by Jennifer Hatcher
When I got pregnant with my first child, I assigned my husband one task. ONE. I asked him to please pray every day – Every. Single. Day. – for two things: 1) that I would not get hemorrhoids, and 2) that my feet would not grow.
I had girlfriends. I’d heard the horror stories. One friend had to sit on one of those inflatable donut-shaped pillows for months because of horrible hemorrhoids. She had no idea what was going on Down South (she couldn’t exactly see past the giant baby belly), only that it hurt like heck to sit on her tush. The thought of my most private parts turning inside-out – or something like that – completely freaked me out.
Another friend’s feet grew two shoe sizes during her pregnancy. She started out with cute little lady-feet and ended up with skis at the ends of her ankles! Was this real? Babies don’t grow in your feet! I was appalled at the idea of pregnancy making my feet grow. The year before I got pregnant, I worked in a shoe store and, well, I used my employee discount to its fullest! There was no way I could afford to replenish my gorgeous shoe collection if my feet grew two sizes!
So I begged my husband to daily pray for those two things. He had gotten me into this weird Body-Twilight-Zone, he could certainly pray regularly for a little heavenly favor on a couple of my body parts.
If I had only known all the other ways my body would morph into PreggoWoman, I would have made that prayer list a whole lot longer!
Right away, in the first trimester, I developed an acute sense of smell. As in SuperSonic sense of smell. As in sniff, sniff “Timmy’s in the well!” amazing Lassie-dog sense of smell. And this incredible sense of smell triggered an even more sensitive gag reflex. Suddenly, I would breathe in the air near a co-worker and immediately be like, “You ate onions four days ago, and I miraculously still smell it on your skin, so I must puke now.” Those superpowers were the most annoying superpowers in the history of superpowers.
And that amazing gag reflex did lead to throwing up. A lot of throwing up. I never knew you could burst the capillaries in your face from throwing up. But the red dots all around my eyes proved it was possible. Once, I threw up so hard a contact lens shot off my eyeball and landed in the toilet! (No, I did not retrieve it.)
My senses weren’t the only things changing. My hip joints loosened up in preparation for allowing another person to exit the premises. However, they didn’t just loosen. Instead, I would be walking along, minding my own pregnant-business, and POP my hip would be out of joint. Suddenly, I had marionette legs!
Along with all those expanding joints, I had quite the expanding belly. I was so big, grandmas at my church would look at me sympathetically and soothe, “Oh, Honey. Surely, you’ll have that baby any day.” Unfortunately, statements like that started coming my way well in advance of my due date – nearly five weeks before I was full term! The best part of a ginormous belly, though, was how amazingly thin my thighs suddenly looked! Proportion and perspective are beautiful things.
Speaking of beautiful things, the Boob Fairy visited me sometime during that pregnancy. When an old friend came to check out our new baby girl after she was born, he unabashedly exclaimed, “Wow! You have mommy-boobies now!” Yeah, they were that impressive.
Of course, underneath those mommy-boobies, I was having some serious heartburn. As I munched on Tums, I wondered how I’d managed to get a middle-aged man’s digestive system trapped inside the glowing, itching skin stretched across my mid-section.
If my digestive system was that of a middle-age man’s, my bladder control had suddenly regressed to that of a preschooler. I hadn’t really worried about those types of accidents in years, but suddenly I was crossing my legs when I coughed and hoping everything stayed dry down there.
And I haven’t even mentioned the strange cravings (ravioli for breakfast? crushed ice every single afternoon?) or the leg cramps that woke me up in the middle of the night as if some evil elves crept in and stabbed them while I slept.
No, if I had realized that hemorrhoids and freakishly-growing feet were only the tip of the iceberg, I would have given my husband a big, thick volume of prayer requests. Of course, then he would have spent all his time praying and wouldn’t have been available to drive all over town in search of the perfect chocolate milkshake late on a Wednesday night.
Jennifer Hatcher’s body never did return to its pre-baby state; but after six children, she’s made peace with her momma-hips. Jennifer lives and writes in southwest Virginia, where she still loves the perfect chocolate milkshake, even though she hasn’t been pregnant for more than seven years.
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