In honor of me entering my sixth month of pregnancy, I’ve decided to compile a list (in no particular order) of some of the biggest and most common lies we tell pregnant women, for good and for bad.

You’re glowing! You’re hot.  You’re sweaty.  You look so miserable.  You’re obviously making too much blood, and half of it’s not even yours!  Would you like a lemonade and a foot bath? Here, take your shoes off.

Your hair is so shiny!/Your hair is so long!/Your fingernails must be SO strong!/Ohhh, gotta love those prenatal vitamins! Each one of these mean essentially the same thing: You are now the missing link.

Everyone will tell you that your hair will get thick and luxurious when you’re pregnant, and they will almost exclusively attribute this to you taking prenatal vitamins.  But that’s not actually the case.  Pregnancy causes the production of a hormone called relaxin.  This hormone slows down your digestion (Everyone, say, “Yay for constipation!”), loosens your tendons and joints (so you’re more flexible, which is pretty useful for prenatal yoga, and, you know, actually pushing a human being out through your lady parts),  and it also makes your body stop shedding hairs at a normal rate.  The average person loses 100 hairs a day as part of the normal hair-growth cycle, and only certain follicles are actually creating hair at any one given time, but while you’re pregnant, that number that falls out daily decreases, and while it may not seem all that significant, you can certainly notice the change!  Your hair doesn’t “grow faster” or “get thicker” while you’re pregnant.  You just feel like you have more hair because you’re not losing as much.  Follicles that are usually inactive while others are active are suddenly activated, and everyone is joining the furry party!

<Sidebar>This is also why a lot of women claim that they “lose all their hair” after pregnancy.  Once your relaxin production dies down, you lose the hairs that you were holding on to for nine months.  It can be pretty impressive, seeing all the hair that should have been shed over the course of your pregnancy coming out in giant wads in the shower in the first month or two post-partum.  But odds are really good that you’re not going bald.  You’re playing catch-up.</Sidebar> 

But here’s the big thing that nobody tells you: you stop shedding hairs ALL OVER YOUR BODY.   You know those fuzzies you have on your tummy?  Well, that goes through the same cycle of growing, dying, and shedding as the hairs on your head do.  The reason why the “peach fuzz” stays peachy is because those follicles generally have a shorter lifespan than the follicles on your head.  This is why your eyelashes aren’t six inches long.  They only grow for about a month or two, before they fall out and are replaced by new ones.  It’s your follicular lifespan.  But when you’re pregnant, these natural cycles get completely thrown out of whack.  Hairs have the ability to grow longer than they ever did before (Just ask a pregnant woman how many “new” gigantic chin hairs she’s found since getting knock up!  Wait.  On second thought, don’t ask a pregnant woman that), and not as many hairs are falling out, so you are going to develop a lovely pelt.  It’s a great reminder of your position as a member of the animal kingdom.  And humbling.  And embarrassing.  You know that gigantic uterus you’re now sporting for the world to see?  Well, the world wants to see it.  In the hirsute flesh.  Your girlfriends, your mother, your sister, your older kids, other pregnant women, photographers.  Everyone wants to see your belly.  Because that’s where the magic is.  And hair.  Lots of hair.  And if you’re especially lucky (like me), and you’re of pale Eastern European stock, then that hair is going to be thick, black, and make a lovely contrast with your glow-in-the-dark pasty whiteness.  So, yes, your hair looks gorgeous. Like the love-child of the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Wolf Man.  Mazel tov.

Pregnancy makes you SOOOO horny!  I don’t know what kind of perverted asshat came up with this doozy, but it makes me crazy.

Firstly, yes, you will get horny while you’re pregnant.  You’ll get the horniest you’ve ever been in your life . . .  for approximately thirty-two seconds at 2:43pm on a Tuesday.  You will be hot.  Then, it will blink out of existence like New Coke.  You WILL get horny, but it will be the most useless, frustrating, temporary horny ever.  Even if you had the means and the inclination and the time to do anything about it (either alone or with your partner), you’ll get just about far enough to start rolling down your gigantic tummy-covering elastic waistband, feel your child kick inside of you (it’s like they already know and are already scolding you for the yucky grown-up thing Mommy is about to do), and realize that it’s just not worth the effort.  I mean, even if you can forget that your kid is technically in the same room with you while you’re engaging in adult activities, and even if you can forget that by about 24 weeks their tiny little ears are fully developed and they can recognize both you and your partner’s voices through the muffled haze of amniotic fluid.  Even if you CAN forget that the little tyke is actually capable of experiencing the same rush of hormones and dopamine that come with your orgasm (always making me think that they are also orgasming, by proxy), and often will kick or wiggle in response to your throes of pleasure.  Even if you can work yourself up to the point where you don’t care about any of that, by the time you start rolling down that enormous waistband, you probably realized that you’d have to bend all the way down to take your shoes and socks off too, and, well, it’s just easier to eat a pack of Skittles instead. *Blink!*

