Preggo Don’t Preach

20 Dec

Ok – I’m going to start this post off by telling you guys a few things (some of them you may not like):

  1. I didn’t stop my anti-depressants when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, last week I started a transition from one med to another and to help ease me in I’ve been taking once a day. Yep – While pregnant.
  2. I have on average one caffeinated beverage per day. Some days I have two.
  3. Currently I am neither on a stringent diet nor on an exercise program.
  4. Though I think I may attempt to go for a natural delivery, I am 100% aware of the fact that there’s a good chance that I’ll break down 10 minutes in and beg for an epidural. I’m Ok with that.
  5. I have – gasp!- smoked more than one cigarette since finding out I was pregnant.

Here’s the thing: When I found out about my first pregnancy, I quit smoking cold turkey, quit caffeine cold turkey, and couldn’t stomach anything but saltines, and I felt crappy for not eating more veggies. After that loss, I immediately went back to smoking, drinking caffeine, and gained about as much weight post-pregnancy as I did during it. And I hated myself for it. The second pregnancy was pretty much the same story.  In the months leading up to my third pregnancy, I was on this crazy self-improvement regimen. I quit smoking, I did yoga, I barely drank caffeine. I was CONVINCED that if I just did everything right this time, a pregnancy would stick.

You all know how that turned out. And of course, the few months after that loss, I hated myself more than ever. I backslid once again.

But I also learned a very important lesson from that experience. NOTHING can be done. At the end of the day, 99.999% of miscarriages are either chromosomal or physiological. Not smoking during my first pregnancy didn’t prevent that blighted ovum. No caffeine during my third didn’t keep it from being ectopic. I had no control over this from day one. I still don’t. The outcome of this pregnancy was pretty much decided as soon as sperm met egg and they started to dig in. There’s a reason the world population has risen steadily in the last centuries. And I’m pretty sure it’s not because all pregnant women cut out caffeine on King George’s orders or whatever. There’s a reason most of our moms smoked throughout our pregnancies and ate medium rare steaks and we came out fine and dandy.

Because the human body is a miraculous thing, and because one medium rare steak will not cause a miscarriage, and neither will ten (though I’m not a fan of medium rare, but you get the point).

I made the decision that self-hate and self-punishment would do more harm to my baby than the anti-depressant that would make those feelings go away. I decided that I had enough anxiety to be going on with, and I didn’t need to also deal with the nightmare that is caffeine withdrawal. I decided that I need to give myself just a bit more flexibility, and to demonstrate to myself that my control here is minimal.

And so I did. And I’m almost 14 weeks in with the Shmaby going strong, and I don’t hate myself. Which is a nice change of pace.

So why do I tell you all of this?

(I think you can tell from the video embedded above where I’m going with this…)

When we first started this journey Shmerson and I were basically the only ones in our extended circle of friends trying for a baby. In the year and a half since, that number has grown. Several friends and acquaintances have already given birth, others are close to it.

Now most of these people know my history. With all due respect I have spent 9 out of the last 19 months pregnant. I have been part of the ALI community for over a year. I follow more than 200 blogs. I’ve never once gone through IVF yet a close friend of mine who is now making a baby with his life partner through DE and a surrogate came to me when he needed information because I know it (yes, I congratulated a gay man yesterday about being PUPO, and because of me, he knew what I meant. Hi Ababaderech! Good luck on your TWW!). I can list 1000 complications that can happen in a pregnancy. A 1000 more that happen before the sperm meets the egg. I know what can go wrong. More than most people, because I’ve seen (or read) it all in the last year. Heck, I experienced quite a bit of it myself, thankyouverymuch.

So, dear fertile preggo friends – don’t preach to me about my over indulgence on carbs. My food aversions are too extreme for me to stomach something else right now.

Please don’t spend 15 minutes lecturing me about I’ve read the research, and in my particular case (and with my doctor’s blessing), the benefits outweigh the risks.

Please don’t look at me weird if I have a sip of coke zero. Trust me, the chances of that doing damage are slim to none.

