(1) There's a lot to learn, and decide, about.
To baby wear or not to baby wear? To circumcise or not to circumcise? To co-sleep or not to co-sleep? Hamlet had it easy. In addition, there are hospital tours to take, books to read, and childbirth classes to attend. You have to pick a pediatrician, contemplate a birth plan, decide which DVDs to play in the delivery room, along with researching car seats, strollers, and carriers. Forty weeks is almost enough time to give you a PhD in mommy worrying.
(2) You might need to change your taste in music.
I have sweet visions of leaning over my baby and softly singing a lullaby while he fondly gazes up at me. Alas, I know only three songs by heart: "Smells Like Teen Spirit," by Nirvana, "Head On," by the Pixies, and "Get It Together," by the Beastie Boys. Why, yes, I did come of age in the 1990s. Thank goodness I have 10 weeks left to master "Toora Loora Loora."
(3) You get to indulge your loutish behaviors.
I'm not talking about smoking or drinking, of course. I'm talking about jay-walking, gossiping, using "fuck" as an all-purpose conversation filler, maybe even a little mild shoving when trying to get off the subway. In other words, all the tiny things you probably do every day that you don't necessarily want your kid modeling. Do them now, while your fetus couldn't care less.
(4) It takes a while to baby-proof the house.
Actually, I wouldn't know. I live in a 700-square-foot apartment. But I had no idea how many sharp corners, electrical outlets, power cords, loose cat litter, and choking hazards it contained. I did have some idea of the number of cat toys, though. If you live in a house, you might wish pregnancy lasted 80 weeks. It will probably take that much time to get up the energy to vacuum.
(5) A full-term pregnancy gives you more time to enjoy maternity clothes.
Maybe our moms or grandmothers had to wear muumuus, but we ladies have far more options these days, from skinny jeans with a demi-panel to one-shoulder flowy numbers perfect for prom. If I'd known how comfortable elastic-waist pants were, I might have gotten pregnant sooner. Bring on the burritos!
(6) You'll be able to indulge a multitude of cravings.
Speaking of burritos, in my first trimester, I wanted nothing so much as cheeseburgers and orange juice, a real American diet. In my second trimester, I went for egg rolls with extra hot mustard, shrimp fried rice with extra hot mustard, and pork dumplings with seriously-how-much-more-do-I-have-to-pay-to-get-extra-hot-mustard? I smartened up in my third trimester, and now routinely shovel in bowls of chopped meatballs atop rice and doused with Sriracha, often washed down with milkshakes.
(7) You can beef up your conversation skills.
Recent studies suggest that kids who hear 30 million words from their caregivers by age three tend to be more developmentally advanced than kids who don't. My husband and I have been a couple for over 12 years. Sometimes our conversation go like this:
"Do you want to pick up the Chinese or should I?"
"Boy, last night's Homeland sure was crazy."
“What time is that thing later with them?”
"I love you."
"Don't forget the extra hot mustard."
Not exactly scintillating, I realize. No doubt our poor kid will come out knowing way too much about workplace paranoia. However, he may also emerge already knowing how to use chopsticks.
(8) You need to build up resistance to the Baby-Industrial Complex.
The Baby-Industrial Complex, like the Military-Industrial Complex, is strong, and will steamroll you into buying all sorts of junk if you let it. Unless you've trained at the hands (paws?) of Yoda, you simply might not have the force with which to resist, at least not right away. If you've purchased multiple wipes warmers or newborn shoes, blame the BIC. Ditto if you're feeling guilty that your crib sheet doesn't match the crib bumper, which doesn't match the wallpaper, or if you bought last season's must-have glider, rather than this season's. See above, re. fetus and caring. It’s hard to imagine newborns minding much either.
(9) The attention can be nice.
The bigger you get, the more people want to help. You'll get offers to carry your groceries, seats on the bus, and several sympathetic glances. This attention sometimes translates to patting your belly or trying to predict the gender of what you're carrying in there, and you might also have to play How Big Is Your Bump or Guess the Celebrity Baby at your shower. But perhaps your shower will also have cake, so it's an even trade.
(10) 40 or so weeks is the perfect amount of time to grow a baby.
Have you seen an ultrasound of an 11-week-old fetus? With all due respect to anyone's uterus, these creatures--and I do mean creatures--are scary. Babies need time to grow and develop and turn into the cute chunky things that immediately kick your endorphins into gear. And obviously you'll need all the endorphins you can get after labor.
(Image: Lucky Business/shutterstock)