November 7, 2020

Pregnancy Makes You, I mean me, Stupid

It’s not that I hated being pregnant.  It’s more that I didn’t enjoy being pregnant much at all.  Sure it was an incredible experience, like hiking Mt. Everest.  It was extraordinary because I was invaded by a small alien or fetus, as they normally refer to them in prenatal literature.  But the truth is that someone took over my body.  I ate all the time, from the moment I woke to the time I went to bed.  It wasn’t even enjoyable.  I always felt like I was at the edge of death if I didn’t have one more burger, omelet, chocolate donut or whatever it was.  And so I escaped death by gaining 50 pounds with my pregnancy that was five weeks short of full term.  I could barely walk for the last 2 months because it turns out my 5 foot frame wasn’t easily able to carry an entire child hanging off the front of it. 


I was tired constantly.  Pre-pregnancy, I had more energy than the proverbial energizer bunny.  I worked three jobs, and only because I hated being bored.  I went to happy hour every other night of the week, and I traveled with my husband on weekends.  But no longer.  Now I longed to sit and sleep and sit some more.  I was bored, but the idea of moving was too large, too encompassing, so I sat.


And the very best part of all, I was dumb as a rock, not even the full box of rocks would apply here.  I like to think I’m a fairly bright person usually.   But I even took an online IQ test and found my IQ dropped 50 pounds (I mean, points) from when I was pregnant to before I had had the inclination of child-bearing.  I know, that wasn’t a good idea.  But I was curious.  And it appeared I lost an IQ point for every pound I gained.  Life just got better and better for me as my new little bundle got ready to come into the world. 


And I had many a scary moment as I foraged through the tools before me in my new life as a huge, dumb, insatiably eating pregnant person.  But my favorite is still the time I decided to drive from my home in Santa Barbara to San Francisco where I had moved from a year earlier.  My grandma, cousin and aunt were going to meet me there, and I was so excited.  My husband asked me if I was sure I wanted to take this on—because everyone worries about you when you’re pregnant.  All of a sudden, you can do nothing on your own, you’re so cute to everyone, and they start talking to you in a different, condescending tone, because they can actually sense how stupid and incapable of everyday activities you have become.


And so I assured my husband’s “you’re so cute and incapable” tone, which was probably a very loving, caring tone in reality, that I could handle this.  And I charged off to San Francisco in my itty bitty roller skate of a car.  It was exhilarating and wonderful.  I had barely been able to do anything from my old life since I had become pregnant.  So off for a girl’s weekend with my fabulous family seemed wonderful, driving on my own.  I stopped halfway there for some gas at a little station that said “GAS” on the sign.  You know I had to read that twice cause I was stupid.  I got out of the car, picked the correct choice for “unleaded”, got the correct card to charge, tried to get around thoughts of what I was going to eat next until AFTER I was done pumping.  What kind of donuts would they have at this station?!  It would be another hour or two before I reached my destination.  I would need to eat four or five more times before then.  I could possibly die if I didn’t eat five more times before I arrived in San Francisco. 


The tank filled up.  I was careful to close the tank and put the hose back in its place on the gas pump.  I didn’t want to drive off with the hose in the tank.  I was trying to think of all the stupid things I could do to make my life more difficult.  I was living like a person watching out for myself all the time, on the defense of my own stupidity.  What appropriate training for parenting.  I was finally able to go inside and choose from a plethora of tasty treats.  I chose from fluffy pastries and several choices for my knapsack, my “death avoidance food barrel”. 


I walked to the car, and it was locked.  And the keys?  I checked to see if I had eaten them.  I hadn’t; they were in the car.  I looked about me for any signs of life nearby.  And like many odd places in California, there are small towns with very little.  This town, it wasn’t a town.  It was just a gas station, or maybe “GAS” was the city’s name, population-gas pumpers-me-and the gas attendant, who doesn’t jimmy cars.  How does he not know how to do that?!  Fabulous. 


And so I wanted to panic, but I had food.  I just needed a place to nap while I decided what to do next.  Turns out I needed a locksmith.  Long story, kinda short, there was no locksmith there.  And I didn’t have AAA.  So it would be an hour and half to wait for the locksmith to get to Nowhere, CA, USA.  And it would cost me $80, in cash.  Perfect.  And if I had been able to assess the value of money in my pregnant state, that is a lot of money for me to pay for them to literally stick the jimmy inside my crate of a car and pull upwards.  Yep, that was it.  Insert in window, pull up.  I’m not one to manipulate.  I think it’s wrong.  But in this case, I stuck my bulging belly out as far as I could.  I walked a little more uncomfortably than I felt and asked the man in my sweetest, “cute, fat, dumb, tired, pregnant lady” voice if there was a pregnancy discount.  He didn’t budge.  I pushed up my growing breasts from my maternity frock, creating a little more cleavage.  Not a smidge of help.  Damn it all! 


So my drive from Santa Barbara to San Francisco grew from a couple hours to twice that by getting gas.  Big suck.  I got my big butt in the car again.  I pulled my donuts from the package and allowed the crumbs to spill frivolously from my breasts to my tummy to my lap.  It was like a Disney Land ride for food crumbs.  I got into my little car and set off again.  I knew I could make it.  I WOULD make it.  It was as if I was traveling across the desert in a sand storm with no water.  My life had become dramatic at every step, and I didn’t even have kids yet.  In retrospect, I should have been grateful for the quiet solitude of my situation.  That is something I crave many days now.  But I am mostly certain it was all worth it.  Many months of being stupid would give me the most beautiful and smart and busy little boys.   To pregnant moms everywhere…  sorry, but it isn’t over yet.  It’s only begun.  Enjoy every second you can.  Embrace the ridiculous chaos because it will only get harder, and much, much LOUDER.