends do that (they live across the hall from me) has been amazing. Good luck!!

    Reply
    • Pamie
      December 8, 2012

      Thank you — and thank your friend for me. Writing about pregnancy is still very surreal, and comes with it odd feelings of guilt/oversharing (not that I don’t sometimes feel that after a non-pregnancy piece of writing), so it’s comforting to know that it’s hitting home with others.

      Reply
  17. Jen
    December 8, 2012

    These are some of the reasons why I never got pregnant. It does scare the shit out of me. But, then I have gotten the You should be people when they find out how long I’ve been married and don’t have kids. It never ends.

    Reply
  18. dgm
    December 8, 2012

    I actually had the wife of a friend (I didn’t know her very well) pull me into a bathroom and lift up my shirt to see if I had stretch marks. She said that her husband had said that I didn’t (he knew this because he flat-out had asked me) but that she didn’t believe him. WTH?

    I know it’s all really annoying and people behave appallingly, but this is great material for your writing, yes?

    Good luck in the home stretch!

    Reply
    • Jacq
      December 9, 2012

      That’s unbelievable! Some people really do lack personal boundaries, don’t they!

      Reply
  19. Melissa
    December 8, 2012

    You should be punching those people in the face.

    Reply
  20. Wendy
    December 8, 2012

    While there are things about pregnancy that are cool (feeling the kicks, plus people tend to be really nice to you), after two kids, I feel like the best that can be said about pregnancy and labor is that they are finite. Some labors are really rough, some are easy, but they are all eventually over. Kind of like running a marathon — you just keep going and you get through it one way or another. After that, you’re totally preoccupied with the baby so you barely think about the labor part ever again.

    That said, may your labor be quick and painless and may your baby be healthy and beautiful. I wish you all the best.

    Reply
    • Julie Nilson
      December 9, 2012

      A marathon is an excellent metaphor! While that last half-mile is the roughest, it’s also blessedly short. After all the discomfort of the previous 25.5 miles, you know it’ll all be over very soon.

      Also, I wanted to kick the “you should be” people in the shins. I was a cranky pregnant lady (which is probably why I’m one of the few pregnant ladies in history who was never touched be a stranger–I think I gave off a “I might kick you in the shins” vibe).

      Reply
  21. Erin O
    December 8, 2012

    I lucked out and really felt that most people left me alone and didn’t offer too much advice. I had one birth with an epidural (lovely) and one without (just like all of the tv shows/movies with the lady screaming).

    i recently heard a Fresh Air interview with Philip Galanes, the NY Times advice/manners guy (http://www.npr.org/2011/12/05/142718547/times-advice-guru-answers-your-social-qs) and Terry Gross asked him about how to respond to these very inappropriate questions and I loved his answer: “Why do you ask?” It makes the questioner stop and think about what is actually coming out of their mouth and why. I think most people who lend advice or ask too-personal questions have been through (or supported) a pregnancy and are excited for you and want to share with you. But they just have no idea how.

    Good luck with your last few weeks! I won’t tell you to “sleep now” because I know it’s impossibly uncomfortable or “get organized” because I know I didn’t have the energy/mental bandwidth for anything my last few weeks. Just wait until everyone gives you advice about how to start the labor (pineapple??) and laugh.

    Reply
  22. Alexandra
    December 8, 2012

    I loved being pregnant, and I loved labor and delivery.

    I loved being hooked up to an epidural and have never felt anything more pleasant in my life.

    I couldn’t feel my legs in a very non panicky like they were wrapped in soft cotton batting way.

    awesome stuff.

    I’d like to hve a daily drip, but I know there’s strict laws against that.

    Just finished Why Girls are weird, right after I finished why moms are weird.
    Out of both books, the scene where you think your sister is holding up a bank makes me pee in my pants the most.

    LOVE IT.

    Reply
  23. Marianne
    December 9, 2012

    I also watched a few actual births to prepare, and they were terrifying. The parts I hated the most was how defeated the women seemed, and I really really didn’t want to cry during my labour. I thought it was inevitable to get to a point of feeling unequal to the task. (it’s not). I think telling the truth about birth and labour kind of rebuilds the village aspect of women’s knowledge that we have lost, not having sisters, aunts, grandmothers attending births through life. But some people find it scary. I liked the information because it let me know that there are all kinds of paths to a safe baby and mom scenario, which let me rapidly deal with my own events that went a bit sideways. I ended up thinking about my labour and birth in a really positive way despite some complications.

    Oh, and it’s not all about “as long as the baby is ok” I hated hearing that! What about me! How about ” as long as YOU and the baby are healthy”. The indoctrination to sacrifice all for your kid starts early. No reason why we cant wish for everyone to get by in good form, right? Gah!

