If you haven’t yet read the intro to this series, you should do so before reading on for some context.
Just in case you forgot that I (Sean) was somehow involved in the whole baby-making process, Melissa and I thought it would be interesting for me to weigh in on her pregnancy from my perspective.
I think we can all agree that hormones are a potent and terrifying force in the human body. Just think back to that horribly awkward phase in middle school when your acne was so substantial that your pimples were producing prolific sub-pimple populations of their own. Poor Melissa, when she became pregnant it was like hitting puberty for the second time. Just a couple weeks into the pregnancy and BOOM, her entire body looked like a pepperoni pizza. Actually, I think it was even worse than puberty…I mean, she was getting zits in places I didn’t even know you could get zits. Sadly, Melissa was so sick during her pregnancy I think the only thing that ever “glowed” were her pimples. Typically Melissa doesn’t get many pimples (previously she had only had like 3 non-face zits in her whole life), so you can imagine why it was a shock to her system and a little dignity crushing.
Moreover, Melissa has a young-looking face and oftentimes gets mistaken for a teenager. Aside from the fact that pimples are just irritating, they further indicated to strangers walking by that she was, in fact, 16-years-old. We kept wondering why we were getting so many condescending “raised eyebrow” stares at the mall one day, when we finally realized that Melissa’s already young-looking face coupled with the army of pimples made us look like the “impregnated teen by creepy older man” scenario.
The specific hormone associated with pregnancy is called “hCG,” and in the first 10 weeks after becoming pregnant, the amount of hCG in a woman’s body will double every two days. In other words, there was over 10 BILLION times more hCG in Melissa’s body after just ten weeks of pregnancy. In my mind that was a perfectly good excuse for any and all irrational behavior exhibited by my wife…and there was a lot to choose from.
Under normal circumstances, I cry much more often than Melissa. In fact, I think know I cried at the end of Terminator 2 when Ah-nold destroyed himself in molten iron and sacrificed his own life to save humans from the threat of an evil robot takeover in the future. So you can imagine my surprise when Melissa began crying more often than myself…and the sources of her tears much less meaningful (if this is possible), than a robot laying down his life for his friends.
Have you seen all those “first response” pregnancy test advertisements? I could have saved the 20 bucks because I knew she was pregnant three days before she peed on that “first response” stick. What gave it away? She was sobbing in the shower with absolutely no explanation as to why she was crying. I’ve heard girls sometimes cry for no reason, but this was a first in our relationship. A few weeks later, I walked into our bedroom to find Melissa lying face down on the bed, her tears soaking the bedspread as she sobbed. Concerned, I rushed over and exclaimed “what is wrong!?” Her reply was something to the effect of: “when I was walking to the grocery store, my legs got itchy…and now I’m really tired and sad.” Now Melissa prides herself on the fact that she is not typically subject to mood swings, irritability, and emotional overreaction, so there was certainly a loss of dignity when she felt her emotions were spiraling out of control.
While “irrational emotionalism” is a well-known side effect of hormonal changes, I would like to point out a much less documented, yet no less mind-boggling effect which I have labeled “obsessive indecisiveness.” If a decision relating to the baby needed to be made, regardless of how small or inconsequential, there was suddenly a minimum of 20 hours that would be devoted to research, deliberation, and agonizing comparisons before a conclusion could be made. That ended phase 1. Phase 2 commenced with changing our minds, then compiling 100 hours worth of additional data to justify the change. I think phase 3 was crying, accompanied by an argument about why the decision was taking so long. Finally, in phase 4, we would re-change our minds back to the original decision to go with the jungle-themed jumper, rather than the forest-themed jumper. Oh, and when I say change “our” minds…I really mean that one mind was changing, and the other mind was shooting itself in the face.
This pattern was manifest most notably in the process of registering for gifts. We registered on Amazon.com, which is a wonderful site. The only problem is that the vast wealth of product information and incredible variety of choices can create a hormone-induced feeding frenzy for the obsessive-indecisive mind. For most products on amazon, I am impressed if there are more than 100 customer reviews, but there is actually a baby toy on amazon with over 1,700 opinions. It is a rubber giraffe that squeaks. That’s it. This is how I know that obsessive-indecisive disorder is real, and it affects millions of pregnant women every year. Your loved ones may be suffering from this condition if they make comments like: “I think the extra $2500 is worth it for the organic crib sheets. After all, the cotton was grown in the Himalayan mountains with classical music playing in the background. And it is SIDS-resistant. And it is so much softer. And it will smell better. And it will make our child smarter. And ultimately, without it, our baby will surely die…”
Melissa said in another post that her pregnancy was a very long 9 months…it was a very long 9 months indeed. Who do you think was her 24-7 therapist and personal janitor for all those messes she’s been writing about?
The other 9 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:
Also, read about Caleb’s birth:
And here’s the adventures we had after Caleb’s birth:
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital (Part 1)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed (Part 4)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)