What People Do Not Tell You Upon Becoming Pregnant And Other Surviving Tips

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Yes ladies, it is high time to lift the veil on the broad platitude people serve you once you’re pregnant. Ever heard: I’ve never felt better than when I was pregnant? Oh you’ll see, morning sickness is totally manageable, just drink ginger ale and you’ll be fine? And, yes I was a teensy bit tired?

While it might truly be like that for some women (of which I am super jealous by the way), it is to be said that 1) it is not like that for a a significant amount of women and 2) as pregnant women, we’re encouraged to shut the fuck up when it comes to our pregnancy woes and just wear a beatific smile and nod softly to everything and everyone, because we should be so grateful and happy to be pregnant you see. Which we are, don’t get us wrong. But we’d be even happier if we could tell the world that morning sickness is wrongly named because it is all fucking day sickness without feeling the eyes of judgement digging into our souls. Apparently, the second we see that tiny line on the pee test is the moment we as individuals should stop existing and the time we start to bear everything with a brave smile just because we are mothers in the making. Sacrifice should be our new credo or something, so we should just suck it up and think that it’s all for the greater good.

 

Er, no.

 

I am ranting, because I really, truly, want to whine and get the throbbing guilt out of women’s heads. My lovelies, if you feel miserable during pregnancy, and not at all like the model mums we see in specialised magazines (which are basically like any other ‘women’ magazine with their self serving dose of guilt, you just need to add a bump) it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a bad mother, or that you don’t have what it takes. You feel miserable because you throw up 3 times a day, and that would make anyone pretty miserable too. Yes you’re beside yourself that you’re making another human being that you’ll love so much your heart will ache, but you tend to forget about that when you see your dinner in reverse. You’re just a normal human being.

 

So on to the list of things that you should be aware of upon getting pregnant (and since i’m only about 18 weeks, I expect said list will be getting longer):

 

  1. Everyone Will Have Good Advice to Shower on Your Head

    Even the men, who last time I checked did not have a uterus. Even your grocer. Even that person on the bus whom you don’t know and don’t want to know. My mother’s advice has been pretty straightforward: you’re pregnant, eat whatever you want and suck it up. I’m not sure I found that helpful but at the same time I prefer it to the people who guilt me into natural birth and breastfeeding and look horrified when I press the point that I WANT ALL THE DRUGS THEY CAN GET ME AND MORE, and that I’m not sure about breastfeeding. Sometimes I think I’ll do it just to escape the curse of the BUT IT’S SO GOOD FOR YOUR BABY preaching. In any case, I still like to shock aforementioned judging crowd just because I’m mean and pregnancy has not been able to change that. Again, my mother is superb: ‘I never breastfed you, it wasn’t the fashion at the time and yaaaa I don’t like it’. However, she’s been made to feel guilty as well and now tells me she regrets it. I don’t blame you mom, I’m not super comfortable with the idea either. Something tells me I get my body back after 9 months of not controlling it, maybe since it’s my body and my breasts, I should be able to make my own decision? Bottom line is: breastfeeding and bottle feeding both make healthy babies, so live and let live. And don’t feel bad for wanting your body back.

 

  1. You’ll Have Anxieties About Everything

    Yes, you will. Before you get pregnant you’ll be scared about not being able to. When you are, you’ll be scared about miscarriage. Once the baby starts kicking, you’ll freak out when you haven’t felt it for two seconds. When you’ll be towards delivery time, you’ll be scared about the birth. How are they going to get that baby out of you, you’ll ask? I mean, seriously, I know women have been doing it since time immemorial, but HOW ARE THEY GOING TO GET IT OUT? During the birth, you’re scared they won’t cry once they’re out. I confided this fear to my sister who acknowledge having had the same one with her two daughters. Thing is, she said it almost in a whisper, as if it were something shameful. It’s nothing to be ashamed about, on the contrary, apparently it shows you’ll be a good mother because you care and stuff. Congratulations. Now worry away.

 

  1. You Won’t Sleep Well

    Say bye to sleeping on your stomach. Say hi to restless leg syndrome. Say bye to peaceful, funny, dreams, say hi to gory preview of childbirth and various scenarios where something happens to your baby, your partner, your family, the earth. Say bye to long night, say hi to peeing three times during the night.

    Say bye to feeling rested.

 

  1. You Will Get The Usual Suspects

    Swelling. I can’t wear half of my high heels anymore. PEOPLE. Me and my shoes were tight. Real tight. I almost cried when my new nude and gold pumps would not fit my feet, not that I needed a reason to cry, but it hurt. I know I’ll probably love the baby more than my shoes but Jesus fucking Christ, it does not feel good.

    Feeling tired. Not tired like you want to sleep. The first trimester is a blur of me clutching at my bed and never wanting to let go. Ever.

    Morning Sickness. You’ll feel nauseated by things you used to love. You’ll throw up. Repeat, Pause for throwing up, Repeat, pause for throwing up.

    Weight gain. Enough said. But that one is not too bad. You can eat whatever you want because you’re pregnant you see, so yes, have that piece of cake (sickness permitting of course)

 

  1. You’ll Love Everyone. You’ll Hate everyone. Especially your partner.

    You will cry over little nothings and will bite the head off anyone who dares to tell you ‘it’s the hormones’ fault because you’ll be totally convinced that ad was really objectively REALLY SAD and that ANYONE would have cried over it and it’s not BECAUSE YOU’RE HORMONAL. You’ll want to bitch slap everyone, especially your partner because, well, he/she’s there and merely exists, next thing you’ll know you’ll love him/her like you’ve never loved anyone in the whole wide world.

