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I had waited long enough. I went to the store and bought one last pregnancy test. Unable to wait for home I ran into the bathroom at Barnes & Noble and sat nervously in the handicap stall. One minute. Two minutes. Beep! And there it was, clear as day. PREGNANT. Deep breath. Here we go…
By Shannon Gallagher
Photograph courtesy of Sundancechannel.com
I knew I was pregnant before I knew. Sliding into a booth at Luna 61 for brunch with my best friend I ordered a decaf coffee for the first time in my life, stared her dead in the face and muttered “Um, I think I’m pregnant.” It was the middle of October. My child-to-be was most likely still just an egg floating around my uterus, looking for a good place to latch on for the long haul. This began several maddening weeks in which I took dozens of secret pregnancy tests — each and every one negative, but gosh darn it I knew I was pregnant.
Now I must confess, I didn’t want to be pregnant. Or rather, I should say I didn’t intend to get pregnant. Determined from a young age to procreate, I suddenly began second guessing myself this past summer after a difficult break-up and a few months of pure, unadulterated freedom. September: enter ex-boyfriend, stage left field. Three weeks later, there I am in Luna 61, trying to embrace the inevitable reality of my new resident embryo.
Fast-forward two weeks. After an inconclusive blood test the doctor instructs me to wait a few days and re-test. Well, as far as I was concerned it had been almost a month since my suspicions began — I had waited long enough. I went to the store and bought one last pregnancy test, my pièce de résistance (I splurged on a digital one). Unable to wait for home I ran into the bathroom at Barnes & Noble and sat nervously in the handicap stall. One minute. Two minutes. Beep! And there it was, clear as day. PREGNANT. Deep breath. Here we go…
Almost four months have passed. My sixth month is rapidly coming to a close, and while I’m still barely showing I would like to note that your body goes through rapid and unexpected changes before your belly even pops (let’s just say my pants stopped fitting a month ago, and it’s not because of my bump). In fact, there are a number of things that no one warned me about. Here’s my Top 10:
- You’re actually pregnant for 10 months, not nine.
- “Morning sickness” is more than a misnomer — it’s a straight up lie. Try all-day sickness. And that whole “you’ll feel better when your second trimester starts” thing? Not this girl.
- Pregnant women are supposed to eat, right? Wrong. This veggie and tofu loving gluten-free pseudo-vegan turned green at the thought of kale or broccoli and survived the first trimester practically on bread, saltines, and lemonade alone.
- I’m starting to think pregnancy cravings are an urban myth, while aversions are completely underrated. Admittedly though, I did eat an entire jar of pepperoncini peppers the other night (papaya enzymes, found in the vitamin section of most health food stores, are like nature’s answer to Tums, and work like a charm for severe heartburn).
- While my hair and nails are thick and strong as ever, as promised, my skin is dry and sensitive, prone to the kind of breakouts I haven’t had since I was 13.
- Back pain does not wait for your super sized ninth month. I had aches and pains aplenty within weeks, thanks to my body’s accelerated production of relaxin, a hormone that softens the joints in anticipation of having a small human pass through the pelvis.
- There’s the inability to sleep through the night paired, ironically, with the inability to stay awake through the day.
- I have incessant headaches — no Excedrin allowed. (I’m trying acupuncture, but it’s slow going.)
- Hormones, oh hormones. We’re talking unbridled four-day fits of rage because my boyfriend forgot to buy dog food, and the sudden immitigable tendency to cry over anything.
- Pregnancy can be more overwhelming than exciting, and apparently that’s normal. It doesn’t make you a bad person to be ambivalent.
All that aside, there’s a human being growing inside my belly, which is strangely comforting when you feel as lousy as I do — I’m making a person, I’m allowed to be tired and cranky. My last ultrasound revealed that this particular little person is a girl, and she’s a thumb sucker. Her July ETA seems impossibly far away and yet terribly close; I am not a patient person (please reference Barnes & Noble trip outlined above). If there was an official entrance exam to adulthood, I think this would be it. There are a million decisions to be made, and more information out there than one could know what to do with. As with most things these days, there are a number of alternative options out there, from where and how you give birth to greener diapering solutions to organic and environmentally friendly bedding, furniture, and clothing. My hope for this blog is to share my experience as I fumble through the decision making process, researching my (and her) options, and figuring out ways to minimize my impact and provide my daughter with a safe, nurturing, non-toxic environment both in and out of the womb.
We’ll see how it goes. Attitude is 99% of anything, right? Welcome to Mama Greenest…