Secondly, whosoever started this rumor that “pregnant women get super horny” because of an unspecified collection of generic “hormones” of which we are eternally the victims  may have done this with the intention of making pregnant women feel “better” about being sexual creatures, but they did in a totally dickish way.  We have sex.  We can’t hide it.  My stomach is a huge sign for the entire world to recognize, “Hey! She puts out!”  But “attributing” our sexuality to our pregnancies is, firstly, asinine (I’m pretty sure it was my pre-pregnancy sexy time that got me into this mess), and, secondly, claiming a pseudo medicalized reason behind this behavior (It’s those damn hormones.  She just can’t help herself!) is tantamount to controlling a woman’s sexuality and sexual impulses.  It’s not up to us.  It’s our out-of-control bodies that are to blame.  Oh.  Whew.  Thank goodness I don’t have to take responsibility for my own sexual impulses!  In an attempt to relieve us from the “blame” of our bad behavior (sex, or anything else that gets blamed on those generic “hormones”), these kinds of statements actually remove a woman’s control and her choices.  Maybe I’m not just being “hormonal” when I yell at you (even when I’m pregnant or on my period).  Maybe you’re just an insensitive asshole.  Maybe I just don’t want your penis shoving against my engorged, tender cervix right now.  Maybe I do.  Maybe I don’t feel like it right now, but I will after a little coaxing.   But whatever the answer is, it’s MY answer.  Not my “hormones’.”

Thirdly, the majority of women I know are made to feel guilty about their lack of sexuality during pregnancy, because of this particular lie.  Aren’t pregnant women supposed to want sex?  Then what’s wrong with me?  Is something wrong with me?  Is something wrong with my marriage?  Oh, god, my husband must be so frustrated and disappointed right now!

There’s nothing wrong with you.  You don’t have to want sex every day, every week, or every month, no matter how much popular culture throws images of sweaty, tan cleavage in your face.  And don’t worry about your husband.  Odds are really good that he thinks the whole “the baby’s in the room with us” thing is gross too (It’s off-putting.  Like someone whispering “The call is coming from inside the house!).

<Sidebar>Last night, Honest Dad and I were trying to get into a sexy mood, and after some awkward attempts at foreplay, he finally said, “This is weird.  This is going to be weird.”  We agreed that it would be okay with both of us if we kept our eyes closed the whole time, to forget about, you know, the kid between us.  And that was okay too.  We both concentrated on what it was like to not be six months pregnant, to not have a teeny little person hanging around while we bumped uglies.  Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, even you “do” nothing at all.</Sidebar>

Your boobs are going to get HUGE! Yes, this is true.  Your boobs will likely get bigger.  They’ll also likely have areolas the size of helicopter pads, and be connected by an intricate network of bulgy, blue veins that look like early maps of the Amazon River basin.  Sorry, Western culture, but “big boobs” doesn’t mean “sexy boobs.”  It just means big.

You are ALL belly!/You can’t even tell you’re pregnant from behind! Oh, god, how I wish I could believe this one.  This one is so nice.  Especially when you’re in those final months, and you walk like a duck, look like a walrus, and have the coordination of a tyrannosaurus rex trying to wipe his own ass, it’s so nice to hear someone say that it’s only your stomach that gives away your pregnancy.  Not your bloated chin and jaw (a phenomenon reported by just about every woman I know that I can’t quite explain.  We all get the jawline of a cattle rancher).  Not your duckbill platypus feet.  Not your swayback and pinched sciatic nerve.  Not your frazzled look of exhaustion and mania.  Just your belly.  This implies that you did your pregnancy “right.”  That you didn’t “eat for two,” but made good, healthy decisions, keeping your child foremost in your thoughts at all times.  But, sadly, no.  Ask your most honest girlfriend if this is true.  She’ll still lie, but listen for that hesitation.  I asked Honest Dad yesterday if he could tell I was “pregnant from the back.”  He asked me to turn around, then went, “Hmmmmmmmmmmm—*breath*— mmmmmmmmmm” (imagine the longest verbal musing ever produced by man).  I turned back around, “Okay.  I got it.”

Welcome to the sixth month.

Finally, the biggest, fattest, pant-on-fire lie that we tell pregnant women:

It goes right back!!!

It doesn’t.

I’m sorry.

So sorry.

It almost goes right back, but it doesn’t entirely go right back.

Here’s the analogy I use.  Think of one of those rubber bands that farmers use to castrate cows.  It’s a surprisingly small rubber band, and very strong and tight.  Now, stretch it over a melon for approximately two hours (the average length of time that a woman pushes during vaginal delivery).  Take it off the melon.  Do you think that rubber band is going to be the same after that?  These are very strong, tough rubber bands, but do you really think it is going to retain all of its elasticity after two full hours on a watermelon?  Do you?  Honestly?

That is going to be one pissed off cow...

That is going to be one pissed off cow…

Yeah.

So, so sorry.

Nobody told me either.

Want some of my Skittles?

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