    Afterwards I remember thinking that it was a bit backwards for me to worry and read and study about a process that was pretty much autopilot, short lived (relatively) and medically supported, and then here I am with a newborn and I never read a word on how to raise a kid. Hah!

    I figure my daughter has never been a baby before so she won’t know when I fumble a bit, we’re a team along with my husband.

    It’s fun to be on the other side, congratulations on being so close!

    Reply
  24. BK
    December 9, 2012

    The weirdest pre-pregnancy bit I got was when I carried weight differently on my third, so that although I’d gained the same, it didn’t show. I looked about 3 months behind where I was. People were visibly disappointed I was not fat. As a woman, it was bizarre to be guilted for being small.

    That said: I carried as a surrogate for my brother, and if you ever want to derail the you-should-be folks fast, have this conversation with them:

    STRANGER: You’re pregnant! What is it?
    ME: Not mine.

    Reply
  25. Jacq
    December 9, 2012

    Pam, I love this entire post so much that I don’t have good enough words to express it! I’ve been spared a lot of ‘well-meaning’ advice (aside from ‘you should sleep as much as you can now, before your twins arrive’, like you can somehow bank sleep, and like it isn’t virtually impossible to sleep for more than an hour at a time when you’ve still got five weeks to go and are already measuring at 42 bloody weeks…), and no freak has tried to touch my stomach, thank God. What has cracked me up is the way that people tell me ‘well done’ when I tell them that I’m having a boy and a girl, like I magically made that happen on purpose.

    You are so awesome for having such a sensible attitude towards birth: it is all about the baby, and any plan will always go out the window if the unforeseen happens, so you might as well just accept that (like you have) and go with it. The name of the game is to produce a healthy child at minimal damange to you.

    Now I’m going to email you my most recent bump pic, so you can see the state I’m in…

    Reply
  26. Alyssa
    December 9, 2012

    Hehehe, yeah I wasn’t ready for the first one to come either. I wouldn’t have minded being overdue! Second baby? Wanted that shit over with by the time I was 7 months along.

    I really hate people. It’s amazing how pregnancy and kids somehow make you fair game for ridiculous strangers and their questions. All the old wives tales that get trotted out raise my scientist hackles.

    I think movies really do pregnant women a disservice. All those movies where a woman is blithely going through her day, lah dee dah, then oh no, their water breaks and the baby comes five minutes later? So much crap. They don’t tell you how many people get sent home from the hospital during labor because they’re not far enough along yet. ;) First babies are slow. You have time to go home, get your stuff and take a shower before you go.

    I won’t tell you about my delivery horror story, even though it was very horrible with my first. What I’ll tell you instead is that YOU TOTALLY FORGET how awful it was very, very quickly. So yanno, there’s always that. Also I’ll say that though I was pretty bummed to have a cesarean, it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be. (Though I won’t lie. Had a vaginal delivery with the second baby and it was vastly superior. Bounced back really quickly.)

    Reply
    • Zack
      December 10, 2012

      SCIENCE FACT: There are brain chemicals whose purpose, as far as we know, is to make women forget how awful the delivery was. They are called “anandamides” and they’re related to the active ingredient in pot. Srsly.

      Reply
  27. mcconk
    December 10, 2012

    Epidurals for the win! I didn’t scream at all after either of mine! Congratulations and best of luck. People DO suck, but you are the one who gets to have the baby afterwards!

    Reply
  28. Sarah
    December 10, 2012

    People are annoying about pregnancy and babies. I never got the You Should Be’s as much as I got the You Just Wait’s any time I said anything.
    “I’m going to try and go as long as I can without an epidural.”
    “Oh, you just wait until you start having contractions!! Then you may change your mind.”

    or
    “I don’t think we need a baby swing and a bouncy chair, one or the other is good.”
    “You just wait!! My baby wouldn’t sleep at all until it was in a swing.”

    Never in my life have I been given as many unwanted or unasked for opinions as I have been since having kids. It is unreal.

    The only useful advice I got was that labor is one day. It’s one small day out of your life that is kind of crappy and miserable. That actually helped me to be less afraid. Did I want to be in excruciating pain? Not really (and I had an epidural both times, so I was not. It was awesome!) but I felt like, I could handle it just for one day. If it was forever, no. But for one day, that seemed do-able. Just remember, the giving birth is just a blip in the rest of your life. And honestly, mine weren’t so bad. Maybe yours will be too :)

    Reply
  29. Brett N
    December 10, 2012

    I always liked it when some one asked me “so– is it a boy or a girl?”

    “Yeah, that’s our hope.”

