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In My Own Words

Pregnancy is not a cold

Jacqueline Fennington
MSN Class of 2010

(Aug 2011) I am trying to find that line between pregnancy being the only thing people acknowledge about me and it being the one thing people awkwardly avoid. I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of people in the world – those who love pregnant women and those who try everything in their will to avoid it as if they might catch it just by acknowledging your baby bump. I admit, there are obviously better ways to divide the population, but as an eight month pregnant woman, I rest my case as such.

Some people treat pregnancy like a disease and want absolutely nothing to do with you. For example, the trick to getting a seat to yourself on the metro is to be pregnant. Men will not sit next to you if you are pregnant. It looks like they are heading your way to snag that open seat next to you, until they get close enough to see that baby bump and they decide to rough out their morning commute and just stand in the aisle. News flash: pregnancy is not contagious. Women tend not to be as frightened by the large lump protruding from my front side.

The people who love pregnant women are usually one of the following – a mom, an expecting mother, a wannabe mother, a guy who doesn’t get grossed out by pregnancy (usually a father), or a prenatal yoga instructor.

Women who used to be pregnant or who are pregnant love talking about their pregnancy and swapping stories with other expectant mothers. How far along are you? How are you feeling? Boy or girl? Any morning sickness? Have you been having really weird dreams lately?


Yes, another pregnant woman in my prenatal yoga class loves getting into detail about everything she is experiencing during her pregnancy and asked me about my dreams the first time I met her. Of course I am having weird dreams, but my response was an authentic recap of a baby dream without all the weird details. I did not want to scare off a possible friend and I could use a pregnant friend nowadays. The truth is I really did want to tell her everything. We love talking about our experiences! If we’re not talking about our pregnancy we just hope someone else brings it up so we can talk about it.

Some pregnant women might be different and actually dislike talking about their pregnancy. I will admit there are times that I would rather not answer the same question about my feelings five times. Do you really want to know about my feelings? Do you really want to know what my raging hormones made me cry about this week? I don’t think so.

But if you really did want to know what made me cry, it was spilling my pot of pasta in the sink while trying to drain the water. Not only was I starving, but now I was also furious that I just made a whole pot of pasta and spilled all of it in the sink while draining it ever so diligently. Yes, this was enough to put me over the edge. After I stood over my pasta sobbing tears of frustration, I pulled myself together, rinsed the pasta down the drain, filled up the pot with more water and started boiling another batch. A pregnant woman’s gotta eat!

That is another subject everyone asks about. "Do you have any weird cravings?" I have always had cravings for pickles since I was a little girl, so the rumor of pickle cravings during pregnancy is not out of the ordinary for me. Our refrigerator was always stocked with a jar of bread and butter pickles that I had no problem eating out of with a fork. Being pregnant, I simply crave food from every category – fruits, vegetables, carbs, sweets, dairy, meats, etc. I especially like it when my husband decides I could use a little treat and picks up brownies and ice cream. Anything and everything is delicious to me. And the baby likes it too!

How does anyone really know what the baby is feeling or thinking in there? Sources suggest that a baby who moves a lot is happy and healthy. When it feels like the baby is trying everything possible to get out of its comfy little bubble, I am tempted to think that he or she is not all that comfortable. Then again, he or she could be very comfortable and it is just me feeling the pain and discomfort. How pleasant!

The first person I told I was pregnant (besides my husband) was an acquaintance at work. I just so happened to be freaking out when I first found out and needed to tell someone who would understand. Who better than another mom who seems very good at keeping secrets at work! Her advice –to stay calm and buy the book What To Expect When You’re Expecting.

I began reading all about pregnancy and it did not seem all that bad. I learned what I should be eating and how my lifestyle would change in the next few months and then, of course, for eternity. Then I made the mistake of signing up on baby websites to receive weekly updates of what is happening with my pregnancy. It is funny how fast a week goes by and how quickly the baby or I can develop new habits. Whether it is actually happening or not, the weekly updates make you feel like there are definite changes week by week (e.g. I thought my wrists actually hurt for one week but did not the next week).

Every week they compare your baby’s size to a piece of fruit or a vegetable – grapefruit, butternut squash, four naval oranges, or my personal favorite, an English hothouse cucumber. Not joking. Along with the update of body changes for both mommy and baby, the weekly newsletter provides helpful articles that pregnant women usually find of interest. This is when pregnant women should not be allowed to read…

All of the information is meant to be helpful, but we have a tendency to read about symptoms of certain things and then think we have those symptoms, which then leads to a major freak out session. (I am very grateful for my husband’s ability to listen, nod and reassure me that everything is fine.) Oh my gosh, I am anemic. I am much more at risk for postpartum depression. I probably have gestational diabetes. The baby isn’t sitting the right way. And the worst of them all, I think I am going into preterm labor. While mommy is freaking out and thinking the worst, baby is doing somersaults having a field day.

The worst type of freak-out session is thinking think you have preterm labor symptoms. After mom doesn’t answer your freak-out phone calls, you decide to call the doctor because something is definitely not right and it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? Before the on-call doctor calls you back, your mom calls you back and reassures you that everything is fine. Pain is normal and you should just take a warm shower. Great – pain is normal. And I have another nine weeks of this? The on-call doctor calls you back and also reassures you that movement, whether painful or not, is good and means your baby is healthy. You are now the annoying pregnant woman who calls the on-call doctor when not necessary. Oops!

Nine weeks to go of this nonsense…

Read other articles by Jacqueline Quillen