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Things I Forgot

I recently hit the 20-week mark in this second pregnancy, and as I move forward towards the five-month mark, I recall that this is the time in my last pregnancy where it began to feel as if it were moving more quickly. Do you know what I mean? At the very beginning you’re excited and dreamy, and perhaps exhausted and nauseated, but you have this long pregnancy stretching out before you. Then suddenly you “pop” and have something that’s clearly not “just fat” in front of you, and it becomes much more immediate and real and you start to look anxiously at your “to-do” list. Or perhaps, start to think anxiously about making a to-do list.

I’ve hit several of those moments over this past pregnancy – those times when something you’ve forgotten completely about your last pregnancy comes rushing to the forefront and you can’t believe you ever forgot it. So I’ve compiled a bit of a list, because Lord knows I’ll forget it again if there’s ever a third time. And why is that? The answer is item number one on my Things I Forgot list:

1. Pregnancy brain. It ain’t just a punchline to a joke. I find myself searching dumbly for such SAT words as “desk” or “pencil”.

2. The way my belly feels against my thighs as I sit in the bath. Suddenly I’m sitting in the bathtub with my daughter and there’s this weight on my legs. Surprisingly for someone as freaked out as I get about gaining weight, it doesn’t stress me at all; there’s something very comforting, very fertile about feeling that presence nestled against my thighs.

3. How fast you gain weight. I mean honestly, how can you gain 10 pounds already when the kid’s only six ounces? I know, I know, your blood volume doubles, placenta weight, blah blah blah. Until you “pop”, it still feels like plain old “indulged too much over the holidays” weight. Which leads to:

4. Where you gain weight. Belly, ok, I can see that. Even the spare tire around the middle – that muffin top that you start sprouting above your jeans line – is barely understandable since you know the body’s putting on protective fat. But back fat???? I mean, come ON!!!! Which leads to:

5. How interested other people are in your weight. And how free they feel to comment on it. I’ve had relatives call me and say, “My co-worker was wondering how much weight you’ve gained so far. So? How much weight have you gained?” I’ve had clients look at me and say, “Where are you weight-wise compared to your last pregnancy? You certainly didn’t look this big at this point in your last pregnancy!” Newsflash, people – first off, everything – weight gain, size growth, everything – happens faster with subsequent pregnancies. And second off, none of your damn business. If my doctor’s happy, shouldn’t you be? Do you think I haven’t noticed the weight gain, and that you should point it out to me for my own good? Which leads me to:

6. How stressful the weight gain is on you in the early months. When I was sprouting my muffin top last time, I was so embarrassed that I wanted to wear a sign around my neck: “Not sloppy! Just pregnant!” This time around, I’ve given up. Because it goes away quickly, which leads to:

7. (last weight topic, I promise) How happy you are when you start to really show. It’s been such a relief to have a legitimate belly sticking out now. Never mind the fact that it’s a month earlier than last time in my pregnancy. I’ve got a bona fide, undeniable baby belly. I remember at this point in my pregnancy, I actually started to understand the attraction of tight maternity clothing. Up until this point I’d been wearing baggy regular clothes – no belly to fill out “maternity” clothing” – and when my new lush shape came in, I became very proud of it, enjoying how it made my thighs look positively stick-like in comparison. Also, I finally felt free from society’s pressure to “look thin”; it’s the one time in a woman’s life when people actually smile at you as you get bigger! So this time around I’m determined to enjoy it.

8. Dog nose. I’d forgotten that while pregnant, I could smell cooked broccoli from two blocks away. Underground. This dog nose was especially strong during our weekend of Maddie’s projectile vomiting. Hey, fun times.

9. Heartburn. Yes, yes, I vaguely remembered it. But I never had too bad of a case of it last pregnancy (except for one memorable and sleepless night after an ill-advised indulgence for some spaghetti with sausage sauce) and didn’t really remember how quickly it can descend. And how you can have heartburn first thing in the morning, without a morsel of food in your stomach.

10. The incredible shrinking stomach. As I settled in for our Christmas dinner, I filled my plate with modest-sized portions (saving room for dessert, ya know). Imagine my dismay when I was full – and I mean, full – after consuming about ¼ of my plate. It makes me want to cry. Because then I’m hungry an hour later. What am I supposed to do, eat 8 meals a day? Because the alternative is to simply snack all day, which is what I end up doing. Smart puffs and grapes do not a meal make.

11. My almost immediate sense of entitlement. I’d totally forgotten that last time, I stepped on the subway at, oh, six weeks into my pregnancy, and actually be indignant that someone didn’t hop up to give me their seat. The entitlement thing is back with a vengeance this time as well. Have to stand in a long line at Macy’s while Christmas shopping? “But I’m pregnant!” I’d think indignantly. All out of Phish Food at Ben and Jerry’s? “But I’m pregnant! I need it!” You get the picture. And don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about.

12. My desire to waddle almost right away. You know the pregnancy waddle. I’m a movement professional and understand the biomechanical reasons for waddling; truly, there’s no good reason for it to happen before you “pop” and your center of gravity shifts. I found myself waddling around 10 weeks. It just feels so good.

13. How cool it feels when the baby moves. The first time I felt this little peanut move, I swear it was around 9 weeks. I couldn't believe I felt it so early, but as soon as I felt it I knew. And couldn't believe I'd ever forgotten what it felt like. It's such a high.

14. How much I like my maternity clothes. Though I still can’t fit into most of them, I do look fondly at all my maternity clothes. I really loved wearing them and have a bunch of cute stuff. Plus, my girlfriends do to and they are generous with the lending, so I get an awesome wardrobe while pregnant.

15. How good it feels to finally give in and wear maternity pants. My first pregnancy I vowed never to be one of those people wearing those pregnancy pants that come way high up over your belly. Then a friend lent me a pair of hers and I slipped them on. Talk about heaven. You spend the first trimester, maybe 4 months if you’re lucky, simply going up a pant size and hiding the muffin top. But when you finally give in and put on a pair of pants actually meant to accommodate your new shape, it’s like finding the perfect bra. It feels SO GOOD. And you feel positively waiflike and dainty compared to how you felt the day before in your vise-like jeans, the ones you didn’t dare wash because you’d never get them stretched out enough again. Oh man, it’s a great feeling.

So that’s my list thus far – I’m sure I’ll be adding to it as the months progress.

If I can remember.


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