You might be a tiny bit difficult to live with, but you won’t realise it because for you it’s totally normal. And no, the fact that you threw a hissy fit this morning at your husband because he bought the wrong kind of cereal is not a mark of mood swings. Conflicting cereals really are upsetting.

 

  1. You’ll stress over telling work you’re pregnant

    As if you made a major work blunder. Because that’s the world we live in now, and that’s regardless of your employer’s reaction to the news, you’ll stress nonetheless, because pregnant women are made to feel by society that their place is not in the workplace, but at home knitting socks for their child. To this day, my hero is this UK diplomat with whom I had an appointment. I didn’t know her so she just texted me: you’ll find me, i’m the 8 months pregnant woman. And there she was, rocking the human rights council with her bump and I thought YOU GO GIRL YOU SHOW THEM!!! Show them we’re pregnant not mentally reduced.

Please feel free to add anything you like, I am likely to have forgotten a ton

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Exile

I see them in your eyes, every day, the little questions eating away at your soul.
I see them, the little icicles of worry and despair, the never ending feeling of guilt, threatening to destroy you.
You smile and you laugh and you live, yet your heart is someplace else, with the thousands of brothers and sisters being tortured in God-forsaken prisons, their cries only echoing the screams of others. You smile and you laugh and you live, yet your mind is someplace else, trying to do something, trying to help, trying to relay information, trying.
You sit there, with your face in your hands, feeling guilty for being here and not there, unable to reach out to them, unable to join them as we plead and beg you to stay, where we can feel and touch you, where our selfish fear roots you to the spot, binds you to our love.
You sit there, endlessly talking to Comrades, debating until the little hours of morning on which position you should adopt, what you should do, endless, endless questions lining your heart with iron pins, the flavor of loss and sadness poisoning everything you taste. You can’t go, because you know what will be expecting you if you do, because you’ve been barred the gates of your home.
And I sit here, hurting because you are, bleeding for you, unable to soothe you, our minds and hearts with the sufferings happening beyond comprehension, and I sit there, the feeling of helplessness excruciating.
Then you find the strength in you to smile at me, and with that only beam resuscitate a glimmer of that old friend.
Hope.

The Guilt Factor

I would be tempted to say that for me feeling guilty is a total pleonasm: after all, I do have an Arab mother, meaning I’ve been injected with Drops of Guilt for the past 27 years.

It all started quite straightforwardly: you know, you’d be a brat and your mother wouldn’t merely tell you you shouldn’t behave this way, but rather, she’d yell herself hoarse asking God Almighty why YOU were doing this against HER (Lesh 3am bet a3zbineh hek?) , as if you were badly behaving to spite her. Which you weren’t, honestly, you just enjoyed knocking things down and having a good old cry, no personal offence meant to anyone.

Growing up, you’d naively think the guilt would abate, which is, with a bit of closure, frankly laughable. Now that your parents had instillated the right soil to make feeling guilty all the time grow, the seeds of guilt were showered daily with messages sent by society, espcially designed to make you feel guilty and awful about yourself. I mean, first of all, religion – or at least how it is taught in its vast majority- doesn’t exactly scream Non-Judgment, but rather, you WILL burn in Hell for all eternity for not Obeying and Observing what God says. Such a feel good motto.

And since I have filed no application to Sainthood, chances are, I WILL most likely burn in Hell.

Oh well.

But I doesn’t just stop at religion. Advertising and women’s magasines have made a splendid job (not to mention a thriving business) at making people feel guilty. As we say in French, c’est bien simple ma chère amie, if you eat, you should be ashamed of yourself, how could you be so weak, the right thing to do is to starve yourself, now go buy all the slimming drinks I’m adverstising for. If you wear last season’s coat, you’re not good enough, if you don’t perform enough, if you’re not top of the class, if you’re not popular enough then you’re basically a failure. The pressure we currently live under is somewhat very close to unbearable, yet challenging it has to be the toughest job there is out there.

Because it’s not only the evil capitalist world that makes people feel guilty: sometimes, ideology kills too. Let’s take the ideology I subscribe to, for lack of better word and example: feminism. I sometimes feel like I’m a traitor to the cause because I’m married and I cook, but I don’t do it because my husband bites me if I don’t, I do it because i Love it, but nevermind, It doesn’t stop me feeling a tad guilty while I’m chopping onions, ruining all the fun. I also feel like I’m a fraud when I wear a dress and high heels and lipstick, I feel guilty for what seems like letting my sisters down. That’s it, khalas, I love a man and I’m happy to do things for him sometimes, I’m a Geisha and should be banned from the Sisterhood. The odd looks other feminists give you and the remarks you get (you look different in real life than in your Facebook photos, you know the ones with the red lipstick and very high heels: errrr ok?!) kinda don’t help either.

I’ve heard guilt gets worse once you have children, as in, you don’t lose baby fat quick enough, you don’t see enough of your child if you work, you’re a brainless half wit if you quit working. I can’t wait.

In brief, in the words of the Great Samantha Jones (from Sex and the City, Need I say it), AHHHH Coulda Woulda Shoulda. Maybe we should stop shoulding ourselves all the time and just accept who we are in all our complexities. Acceptance. Now that’s a nice word.

To be perfectly honest with you, I do still feel guilty right now for still being in my pyjamas, and I also feel guilty for writing about this rather than writing about what’s happening in Tahrir and Homs and Deraa and Syria as a whole, just to name a few.

As my best friend, the Great Dina Esfandiary would say, I have “First World Problems”.

 Or maybe,I should just admit to myself that I’m a neurotic 27 year old lazy Geisha who loves writing about her neurosis in pyjamas. I think I can live with that, after all, it’s not like I’m invading Irak or anything.