that Makes You
Want to Throw Up
of years ago I wrote a piece on how people I know/don't know/
don't want to know were constantly egging me on to have a
baby. The piece appalled some people and delighted others.
However, no matter what their reactions, most people ended
with "Still, it's time you thought about having one".
I finally succumbed to this constant clamour to participate
in overpopulating the country. Not only did I succumb myself,
I inveigled my husband (the process generally and preferably
being one of mutual cooperation) into agreeing that, yes,
it was time we trod upon the well worn but joyous path to
parenthood. A month later saw us traipsing up and down the
stairs of doctors' chambers and diagnostic centres ushering
in a whole new era of well-meaning advice from friends, relatives,
acquaintances and (now that the whole pregnancy deal is written
clearly as it were on my ever-expanding tummy) casual passers-by.
The gamut of opinions runs from abstaining from food during
solar eclipses to not drinking neem juice within an hour of
eating any orange-coloured fruit or veggies to not letting
Leo or Taurus women touch my tummy.
the whole experience of being pregnant has opened up a whole
vista of experiences for me; given me a whole new perspective
on life. Things I had taken for granted--such as being able
to complete a whole meal without requiring brief interludes
in the loo, bending down to pick up a pencil or a book I've
dropped, completing a whole night's sleep lying on the same
side have been transformed into challenges of endurance and
dexterity without measure. Today I have only distant memories
of how my feet looked or of blithely rushing up the stairs
at one go to our apartment on the fifth floor.
is that no one actually provided me with any advice on how
to deal with the situations that being pregnant actually landed
me in. For instance, during my first trimester, everybody
told me about how I needed to drink lots of water; no one
told me that I needed to stock my fridge with cream cheese,
vanilla ice cream and egg halwa so I could get up
at three o'clock in the morning to eat the stuff. All of it.
In the same bowl. To be followed by mincemeat in tomato ketchup.
See what I mean? So I decided now that I am nearing my goal
(as the Bishop famously said to the actress) to throw some
light on what the real deal is with pregnancy. So here goes
-- practical advice from one totally fed-up mother-to-be to
others who got themselves in the same mess:
a smooth but vacuous smile: you will be using this a lot when
people are giving you totally inane and at times embarrassing
advice. It will also help if you can train yourself to shut
off your ears, while continuing to make appropriate "listening"
sounds with your mouth. For instance, people could be nattering
away at you about what colour and consistency your feaces
should be. Instead of actually listening to the drivel, you
could simply get away with judicious and well placed interjections
of "Hmm" and "Really".
some comebacks for the idiots who will stare at your belly
for an embarrassingly lengthy period of time and then ask,
"Oh, are you pregnant?" These can be: "No,
I stuff a cushion up my kameez; it makes for an interesting
conversation opener." Or, "No, I was born this way.
What's your excuse?"
prepared for women you don't know coming straight at you and
touching your expanding belly as if it were a sacred talisman.
Once your belly starts growing, as far as you are concerned,
the concept of "personal space" will soon become
Be prepared for blood and gore stories. For some reason, the
sight of a pregnant woman encourages people (especially women)
to tell you the most obnoxious, horrible, ghastly pregnancy
stories they can think of. My worst was two unknown women
at the doctor's office asking me how many months I was (five
at the time), who then went on to tell me in graphic and gory
detail about their five-month pregnant cousin who ruptured
her uterus, dislodged her baby (which miraculously survived)
and could never ever have another baby again.
to the loo takes on a whole new perspective. Make sure that
there are toilets wherever you go, whenever you go. Also make
sure there are enough things to hold on to while sitting down
or getting up. Be prepared for a 6 ounce glass of water to
result in six ½-gallon visits to the toilet within
a span of 2 hours.
are important. Especially from the second trimester onwards.
Always remember that your tummy ends way ahead of where it
used to. Leave ample room between the said belly and the said
door. If you don't, collisions will occur frequently and unpleasantly.
Same goes for chairs, book cases and colleagues. Trust me,
this is serious.
any articles, TV shows, emails, letters, conversations that
include the words "gestational diabetes", "placenta",
"edema", "fluid retention", "meconium".
You are going to be going out of your skull anyway with stress,
fatigue and a steady but inevitable diminishing of the "gross
factor" (things that used to make you go "yeccch…bleh"
will no longer have the same effect on your sensibilities)
no use compounding this condition.
prepared for a major sea-change in your conception of how
the world works. You will realise that being able to lie on
your back or your stomach is a privilege; not a right. Also
turning from left to right or vice versa while lying in bed
is an activity that requires the physical dexterity of a top-notch
gymnast and the logistical support of a small construction
firm. (Currently I require four pillows, two cushions, the
headboard of my bed and one husband while attempting this
highly dangerous maneuver.)
the last trimester, be prepared for people looking at you
and saying, "Are you still carrying that baby around?
How much longer do you want to keep it inside there?"
These people are in the same category as the morons mentioned
in No. 2 of this list. They do not realise that you are fed
up to your teeth carrying around your "precious burden"
and would very much like to dump it somewhere, anywhere. Preferably
right here, right now.
worrying about your clothes. You are going to look and move
like Donald Duck no matter what you wear. Stop looking at
your thighs and your bottom in the mirror. They're huge. There's
nothing you can do about it. At least this time you have a
is more I guess, but packing the mind boggling wisdom I have
gained in the past eight months into a couple of pages is
well nigh impossible. From what I've been hearing on the motherhood
grapevine…this is just the beginning. The worst is yet
to come, they tell me--long nights awake, endless changes
of soiled diapers, hours spent in trying to make food imitate
bazookas and airplanes…the list goes on and on. Among
many other things, I have been advised to bid farewell to
watching complete movies, adda, late evening phuchka trips
to Dhanmondi Lake. Which leads me to the inevitable question:
Is there life after birth?
(R) thedailystar.net 2004