    B

    Reply
    • pamie
      December 10, 2012

      Sometimes I lean in and whisper, “I’m kinda hoping for a kitty.”

      Reply
    • Katherine
      December 10, 2012

      Sign on our street recently:

      It’s a baby. Human.

      Still cracks me up!

      Reply
  30. John
    December 10, 2012

    We never got a chance to do this when my wife was pregnant, so I’m passing it on to you. When strangers (or anyone really) does the classic ‘hand-on-the-belly-without-asking’, just casually put your hand on their belly too, and then continue the conversation as if nothing is happening. Try to change the topic away from the baby too, as quickly as possible. Them (putting a hand on your belly): “Blah blah blah baby baby blah blah?” You: (putting a hand on their belly): “I heard the weather was supposed to be nice today.” [or in an elevator] “Could you please push 5 for me?” or any other inane thing you can think of to ask or tell a stranger, all the while simply not acknowledging that you have hands on each other’s bellies.

    Reply
  31. Bruce Lamesse
    December 10, 2012

    Funny as always. You should be…wearing a shirt that says:

    GIVE PREGNANCY ADVICE AND
    I PUNCH YOU IN THE THROAT!
    TOUCH MY BELLY AND
    I FUCKIN’ CUT YOU!

    Reply
  32. Alex
    December 10, 2012

    1. Yeah, punch those people. Claim pregnancy hormones.

    2. When people give unsolicited advice (including me, right now), a polite but firm, “I’ve consulted enough people for information and advice. Thank you.” will shut up the polite people and clearly identify the to-be-punched.

    3. Anti-gas drops for the little one.

    Best wishes.

    Reply
  33. Traci
    December 10, 2012

    So it’s not the same, but I have a friend who has gotten unsolicited advice/commentary before and I love how she handles it. Typically it’s some variation of, “I’m sorry, but are you commenting on something that is completely none of your business?” The key, I think, is in her delivery which is completely innocent without a hint of sass.

    Reply
  34. Meghan
    December 10, 2012

    It really is amazing the crap people think it’s okay to say to you when you’re pregnant. With my second pregnancy, a second boy, I kept having people ask me if we’d be trying 3rd time for a girl. First of all, can I just freaking get through this one?! And secondly they all said it like I maybe I was disapointed to have a 2nd boy. I almost slapped a few people. Also, my youngest turned one this last week and my father in law requested a new baby. Back up off me people!
    Good luck with everything!!

    Reply
  35. Mels
    December 10, 2012

    Oh, I’m so glad you found the epidural ladies! My mom doesn’t believe in the women who scream–she thinks it’s a hollywood invention to make child birth scary. She had ALL THE DRUGS when she had the three of us, though, man. Actually, I don’t know if she had drugs with me, she said it was like an hour between first contraction and me slipping out like a greased weasel, but I was the last one. And my brother has a big head.

    Reply
  36. Stephanie
    December 10, 2012

    What is with people putting their hands on strangers? When my sister was pregnant, my SISTER, I *asked* before I touched her stomach. I cannot recall touching the stomach of any pregnant woman who was not related to me.

    Though I must say I appreciated the stories my sister told of how she messed with people when she was pregnant. Part of her job during her last pregnancy involved regularly visiting construction sites. At one point when she was about 8 months along one of the guys she saw every week or so tentatively asked if she was pregnant. (She is fairly small in general so the pregnancy was really obvious, though the exact shape of her belly was hidden by the extra huge sweatshirt she was wearing.) She gave him a strange look and said no while sounding confused as to why he would ask. Then let him go into horrified apologies for about 30 seconds before bursting into laughter. I think her standard answer to intrusive questions about her birth plan were variations on a condescending “Well, right now the baby is *inside* me and the plan is for it to end up on the *outside*.”

    Reply
  37. Hollienoel
    December 10, 2012

    So first off, I actually cried when AB’s site let me know you were pregnant (talk about dewin’ it). I’ve been a sporadic Pamie dot com reader for yeeears. Second, I had an epidural and it was lovely, and then had my second baby fast and furious style with no pain meds and both were LOVELY. I would much rather give birth than break my pinky toe again. I hope yours is the same. Plus, at the end, you get a baby. RE: the You Just Waits… total crapshoot. Sadly, what your mom said was completely right. Either they are cooing, sleepy, lovely little lumps of dough, or exorcist hellspawn that convert breastmilk into 5 Hour Energy. Seriously can’t wait for a preggo/baby book from you.

    Reply
  38. jkc
    December 11, 2012

    You should be writing on this blog multiple times a day because you are awesome!

    Reply
  39. Alison
    December 13, 2012

    Here’s another thing that no one talks about: STOOL SOFTENERS. For the love of God, take stool softeners post-birth. I consider this my PSA to every pregnant woman I know. It’s really a crime that it’s never mentioned.

