Google Something Clever 2.0: Made-For-TV Pregnancy

Jul 16, 2012

Made-For-TV Pregnancy

TV and movies get a lot of things wrong. We all know that. DNA tests don’t really come back in ten minutes, doctors aren’t really allowed to abuse Vicodin and act like asses just because they’re brilliant, and not everybody has a wacky, oversexed next-door neighbor.

We give the writers a little leeway, because we don’t expect them to be experts in the field they’re writing about. But one thing I’ve never seen any show or movie get even remotely right is pregnancy. How hard is it to research that? Everyone knows a mother, right? If you’re getting all your pregnancy information from TV, you are in for many, many unpleasant surprises if you ever plan on breeding.

Here are a few misconceptions I’d like to clear up for you.

Nobody in the history of humanity has ever figured out that she was pregnant because she vomited up her breakfast

Plenty of women don’t ever experience morning sickness.  I didn’t. If you do get morning sickness, it can happen at any time of day. You find out you’re pregnant when you pee on a stick because your period is a week late. Meaning you are already five weeks pregnant.

Also, if this is how you're planning on telling your husband 
the good news, please shut down your computer now.

If you didn’t like pickles and ice cream before, you won’t like them now

If you have any cravings at all, they will most likely be for things that you already enjoyed before you were pregnant. Much more common are food aversions, meaning you will come to loathe certain things, particularly smelly things, and sometimes even the thought of them can make you nauseous. When I was pregnant, I once had a salad with onions, and I felt like I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth for two days. I couldn’t eat raw onions again until my son was almost a year old.

While we're on the subject, you can't eat whatever you want

Yes, you do get to eat more, because technically you are eating for two, but one of those two is the size of a walnut. If you gain 100 pounds when you're pregnant, you should not expect to give birth to a 50-pound child, 50 pounds of placenta, and go home in skinny jeans. You have to straddle a fine line of eating just the right amount- not too little, not too much. 

And you have to eat right. You have to take giant smelly vitamins and your husband will make you eat your vegetables. And you wouldn't believe all the things you can't have. Lunch meat, soft cheese, sushi, swordfish, pate, smoked meats... And the things you can only have a little of, like tuna and caffeine. You may have heard that you can have a little wine. That depends on your doctor, and you will still get judged if you drink in front of anyone. I got comments for drinking soda, and I've heard similar stories from others.

It is not a beautiful, magical experience that makes you glow with love and womanly goddess-power

Pregnancy causes a whole mess of beauty-related problems, not the least of which is that you are 40 pounds heavier. Ever heard of The Mask of Pregnancy? Go check it out; I’ll wait.

Some women also grow extra unwanted hair, and of course you can barely reach to shave your usual unwanted hair with that belly in the way. You can’t color your hair for the first three months, which will lead to some scandalous roots. And your face gets fat (now that you know this, it will be so easy to tell when an actress is hiding a real-life pregnancy for a TV show).

My skin was never awesome to begin with, but pregnancy caused the worst acne I’d ever had. And guess what? You can’t use Retin-A when you’re pregnant, because it will eat the baby. Oh, excuse me, might eat the baby. They can’t really do a study on that, because they want to prevent babies getting eaten by zit cream.

Your labor will probably not start with five gallons of “water” falling out of you, or with horrifically painful contractions

Out of every mother I’ve ever known, I have heard exactly one story of water breaking at home. And even if that does happen, it’s not a tsunami. If you’re standing (in a dress; it’s always a dress), your baby will helpfully act as a cork because, hey, gravity.

Contractions also do not come out of the blue, and they don’t start at a full Frowny Face on the pain scale. Have you ever had cramps? Did you collapse and scream at someone to call 911? If you said no, congratulations, you’ve already experienced something very similar to the start of contractions, and lived through it. (If you said yes, you should probably adopt.)

Usually, it will start with your stomach feeling “tight,” your back feeling twitchy, or feeling like you have to poop. If you’re disappointed by that, don’t worry; you will have plenty of time to work your way up to screaming, sweating, clawing-your-eyes-out pain. Like 36 hours.

You don't know this guy yet? YOU WILL.