Please don’t lecture me on the benefits of natural childbirth. I know them all. I also know that 95% of women eventually opt for an epidural, and I’m a realist (Oh, and I bet you anything that my pain tolerance is about 1000 times greater than yours – let’s just see who lasts longer, shall we? You haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is an HSG with blocked tubes, or your uterus contracting after a D&C. If it’s down to you and me, fertile preggo friends, I think I’d win that contest).

Don’t spend an hour touting your brave abandonment of prozac the MOMENT you got knocked up. You may be able to do that. I on the other hand would most likely lose it completely without my anti-anxiety meds, because, you know, I’ve had three miscarriages and that kind of messes with a girl’s head.

Don’t look at me weird if I sneak a cigarette on a bad day. You’ve never smoked, you don’t know what a slave you can become to that horrible weed.

I have a couple of pregnancy tracker apps on my iPhone. My favorite one, from baby center gave me these words of wisdom the other day (I’m paraphrasing):

“If you’re not perfect in avoiding things during your pregnancy, there’s no need to get stressed out about it. Our mothers had no idea about these things and we came out fine.”

Hear hear pregnancy tracker elves! My mom smoked a pack a day and drank copious amounts of coffee while she carried me. I came out perfectly fine. No horns or anything.

I’m not saying all pregnant women need to take up smoking, drinking and meth use during their pregnancy for the fun of it.

What I’m saying is, we all have our ways of dealing. I chose to give up control, and to go easy on myself. So far, it’s working out pretty well for me.

And no offense my fertile pregnant friends – but I think I know just a BIT more about this than you guys do.

Please, let’s discuss the risks of pre-eclampsia and why our blood pressure is critical to the health of our unborn babies.

Please – let’s talk about infections and fevers and how they can affect the health of our children.

Let’s talk about the risks of low amniotic fluid. Let’s discuss the importance of staying well hydrated during our pregnancies.

Let’s talk about placenta previa. Let’s talk about uterine fibroids. Gestational diabetes. Toxoplasmosis. Placental abruption. RH factor. Incompetent cervix.

And let’s talk about it over a nice tall glass of coke. Because trust me, drinking that won’t make any of the things I mentioned above more or less likely.

And it may just help me hold on to a bit of my sanity as I go through this roller coaster.

You may not agree with me, but you can’t argue with this: I’ve been around the block enough to know my limits. To know what’s best for me, and how it will affect my baby. I think I know that just a bit better than you. So stop preaching. You may as well just look at me sideways and tell me to relax. Either one of those will give this hormonal preggo lady ample reason to punch you.

And I loathe violence.


33 Responses to “Preggo Don’t Preach”

  1. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row December 20, 2011 at 23:46 #

    1. I am so obsessed with that song.

    2. It’s insane when people try to tell you what to do, when reality is you have spent the last however many years reading, talking about, and obsessing over every minute of your life in order to merit the “luck” of being pregnant. Right?

    3. I went off all of my meds during my last 2WW. Yesterday, I very nearly had a break down. Like, so close I’m not sure I would of survived without my husband and a few assorted bloggies. A baby needs a happy momma, not a momma who isn’t on her happy meds and trying to just make it through the day.

    4. You are doing your best. And that’s all you and Shmaby could ask for.

    5. I love you from here to the moon and back.

  2. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row December 20, 2011 at 23:47 #

    Oh, and b’hatzlacha, Ababaderech!!

  3. Chon December 20, 2011 at 23:52 #

    Oh Mo I hear you!! The list of things we can and can’t do is so stupid, common sense should prevail!! I won’t go there on the smoking BUT only cause i am a fervent non smoker anyway 😉 you know what being sensible is key. And you are allowed a coffee a day, you can paint your nails, I eat sandwiches from a deli when I know they are fresh but yes not going to eat a dims i. From the Bain Marie at the food court!! What I want for you is happiness! And green veggies for me are currently non existent I don’t want them so yes hear you on the carb call xxxx

    • Rachel @ Eggs In A Row December 21, 2011 at 00:10 #

      The lady at my sushi place told me that millions of Asians eat sushi daily throughout their pregnancy and are fine. Which is good because if I have to limit my 6 diet coke a day habit and not eat sushi, I’d go crazy!

