What they don’t tell you about being pregnant

Whatever you do, remember, when you need to pee… never sneeze! Or cough. Or breathe too hard. Just don’t.

Shamila Ghyas November 19, 2015
It first starts with the woman (let’s name her Boops) peeing on a stick while simultaneously trying not to wet her hand. It is not a pretty sight. No, don’t try to imagine it. I said, don’t!

Then comes the waiting period.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc – the longest two minutes to date. 

Is it one line, or two lines?

One… no… two, I definitely see two!

And voila, just like that you are pregnant. The hand you possibly splattered on is forgotten, as you wipe your forehead in relief (or fear) that you are now about to step into another phase of your life – the most beautiful one ever.

Or so you think.

Congratulations are passed around; you have bought What to Expect When You’re Expecting and are happily looking forward to being able to eat everything in sight like a hog, and then some, and still end up with glowing skin.

Bless the naive hearts!

While every pregnancy is different and some less difficult than others, what a pregnant woman will face, at least for a little while, is the dreaded morning sickness. I don’t know why they call it morning sickness, because it doesn’t frikkin’ end in the morning. In fact, it goes on striking you throughout the day and sometimes doesn’t stop for months. Yes, months!

It’s like the never-ending morning from a zombie apocalypse movie! And where is that darned glowing skin you wonder, as you look at your sunken-eyed pale sweaty face after yet another barf session.

Things that you used to love but could not eat because you were watching your exploding waistline will become food that will make you sick. Really, really sick! Like projectile bile all across the bathroom floor sick. You can also forget those Nutella jars that you had tucked away for those pregnant nights. *sigh*

In fact, most things will make you feel nauseous and/or irritable. It might be the smell of that orange, the crinkling of the paper or your spouse breathing. With all those hormonal changes, there will be times when you will want to throw one or all of them out the window. But you won’t actually do it, hopefully. *Fingers crossed*

The next step is that one fine day you will see this single straight vertical line appear out of nowhere under your naval. Thoughts about you having an alien baby and if this is the landing runway, will cross your mind.  You will Google right away and be relieved that this (linea nigra) is a normal occurrence. Only to be horrified the next time you see your armpits in the mirror as you change your shirt.
“My baghal (armpit)… my baghal!!”

Boops, your baghal will be six shades darker than the last time you remembered and will seem as if you haven’t bathed since the last three months. You will think you have one in a million incurable disease, which will result with first your armpits shrivelling into a prune and dying, and then the rest of you.

Rest assured, those are once again the hormones at work.

You are not dying.

But you will spend the rest of the pregnancy staying away from sleeveless clothes and will keep your arms tucked in like a football huddle, lest someone (who doesn’t even care to be honest) sees your 50 shades of baghal.

Your stomach will start expanding as the baby grows. And you will love it, except the months when your tummy starts holding up an invisible sign that says, “touch me, I am pregnant”. Yes, people who had not bothered to reply to your Salaam last year will be touching your oh-so-nice round tummy. And quite possibly tell you through “mummy science” that you must be carrying a boy because “your stomach is way too low”. Or that you look so terrible, you must be carrying a girl (mummy science verifies this through decades of research.)

You will be ecstatic the first time the baby kicks, and it will continue to be a wonderful delight till the baby goes into an overactive hyper mode and starts kicking you right in the ribs… this joyous moment will have you roll into a painful ball on the bed crying,
“Why, why, whhhyyyy… mummyyyyy.”

Here onwards, if you are anything like me, you will start avoiding anything sweet so your baby doesn’t go high on sugar-kung-fu mode again.

As your stomach expands further, you will no longer be able to see your toes standing straight; bending might hurt the back, so you can kiss (flying kiss) those toes goodbye for the next few months.

This will be your new gait – step, balance, wobble, step, balance, wobble.  Repeat. In fact, it will not be a gait but rather a waddle and you will feel like a duck most of the times, only less cute. It is also the last time you will wear heels – until, of course, your child goes to college.

