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Sanity Central > Columns > Stretchmarks on My Sanity

What to REALLY Expect When You're Expecting
by Linda Sharp

While rummaging through boxes in preparation for an upcoming garage sale, I came across many things. Outdated clothing (did I really pay for that Duran Duran t-shirt, not to mention the concert it came from?), an empty macaroni and cheese box (movers will pack anything), and approximately 3,000 Happy Meal toys (but Mooooo-ooooommm, we have to have the whole set of Dwarfs! Warriors! Bugs!). Nothing really slowed my progress however, until I stumbled upon my very dog eared, lived through three babies, cover is missing copy of the world recognized pregnancy bible, What To Expect When You're Expecting.

I was gifted with this book when I became pregnant with my first child. As I had no vague idea what to expect, I read, re-read, and re-re-read every word, I consulted it through each phase of my pregnancy, each kick of my daughter, and each bite of food I placed on my tongue. By golly, I was going to do this right! Well, with each subsequent pregnancy, I consulted the Gospel of Gestation less and less frequently. Why? Simple. I came to realize it is a book of poetry. A flowery tome of pretty phrasing and watercolor images. If being pregnant and giving birth were like it describes in that book, MEN would even give it a try! So, for all of you currently pregnant, or attempting to be, I offer you the truth . . . every dry heaved, stretch marked, hormonal bit.


From the day you turn the stick blue, you will obsess. This is normal and expected. Finding out you are harboring a human being makes for some surreal moments in your psyche. You will plan every aspect of the child's life from names to colleges to names for your college-attending grandchildren. You will also feel either sick as a dog or sleepy as Rip Van Winkle. If you are terribly textbook about it, you will feel both. Note: Morning sickness can happen at 7am, noon, even 11pm. (It is always morning somewhere.) The only sure fire cure for this time, is time.


Generally speaking, the feel-good trimester, you will have your energy back and desire more than crackers and the cool side of a commode. Your relationship with the toilet shall continue, however, as you will need to pee every 10 seconds. Highlight of this trimester: You will finally feel your baby kick. Lowlight of this trimester: Month 4 when regular clothes no longer fit and maternity clothes look ridiculous. Tip: Just wear your husband's shirts and any pair of pants containing elastic. Towards the end of this trimester, when you are starting to really show, you will find that your stomach has become public property. Do not be alarmed. There is just something about a pregnant belly that invites people to feel you up.


Sleep will begin to elude you as the baby inhabits a time zone directly opposite of yours. As you begin to drift off at 9pm, your baby will be waking up for some early morning Tae Bo and Bladder Soccer. You will begin to detest your tents, er, excuse me . . . clothing, and envision burning that oh-so-sexy maternity underwear. You will grow tired of answering for the 8,000th time, "When are you due?" and as people continue to reach out and touch your big belly, you will find it harder and harder to resist the urge to reach out and grab their privates. Fair's fair, right? You will begin to harbor resentment as you blame your entire condition on your spouse.

You will also begin nesting. Rationalized by doctors as an instinctual need to prepare for the upcoming offspring, it is really because you are trying to pass the time which is going by slower than a turtle walking in molasses in winter. By the final weeks of pregnancy, you will no longer worry about whether or how much it will hurt. You will simply want to hang an eviction notice from your distended belly button and get it over with.

NEXT TIME: What to REALLY expect during Labor & Delivery

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