      • Katie December 21, 2011 at 01:05 #

        Oh, I was going to ask Mo about sushi. This makes me very happy!

        Mo, your baby will be pretty damn fabulous, no matter what you eat! 🙂

        The pregnant women are smug video is probably my favorite Garfunkel and Oates song, although Sex with Ducks is good too. 🙂

  4. Kristen December 21, 2011 at 00:22 #

    I hate the pregnancy police!
    I’m so glad you are going easy on yourself, and not expecting perfection! It’s one thing to do it once with a perfectly normal pregnancy, it’s another to do all these things over and over with all the losses. I think you have exactly the right attitude.
    And I’m going to make my own list for you, just because it feels fun and liberating:
    1) I have taken Zofran for the last 12 weeks
    2) And Tylenol if the aches and pains get too bad
    3) And have been drinking herbal tea
    4) When I had a strong aversion to veggies I didn’t eat them
    5) And I am gaining tons of weight…within the (upper) limits of what I’m supposed to be gaining with twins…but I am eating anything I want
    6) I am pretty sure I’m going to go for the epidural (I am a total wimp when it comes to pain)
    7) I really could be exercising more
    8) I haven’t had a glass of wine yet, but figure an occasional glass in my third trimester will be well deserved
    Glad everything is going so well with your baby! So happy for you!

  5. aprilvak December 21, 2011 at 00:32 #

    Love, love, love this post, Mo!!

    Best wishes to Ababaderech!!

  6. missohkay December 21, 2011 at 00:33 #

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: My mom smoked through both her pregnancies and yet I obsessed about a sliver of cheese of unknown origin. Frankly, the randomness of whose pregnancies works out and whose don’t pisses me off, but you’re right – there’s nothing we can do about it. Go Shmaby!

  7. Connie December 21, 2011 at 00:38 #

    You Go GIRL !! Careful…. yes…. within reason. Borderline OCD about it….. not good…. Common sense within your OWN comfort zone is what you should strive for. Good for you 🙂

  8. Cristy December 21, 2011 at 00:40 #

    One truth that I’ve learned over the years: those who are fastest to offer advice are usually the least qualified to give it. My former SIL was great at doling out advice, especially on pregnancy and raising children. What she didn’t like being mentioned was 1) Child Protective Services was monitoring her constantly because of neglect and hygiene issues and 2) both of her daughters had severe abandonment issues. Fun times.

    I’m in your camp as far as doing what you need to do to stay sane. You’ve been through enough already, so taking care of yourself should be the top priority. And anyone who gives you crap can shove it.

  9. bodegabliss December 21, 2011 at 00:41 #

    I’m so happy to hear all of this, you have no idea. I think that all of this is the very right choice for you, even if it isn’t for someone else. We have absolutely no control over the fate of our pregnancies, and I’m happy to read you’re succumbing to that, I know it wasn’t easy.

  10. Kelly December 21, 2011 at 04:05 #

    Man, you are so normal! AWESOME! Love this post! Billions of years of babies in famine, war, etc., and it worked out. The smug fertiles are a pain, ‘Oh I planned it so me and so&so would be preggers at the same time!’. Yeah congrats…..*eye rolling*

    Stay normal!!

  11. JM December 21, 2011 at 04:40 #

    You’re not going crazy, and you’re doing what you need to do to keep yourself in a good place, a healthy place for the shmaby to grow. I’m suppressing my judgeyness, but let’s be honest- it’s your body and you know what you need to do. So fuck all the judgeyness and grow that damn baby!

    Love ya 🙂 You’re brave for posting. I love that too.

  12. Christina December 21, 2011 at 05:29 #

    I”m still taking both my anxiety/depression meds (Well.butrin, I eat lunch meat, hot dogs (until they started tasting super gross to me), soft cheeses. There was several months that I could barely keep down a veggie that wasnt a potato or a fruit that was not in candy form. I eat sugary, baked goodies and salty, fatty foods.

