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It’s amazing to me how much we don’t know about being pregnant.  We haven’t got any real idea of what’s happening and what we should and shouldn’t be doing.  It seems like there should be a mandatory appointment the instant you find out you’re pregnant to set you on the right path.  Probably too early, I know.  This has left me with two options.  The internet and books.

You all are super.  No really, tremendous.  I’m sure everything you say is right and true and practically so perfect as to be encased in gold.  And by this, I don’t mean you personally.  I mean the you of wikianswers.  You know those people.  The ones who will tell you anything you want to hear.  Everyone knows the internet is an authority in every situation, right?  That said, as a librarian I feel a little responsibility to actually research what’s out there.  I know.  Scandalous.  But there’s just so much information and I’m too overwhelmed to look at it all.

There are libraries though, and bookstores, and people have written books, right?  And those people have had their words edited by other people who might actually know what they’re talking about.  In most cases.  Or, actually, in no cases at all.  Okay, so I don’t know that they’re completely wrong.  I don’t know that because I’m not reading what they’re writing.  I can’t make myself do it.

First, it’s difficult to actually get to the section of pregnancy books in the bookstore.  They’ve put it in the back, against the children’s section, blocked by several comfy couches.  This is not a logical place for these books.  Put them by health, or anatomy,  or self-help for that matter.  There’s not a ton of reason to put it next to that creepy children’s bat.

Second, these books are written for someone who’s not me.  In fact, they aren’t written for practically anyone.  Wait, unless you’re thin, white, American, married, straight, and feminine, aren’t you?  Right, then, read on.  But first, make sure you’re the stereotype of those things.  Make sure you wear pink, like to look pretty, assume that a size 12 is enormous, eat only salads, meatloaf and chicken soup (well, and saltines for that nausea!), frigid, and love your hubby of insert-a-respectable-number-of-years here.  Seriously, the first time I looked at the selection, I was so offended I haven’t been able to articulate my anger.

Some women are married to other women.  Some women are single.  Those women may actually be happy about those choices.

Not every woman carried their baby like Angelina Jolie with a tiny frame and giant bump.  Some of us are round, tall, big-boned, curvy, and wear sizes we may or may not want to shout out to the world.  Isn’t it enough that designers don’t design for bigger women so we can’t find maternity clothes?  Or that we’re faced with our weight constantly, disapproving doctor standing by?  Do we need others who are supposed to be helping to make disparaging remarks about weight and shape at the biggest time of our lives?

We don’t all wear lipstick and flowers.  Already we’re stumped by fluffy, frilly, flowy maternity clothes with feminine scooped necks, tiny sleeves and pretty colors.  Or black, because we all know that women who don’t want to wear body hugging clothes must want to hide in black as much as possible.  Some of us wear boxers.  Some of us can’t imagine a girly life.

How about inserting a recipe that isn’t for “American” fare?  What is that anyway?  Some of us eat “exotic” food.  Cook “ethnically”.  How about considering other foods besides saltines for nausea?  Are there no other types of crackery foods?  The lists of food in these books don’t ever mention the huge range of culturally diverse foods. Can we eat them?  Tell me, is that thousand year old egg going to kill my child?

And while we’re on the topic.  Can we stop assuming I come from a long line of culturally blended middle-Americans who wear Levis and Hanes (you know what I mean), and talk loudly and patriotically while bringing devilled eggs to every 4th of July fireworks?

By the way, I also do not need a man to take care of me.  Can you believe one of these books actually said that I’m sensitive and have a long memory so the man should give me extra attention (“consider spooning and cuddling”) in order to ensure I’ll be kind and considerate.  After all, my hormones make me a bitch, don’t they?  Oh, and I don’t have orgasms.  Sex is about banging into the cervix, is something I don’t like to do even when I’m not pregnant, and isn’t about pleasure.  But I’m sure I’ll put out if you spoon me.

Let’s not forget that I’m not even carrying our child.  There’s nothing written expressly for me.  There are lots of things that look like they’re written for me, but the bookstore and library don’t carry them.  Thanks for the extra dose of alienation.  I wasn’t feeling marginalized enough.

I know that’s a lot, but I’m happy to tell someone.  And I was serious, I really like you.  I want to cast a bronze statue of you.  And, I promise I’ve checked a ton of books out of the library and am reading them with an open mind.  I haven’t combusted yet.


6 Responses

  1. Yeah… even as the pregnant one, books are pretty useless, I’ve found.

    Uh. I had more to comment with, but I just woke up, and sleep or pregnancy ate it. Perhaps I shall return with some golden nugget.

  2. Very well said!

  3. I haven’t decided yet whether all of those books and websites are croc, or whether they are valid for *someone* but women are all so different that we would each need our own, individually-tailored book. Either way, they’re useless. Just do what feels best. Go with her body and its cravings. Anything in moderation is probably fine.
    (for my part, I think saltines would make me vomit, but spicy garlic pita chips have been awesome for settling my stomach)

    • pita chips are a great idea! so far she’s coping by laying still, but she’s never had a super sensitive stomach. fingers crossed.

  4. Delurking here. Yeah, the books are pretty shabby. I just found a website that put “what’s happening with the fetus” first (because I like to hear about what is developing on what day and that is the ONLY part of pregnancy that is pretty standard) and we ignored the rest of the info. There are some great books as you get to the end of pregnancy, like The Birth Partner and the 2nd edition of Ina May’s Birthing from Within.

    BTW, I have a bunch of maternity cloths I am getting rid of – I am size 18 to 22 (depending on brand, mostly Old Navy, Motherhood Maternity, H&M) – do you want them if we can figure out how to get them too you?

    • excellent book recs! I’ll email to see what we can work out with clothes – that’s wonderful. And thanks for delurking!!

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