    Reply
    • Tory
      February 12, 2013

      And then, prepare not to be farther than 15 feet from a bathroom for a few days…

      Reply
  40. E-Dec
    December 16, 2012

    I tell any first time mom this: Always makes a gigantic overnight pad (2 sets of wings!!) that comes in purple packaging….they are a MUST. The hospital gives you pads from the 70s that are utterly useless at staying in place. And for the first few days and, sadly, weeks, your baby won’t be the only one who needs to wear a diaper.

    And I think I read or heard somewhere that the “I can’t do this!” moment is the moment you’re going to give birth, because even with my epidural my brain was like, “NOPE. This isn’t happening. Just ask them for another way out of this!” But I pushed my daughter out in under 45 minutes, so you CAN do it!

    Reply
  41. JF
    December 16, 2012

    oh, Pamie, honey. . .you have me laughing so hard reading this, I can’t get up off the bed

    if I wasn’t in a hotel room in Dubai (for work, honest! for HONEST work!), I’d volunteer to come over and help assemble furniture while organizing your house, that’s how in awe I am of your ability to be That Pregnant while fending off Strangers With Boundary Issues

    good thoughts and wishes to you, sweetie — hoping the baby comes up with an alternate escape route before the clock runs down

    Reply
  42. Jamie
    December 17, 2012

    I hate pregnancy SO MUCH, birth is my favorite part.

    My first labor I had an epidural and it was monstrous. Not the drugs, but the peeing on the nurse/feeling my uterus collapse to my knees/labia fusing together part was pretty gruesome. I didn’t tear, I had an awesome doctor.

    Second baby, same doctor, no drugs, no i.v., 6 hour labor. Didn’t tear, but I shat on the table. It does feel like they’re coming out your ass. “I HAVE TO SHIT!” “No! That’s your baby.” “WHAT.” It was awesome though, really, and recovery was faster and the baby didn’t come out with her eyelids popped inside out like that other kid of mine.

    With each baby I said “OH SHIT.” when they crowned, and I cried during transition, but that was about the extent of my emotional trauma.

    Next baby I’m having at home.

    There are a lot of emotions in labor, some are awesome, some are scary. Eventually it all ends and you have an awesome little person that will spend the next two to three years puking and shitting all over your newest shirts and cleanest rugs. And they’re awesome. Babies, they’re super.

    All I can say, really, is don’t listen to anybody (except me, because my opinion that you shouldn’t listen to other opinions is clearly the RIGHT opinion.) Do what makes you feel right.

    Good luck.

    Reply
  43. Ken Shipley
    December 18, 2012

    Just catching up on your latest blog posts, feeling just a little guilty over how much enjoyment I’m getting as a result of your discomfort and I’m thinking You Should Be declared a national treasure.

    Hey also, a couple of weeks ago, I was riding a late-night shuttle bus from the airport to the car rental place and across from me was sitting a pretty, blonde, pregnant girl. I thought, “She kind of looks like Pamie” and then I did a second take to have a more serious look because I realized this was LAX which marginally increased the likelihood it really WAS Pamie, but it wasn’t.

    But I thought about how cool it would have been if it was you because I would have had a Pamie and Bjork experience only on an airport shuttle bus instead of a plane and only it was me and you instead of you and Bjork.

    And while writing this, I realize it WAS a quasi Pamie and Bjork moment: me and an anonymous pretty, blonde, pregnant girl who, like Bjork, didn’t even know it was going on.

    Reply
  44. Julie Mac
    March 8, 2013

    This way great! Thank you! I’m 8 months pregnant and have adopted two really great defense mechaniusms for the strangers;
    1)If someone touches me I reach up and touch their face, when they look shocked I say “Oh, I thought we were innapporiately touching each other!”
    2) When a stranger tries to give me unwanted advise I tell them I’m not pregnant. Even though it’s obvious they get embrassed and shut up.
    Takes chuzpa but it WORKS!!!

    Reply
  45. Dani
    June 18, 2013

    Wow. I can’t top any of this. But I will say that I was at my friend’s baby shower this weekend, and witnessed a woman intensely, repeatedly peer pressuring her to drink. (She’s seven months pregnant, and was SO polite yet firm – over and over – about the fact that she was not comfortable drinking while pregnant. Over and over and over.)

    The best part was when her intense little friend announced, “Well, I’d better go, because I have therapy notes to write up!”

    And I realized that not only is this woman a therapist, but that that PROBABLY means she’s a co-worker at this drug and alcohol treatment center.

    Pregnancy is such a hilarious journey… or do I mean insanity?

    Reply
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