& I'M HERE TO SAVE YOU FROM MAKING THESE CLICHE MISTAKES
Are you tired of the pregnant-woman trope in media? Because YES I AM. You get two indications that a woman is pregnant and they are always
- enormous baby-belly
- sudden + excruciating contractions out of nowhere / the most inconvenient moment possible
That's it, people. That's all you get. Never fear, I am here! As a legit mother, I am 100% qualified to bring you this material. Buckle up.
1. The Truth About the Timeline
GUESS WHAT. There is more to pregnancy than a painfully obvious baby-belly, folks. THAT doesn't show up until later in the game. Pregnancy is divided into THREE TRIMESTERS, each consisting of THREE MONTHS. The ginormous belly doesn't really become ginormous until the latter half of the second trimester. Don't make the mistake of subconsciously thinking a huge belly is part + parcel of the whole nine
2. There's No Other Way to Tell a Woman is Pregnant Besides Her Enormous Belly??
Au contraire! A pregnant woman is NOT. NORMAL. It is sometimes/often a fight to act like a normal, functioning, INDIVIDUAL human being WHILE GROWING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING INSIDE YOU. Lettame break it down.
- the first trimester is excruciatingly exhausting because you are building a baby + the baby's supporting environment. i mean SUPER TIRED. like, YOU HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS LEVEL OF TIRED BEFORE.
- the second trimester is (almost) normal; you regain functional levels of energy, your belly isn't too large to move yet.
- the third trimester hits you like a wall. your belly is a) enormous, b) heavy; YOU ARE SICK + TIRED OF BEING PREGNANT CAN WE GET THIS OVER WITH WHY DID I AGREE TO THIS.
3. Think GOOSE.
Despite having been pregnant, I DID NOT REALIZE THIS UNTIL I WATCHED THE SHOW "BONES". There is more to walking as a pregnant woman than putting up with that heavy baby-belly, and the telltale signs show up LONG BEFORE THE BUMP. The pelvic area starts to loosen so it can allow for a tiny human to exit the baby-hole, and that loosening is actually VERY noticeable, once you realize it. I saw a woman in her early pregnancy days, and knew she was pregnant not because of a bump, but because I could tell by the way she was walking. DUDE. THANK YOU, BONES.
4. The Pamphlets Are Lying, Your Stomach is Not.
Everybody knows about "morning sickness." But GUESS WHAT. Morning sickness is NOT relegated to morning. Huh uh. I hate that. Morning sickness
- starts (usually) between 4-6 weeks
- peters off (hopefully) between 14-16 weeks
- does not switch off at 12:00 pm
- exacerbated by stress + hunger
5. 0 to 60 in Two Seconds...is Not Realistic.
You all know that IF there is a pregnant woman in a story, she WILL go into labour at the most climactic/inconvenient moment. THIS IS NOT REALISTIC.
- labour begins SLOWLY
- you might not even be sure you're IN labour for the first several hours
- you do NOT suddenly clutch your belly + wail as if your pelvic area were being torn off your body
- labour can take hours/days to take its course
NOTE: I can't tell you what it's like to have your water break because I was under epidural/well into labour when the doctor broke my water for me. Couldn't feel it at all. If you HAVE experienced your water break, please describe it in the comments for others!
6. It Isn't Over When the Fat Baby Sings.
Emotionally, you're definitely overwhelmingly joyful when the baby is born. PHYSICALLY, you're in more pain than you ever were in the entire pregnancy.
- you ache
- you hurt
- walking is stiff and slow
- sitting down is incredibly uncomfortable
- using the bathroom is EXTREMELY PAINFUL (thank God for stool-softeners, I'm not even kidding)
7. The Baby Brings a Black Dog as a Pet.
Despite what the media is telling you, the joy of motherhood is not always unalloyed. With the cataclysm of hormones and MORE physical adjustments (oh hey! milk!), you can experience depression. This is COMMON. So common that I find the sunshine-and-happiness shots of motherhood in films to be suspicious.
These are 7 things you need to know NOT TO DO when writing a pregnant or post-pregnancy character. I'm sure I've missed some tropes: add them in the comments below!
Welcome to The Penslayer! Sorry for the mess. Order will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, add me to your list of blogs you love for more short + sweet, writing-related posts to help you on your way! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, + Twitter.<3
image via...yeah, pinterest