I know it’s not always popular, but I encourage oversharing done in the name of “telling the truth.” When I was pregnant, or struggling with a newborn, or learning the nursing ropes, I wondered all the time why no one had told me things that appeared to be common fare. Once I started to talk about it, I was amazed at how many people shared my point of view. I wanted to scream at them “why didn’t you tell me this before???” Over the five years since I was pregnant with my first born, I’ve learned why. There is no set list of universal experiences. One person’s truth might be another person’s bewilderment. Or vomit-inducer.
Like Drew Barrymore’s recent facial hair confession. She talks about her bizarre pregnancy changes to In Touch magazine:
I got a wonderful little goatee, and it was red! I also got hyperpigmentation on my cheeks.
Wonderful? To describe your goatee? With exclamation points – really? Does she think it’s cute? That never happened to me and I could have lived without ever having known that about her. Maybe she thought no one actually reads In Touch.
Other times the overshare is a mixed bag, like Lisa Osbourne, wife of Jack Osbourne of Ozzy family fame. Lisa shares 10 weird things no one told her about pregnancy with People Magazine, as she experienced with daughter Pearl Clementine. The first three had me rolling with laughter, shaking my head in solidarity, calling out “I feel you my friend!”
1. You gag on everything in your first trimester.Well, at least I did. This includes but is not limited to: your toothbrush, the thought of whatever food is disgusting you that day, the smell of your husband’s cologne, etc. We all know about the nausea, but dry-heaving usually comes with it, and it’s even less cute.
2. You have weird dreams. During the beginning of pregnancy, it’s really common to have vivid, eerie dreams. One minute there’s a giant Brussels sprout dancing around in a mini skirt, and the next minute, you’re kayaking naked with Leonardo DiCaprio. It can be cool, so just go with it.
3. You drool more. Yes, is it true that pregnant women produce more saliva. Like, a lot more … as in three to four quarts a day. Don’t be surprised if you wake up with wet spots on your pillow. Tell your partner there’s a leak in the ceiling to divert the attention away from your juicy mouth.
Seriously, I would gag on my toothbrush every day. During my first trimesters, when I suffered from insane pregnancy sickness, it was completely futile to brush my teeth. I would just try to use my finger or swish some Listerine. And no one talks about the crazy dreams and the excessive drool. Even I forget to talk about it. Those two fun-facts get overshadowed because they fade pretty quickly and then you are busy sharing your baby-bearing news and buying maternity clothes. But it was so true for me and I loved reading about it.
After number three on Lisa’s list, the mood changed as I read.
4. You get really veiny. Have you looked at your chest lately? You can probably see a thick, blue-veined network under your skin (if you’re light skinned). Don’t worry, you’re not turning into an avatar. This is normal. Your blood flow is increased and your body is pumping the nutrients to your baby through these freaky looking things.
Ok, well I know your blood flow is increased, so I get that part, but I don’t remember thick blue veins. Maybe it’s because I’m not light skinned. Moving on. Numbers five, six, and seven didn’t hit home the way her first ones did, but it was number eight where things got weird.
8. You get shooting “zinger” pains in your cervix. Somewhere around four or five months, you’ll feel these electric zaps shooting up into your vagina. The first time it happened to me, I fell to my knees and called my neighbor who was a nurse. The pain subsided in about two minutes. Apparently, this is normal. Prolonged pain, however, can be dangerous. Distinguish between the two!
What?!?!? Zinger pains? In my cervix? What’s a zinger pain? Electric zaps shooting up my vagina? Um, no! Never had those! Eww. That’s so weird! I’ve never heard of that. Is that really a thing?
Of course I know it’s hypocritical to get all grossed out by these overshares when I’m the one who described my deflated post-partum breasts in detail. The human body works in amazing ways, it knows what to do, it’s a phenomenal vessel, all these changes should be celebrated – I actually believe all that. I also reserve the right to think something that phenomenal vessel does is yucky.
But I refuse to go as far as Snooki’s recent statement that “pregnancy is disgusting.” Although I completely respect everyone’s opinion on their own gestational period, I couldn’t fathom using the word disgusting. Unpleasant, uncomfortable, challenging – sure! It doesn’t have to be all beauty, glow, and miracle. But disgusting? Pregnancy as a whole isn’t disgusting, even if there are aspects that are…bizarre. It annoyed me, but then I remembered it was Snooki and I moved on.
I realized in the comments on my post-partum body piece, as well as in real life, when you are committed to baring it all, you realize some admissions are going to be crowd favorites and some are going to get you a screwed-up HUH? face in response. I am completely comfortable with people being grossed out by my stories, but I do it for the ones who can relate.
After I navigated the steep learning curve of first-time motherhood, I vowed to tell anyone who would listen about pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn life. I lived for the moments of recognition I would see on another mother’s face when she said “yes, that too!” I was happy to comfort a friend by sharing my struggles in intimate situations. My intention isn’t to scare off the future parents of the world and I apologize if I offend anyone. I simply remain committed to spreading “the truth.” Maybe I’ll just save it for after you’ve digested your lunch.