    Pretty much, I’m eating and doing what ever it was I was before I was pregnant, minus the drinking (although I did have a small glass of wine at a bonfire weeks ago. I nursed that 4oz dose of deliciousness for hours!). Everythign in moderation is my philosophy. Your well-being and mental health have more bearing on Shembryo’s outcome than a cup of caffeine here or one smoke there. Keep that in mind and just tell the “over-sharers” to shut it!

  13. Heather December 21, 2011 at 17:23 #

    I love reading your blog – you are so real. Mo. And I’m glad you are keeping on your anti-depressants – you need those. And it has been shown you can have minimal amount of caffine and still be ok. I also hate people who are full of advice. Just smile and do what you need to do.

  14. mrs. brightside December 21, 2011 at 17:33 #

    I used to make myself crazy trying to be More Perfect with each subsequent pregnancy, haunted by the “what ifs” of the previous failure – what if it’s the egg I ate, the cheese I ate, the tea I drank, the box I lifted, the plane I rode on, and on and on. After 6 I think I’ve finally gotten it through my noggin that none of those things mattered, not 6 frickin’ times. My original OB has always said, “A healthy pregnancy is a hearty pregnancy.” Not that I’m advocating reckless abandon, and there are certainly medical interventions that can fix some things, but CHILLING OUT sounds like a good way to go. Go Mo.

    And can I tell you how much love I’m feeling for you right now for introducing me to that song???? It will become my protective armor against pregnant woman – the second I feel myself becoming weepy and jealous and crazy, I will hum that song to myself and smile, and people will think I’m smiling at the joy of new life, and but really I’ll be smiling at the part where they scream “BITCH.” I just got toppled over by a stinging new preggo announcement last night, so couldn’t come at a better time. Thank you!!!!

  15. Lise December 21, 2011 at 18:18 #

    So true! Staying off caffeine and not having a single drink in the TWW didn’t stop me from miscarrying twice this year. So now I’m back on coffee and have a glass of wine if I feel like it, it’s not like that’s going to make any difference whatsoever for my chances of getting pregnant. I will not have a guilty conscience about anything like that anymore. My mother smoked during her pregnancies and she didn’t know she was pregnant with until she was probably 6-7 weeks and has admitted she had more than a few drinks before she knew. I turned out fine. More than fine actually, I have PhD for Gods sake.

  16. EB December 21, 2011 at 18:39 #

    I don’t think anyone should have the audacity to tell any pregnant woman what to do. And I’m particularly sorry that anyone is trying to tell YOU what to do. Punch away. Could do some people a world of good (and save the rest of us the trouble).

  17. Jem December 21, 2011 at 18:55 #

    I drink coffee daily (not too much) and have a finger of red wine on more than one occasion, with no ill effects. I hate the pregnancy police. You do what’s best for you and stuff them!

  18. Lizzy's mom December 21, 2011 at 19:17 #

    Now I’m afraid of coming over for dinner, you might punch me if I breathe wrong…
    But I’m definitely with you on the “mind your own business” attitude. I hate how other women feel they can divulge their “knowledge” with you, when you’ve never asked their opinion!

  19. Dawn December 21, 2011 at 19:55 #

    My favorite picture of my mom is from January 1976. She’s beautiful; a cigarette in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I was born in July 1976. 🙂

  20. Rebecca Pallack (@RPallack) December 21, 2011 at 22:39 #

    Love the song and I’m going to re-post it for all my pregnant friends! LOL. I have to agree with you, my mom’s generation smoked, dyed their hair, did their nails, drank, had rare steaks, and in some cases even sat near a person with a cold! Why are we being so cautious now with our generation. You are so right about what could not cause you to miscarry too. I’d rather have my black tea, dye my hair and do my nails to relax then to stress out over what I might be doing to enjoy a pregnancy that might end it because some one said I shouldn’t. Live life!

  21. Emily @ablanket2keep December 22, 2011 at 02:30 #

    AMEN! Love your post! Whatever you are doing is working so keep doing it!

    Would you rub your belly for me and say hi? Hi Shmaby!