You will have aches and pains in places you didn’t even know existed, as your body will continue to take the battering of pregnancy. In the middle of the night, little knots of pain will strike you like a sharp butcher knife (usually in the calf). It will be so excruciating; your toes will part and stiffen with agony. You will want to wonder what in God’s name is happening, but instead you will just deliver every curse you have learnt in your life in every language, and want to murder every living thing out there with your own bare hands.

Even when the pregnancy is over, this pain will occasionally return to give you little peak-a-boo reminders and you will creak and squeak when you walk for the rest of your life… with added sound effects. Your body will never be the same again.

Many of us, like me, would think that being pregnant you would spend a lot of time resting. Nope. Bursting your bubble here, Boops! You will spend most of your time peeing or trying to somehow get number two going. Yup, right in the toilet, where it all began. I don’t know how else to put it. You might as well add a dressing table with a computer, and Wi-Fi connection. I will spare you the details about the extra gas, but let’s just say that you will be burping a lot, from both ends.

And whatever you do, remember, when you need to pee… never sneeze! Or cough. Or breathe too hard. Just don’t.

Your belly button will take a break from being indoors and pop out to say ‘hello’ to the world. *waves*

You will take more pills (vitamins, folic acid, etcetera) than ever in your life to make sure your baby is healthy and surprisingly, you will be timely with all of them. Remember to swallow the pills properly before you go to sleep though, lest they fall out when you are snoring with your open mouth at night. Yup! It will be ‘let’s shake the pets, spouse, house snoring’ on repeat every night.

Around this time, hopefully, you will have made peace and learnt to accept every change that comes your way. That is, until you see a few dark red gashes across the side of your belly.

Is that a rash? An allergy? Are you allergic to your baby?

Worried, you will rush to your doctor, and the doctor will nonchalantly reply,
“Oh those? They are just stretch marks.”

Just??? *insert music from Psycho here*

The next step will be you waddling to the store as quickly as possible to get all the bottles of cocoa butter cream and you will smear so much on yourself, it will soak your shirt, your neighbour’s and every person you come in contact with that whole week.

Bas kerdo, Boops!

It’s too late. You have earned ‘dem stripes now.

Near the end of the nine months, you will be so big (and cute) that sleeping will be a nightmare, primarily because you won’t be able to move. Getting up will be like an Ethan Hunt feat with you planning each step like a heist!  *Cue in Mission Impossible theme*

Then cometh the false alarms. Every few days, you will rush to the hospital screaming,
“It’s time! Get it out of me!!!” only to be sent back.

“It’s a false alarm, dear. It’s just Braxton Hicks”.

If this is a false alarm, what the hell will the real alarm be like?? And screw you Braxton Hicks!

Everyone will start giving you unwanted advice,
“Normal is good, you might have incontinence but go for normal. No C-section, okay?”

“C-section is good, all clean. You might get a tummy that will never go back in, but trust me!”

On the day of delivery, you will be rushed to the hospital whimpering to everyone,
“Never again! Never again!”

And then a few hours later, normal or C, while you are attached to pins and needles from everywhere and you have your baby in your arms, you will look, smile and say,
“Maybe again.”

Just so you know, this was the easy part. ;)
Shamila Ghyas The writer is the author of the Aoife and Demon series. She also writes for Khabaristan Times, The Nation, Express Tribune, Dawn and other publications. She can be reached at @ShamilaGhyas (https://twitter.com/ShamilaGhyas) and https://www.facebook.com/shamilaghyas
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Syeda Ali | 8 years ago | Reply The end is so true. No matter how painful it is, motherhood is a blessing to look forward to
Mubashir Mahmood | 8 years ago | Reply I see this article as only humor but thinks that in reality this is not happening in our society. I read an article few time ago which tell us very properly about pregnancies issues. One of the interesting article for young parents is this: http://drwomencare.com/when-to-take-a-pregnancy-test-calculator-how-it-is-done-17.html
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