This guest post from Shelly just made me giggle. I bet no one who gives birth on a soap opera poops on the delivery table, either. Ah, a magical reality.
By the time I was eight years old I witnessed an upstanding business woman fall prey to the devil, a reviled billionaire claw his way out of a shallow grave, and a Midwest town leveled by a tsunami. All without ever leaving my couch. Wonders never cease on soap operas.
One might think spending the bulk of your formative years glued to the comings, goings, and reincarnations of beautiful, flawed people could cause irreparable damage. I disagree. Soap operas have made pregnancy and motherhood a breeze. If your sheltered childhood forced you to play outside or read a book, don’t worry. I’m happy to share the wisdom I have imparted from some of the greatest stories ever told.
You’re pregnant! Maybe.
The very act of conception is often a miracle. Women awake impregnated against their knowledge all the time. Was it a hole in the diaphragm? A too much Jungle Juice? Was it Satan himself? Sometimes it’s all of the above.
The hardest part about your journey to motherhood is determining if you’re actually pregnant. Sure, the pregnancy test showed a + sign. Your doctor confirmed the results. You’ve stopped drinking and started glowing. But how can you be really sure?
The bad news is you can’t. Sometimes doctors lie because they are secretly in love with you or exacting revenge from something you did in a past life. Your ex-lover might have paid a former convict to break into your bathroom with a vial full of hCG-laden urine purchased at a New Orleans swap meet. It’s also highly possible that your tender breasts, frequent vomiting, and rapid weight gain are the result of a hysterical pregnancy (very common.) Or for some people, your freshman year of college.
Your baby bump will be adorable!
I’m not sure why some women get all puffy and uncomfortable when they’re with child. Everyone knows your full-term baby bump sits directly on your belly and is roughly the size of a volleyball (soccer ball if you’re having a girl.) Gauzy tops and work-appropriate maternity dresses accentuate your prized bump perfectly, but sadly you won’t get to wear them until your eighth month when you start showing.
Your labor will be induced but not by a medical professional.
Due dates are arbitrary. Babies arrive with little warning so make sure the nursery is painted and your hospital bag is packed. Also don’t expect to ease into labor. Active labor triggers immediately. Unless of course you count an airplane/boat/car/ motorcycle crash, being caught off-guard by a tornado/tsunami/earthquake/ volcanic eruption, or finding out your twin sister is alive as a warning. Also, you have a twin sister.
Newborns are huge.
Babies are not fragile.They’re enormous! Be prepared to birth a child roughly the size of an eight-month-old. Hope you like stitches!
You will not deliver in a hospital.
Screw the birthing suite tour because whirlpool tubs and complimentary WiFi are not in your future. Plan on pushing your little princess into a pile of pine needles or crammed inside the fuselage of your private jet that just went down with you, your nemesis, and your evil twin sister on board. Broken elevators, abandoned hunting lodges, and the bottom of a well are also good venues.
Don’t worry about having towels or hot water around.
Vaginas are magical and will wash the baby clean as it exits your body.
Babies grow up so fast.
Cherish every moment because it really does go fast. One day you have a gigantic newborn and the next a second grader. It’s almost like someone else is playing them.
Baby weight, schmaby weight.
That little soccer ball you were toting around in your cute, little wrap dress? Must have left it in a pile of pine needles.
Fetuses are never gone, but sometimes forgotten.
Take a close look at that friendly waitress or the vampy, cutthroat assistant your company just hired. See any similarities? Surprise! A child you aborted or given up for adoption has a 100% chance of finding you.
Doctors can easily remove an unwanted fetus from one womb and implant it into another. Although the biological mother will be none the wiser, the re-homed fetus will be pissed and want revenge. In some cases this is called “being a teenager.”
Your baby daddy might not be the daddy.
Just as it’s difficult to determine if you’re really pregnant, it’s almost impossible to be sure your intended is the baby daddy. It’s entirely possible your nemesis slipped you a drug, knocked you out, staged the scene of a one-night stand, broke into a sperm bank, stole an anonymous dude’s sperm, stuck it into a turkey baster, inserted it into your lady parts, and knocked you up. Or maybe you sat on a dirty toilet seat.
All anonymous sperm donors will show up in your town eventually and form an inexplicable, yet not at all creepy bond with your child. This person will become your fourth husband.
Babysitters are everywhere.
I mean they have to be. Once a woman has a child she is seldom seen with it.
Doctors are shady bitches.
They seldom work and are easily bribed. Never trust your doctor.
I’m sure this was helpful but if you want really good advice, wait until you hear what I learned about marriage.
Shelly Mazzanoble is an author and playwright who has published essays and short stories with Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, The Seattle Times, Carve, Whetstone, and authors the humorous parenting column, Mom in the Middle, for Seattle-based parenting network PEPs. Her essays have been syndicated on Blunt Moms and BlogHer. She is the mother of a toddler who provides endless fodder she will continue to mine, at least until he’s old enough to understand the word, “litigation.” Visit her blog, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.