Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Oh Yeah, I'm Pregnant

Yup, I'm pregnant.

Now that I've shaken that permanent gin hangover they call morning sickness, I actually have to remind myself of my current condition.

Instead of that crazed For-God's-sake-give-me-a-Pop-Tart look in my eye, I now trot around Ann Arbor with my customary Oh-God-must-I-smile-at-this-person-too expression. People are very friendly around here. It must be all the retirees. The churlish scowl I cultivated in Prague and San Francisco is totally inappropriate here. Nobody smiled in Prague except for the tourists. If I looked too cheerful, I'd get a string of Americans and Germans asking the way to Wenceslas Square. And if I let my guard down in San Francisco, the homeless guys followed me for blocks.

But basically, my morale is good, now that I've switched from Pop Tarts and Fig Newtons to Big Macs and Klondike Bars. But it's kind of a letdown being pregnant in Michigan, because most women over 25 look pregnant here anyway. They all wear these baggy shirts wtih hearts or animals on them. I now look like just another Michigan matron losing the battle of the bulge.

And I keep forgetting I'm pregnant. I spend my day amidst a litany of silent questions: “Why am I so tired? Why am I hungry AGAIN? Why am I wearing this boring shirt?” Then it hits me -- oh yeah, I'm pregnant -- and I have to do a mental check. “Is this my third can of Coke today? Are these books too heavy? Christ, did I just eat three hot dogs? This kid is doomed ...”

That's because today's pregnancy books want you to sit in a purified bubble, gnawing wheat stalks and boiling your drinking water. Last week I read that pregnant women shouldn't lie on their backs, eat luncheon meat or buckle their seatbelts over their tummy. I'd done all three the day before. It's hopeless.

Ron, meanwhile, is ignoring the pregnancy books and brochures I strategically leave lying around. Instead, he's enamored with some wacky magazine he picked up at a doctor's office: “Paranoid Pregnancy” or “The Psycho Mama” or something like that.

RON: You know, I read that sucking on lemons helps with morning sickness.
ME: Hmmmm, pass me the chocolate sauce.

RON: They've got some interesting exercises in that magazine. There's one where you ...
ME: Hmmmm, pass me the Doritos.

Still, Ron's an involved dad-to-be and I feel lucky to have him. On my tough days, I log onto The women on those message boards have real issues. One lady asks frantic questions that would never occur to me in a million years: "Can I eat white bread? Can I wear suntan lotion? Can I use my wireless phone? Can I pet my dog? Has anybody read about epidurals? Has anybody seen my sanity? I seem to have lost it permanently ...”

Even worse are the women who write long, heartbreaking stories about neglectful husbands, insensitive friends and psychotic mother-in-laws. One working pregnant lady skips lunch so she can give her boyfriend money to pay alimony to his ex-wife. Another woman's mother-in-law is screaming because the baby won't be named after her. The mother-in-law's name is Gertrude or something like that.

I can't read the message boards for long anyway, because I always want to correct people's spelling and grammar. Don't they teach any English in school these days? And what sick mind invented all those smiley and frowny faces?

OK, I'm ranting now. Time for another Klondike Bar.


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