  22. Port of Indecision December 22, 2011 at 02:56 #


    Yeah, I’m there with you. I’ve mostly avoided caffeine during my pregnancy, though I also won’t turn down a cappuccino after a nice dinner out, and plenty of chocolate. I never smoked nor took prescription drugs. I kept up my normal exercise routine and eating habits, which has earned me the opposite input from what you’ve gotten – that I’m working out too hard and not eating enough. When people ask me if I “should be doing that” it drives me bonkers for the exact same reason – I know waaaaay more about what causes miscarriage than any of them do. I too went from not paying any attention to the “rules” to getting super strict with myself, and now I’m full circle, because you’re right. It doesn’t fuckin’ matter.

  23. Mrs. Corrock December 22, 2011 at 05:17 #

    OMG!!! you know.. i create a voice for you in my head while I read your posts. Totally love this!!

    can’t believe some had tried preaching to you… good luck!

  24. Suzanna Catherine December 22, 2011 at 19:45 #

    Well said!!

  25. K December 22, 2011 at 20:42 #

    Yes. I love this post. I love the anger and I’m glad you wrote this and didn’t hold back. Honestly, sometimes I feel like we’re all a little too sensitive to the delicate feelings of the easily fertile. I get frustrated when the whole world is happy for a pregnant couple but it’s not enough, I have to be happy too even in all my pain. Anyway, you’re totally right about giving up control. It’s something i struggle with that i hope can start to do so more. i just stated anti depressants and i don’t think I’d stop if i got pregnant. I didn’t even realize how far down i had fallen and my mental stability is too important to not treat properly. Hope you’re doing good these days and enjoy the hell out of those occasional smokes.

  26. the bunless oven December 23, 2011 at 02:38 #

    Ah ha. Love it. The problems with ‘us’ is we’ve gone through enough shit already that our bodies – even more than ‘normal’ pregnant women’s – are not our own.
    Reclaim that shit!

    On another note, so happy to see everything’s still moving along the way it should. Lots of love and luck to you xx

  27. slcurwin December 23, 2011 at 02:48 #

    Oh My Gosh, you’re drinking Coke zero? What is wrong with you?! that shit tastes weird. Just drink regular coke for crying out loud. lol.

    I’d like the highlight the “benifits outweight the possible side effects” or however it was worded portion.

    And I didn’t start eating fast food again until I was pregnant. Go get a burger. All about moderation my dear.

  28. LisaB December 24, 2011 at 12:45 #

    haha, you always make me laugh. I so appreciate your honesty. You know a lot of other ladies are probably doing the same things but won’t admit it 🙂 Nothing you’re doing now will prevent a miscarriage. I’ve had people tell me some things I did were factors in my previous miscarriages 😦 That’s a horrible thought.
    Glad to see you progressing! I’m kind of on a break so you may not hear from me.

  29. S December 30, 2011 at 20:00 #

    Here from Mel’s Friday Blog Round-Up. . . .

    I love that song. I’ve known too many smug pregnant women in my life. (One of my favorite lines: “You’re just giving birth now; you’re not Mother Earth now!”)

    My mother tells me that she drank two screwdrivers a week for the first four months of her pregnancy with me (she didn’t know she was pregnant), and I turned out fine. (She also didn’t breastfeed me; think of all the extra brain power I could’ve had! LOL)

    I follow all the “rules” for what we have to avoid–mostly because I am married to a man who, G-d love him, is super paranoid and anxious–but I agree that we shouldn’t preach to each other and that you know what is best for you.

  30. slowmamma December 31, 2011 at 23:03 #

    I love this – the song and the post! And good for you for being wise enough to flip a bird to the pregnancy police. I will admit that I didn’t escape harassing myself over all of the things that I did wrong during my pregnancies, probably causing my losses, even thought I KNOW better. I know that cup of espresso was not the culprit. I think it’s directly related to our senseless desire to have some control over a situation that is actually completely out of our hands.
    I also wanted to thank you for stopping by and offering support. I’m so happy that it looks like both of us just had false alarms, just a little terror to keep us on our toes. Here’s to smooth sailing from here on out – and, it may not be totally in character, but maybe we should try on the smug persona once or twice before this ends, just, you know, to see what it feels like!

  31. Amy January 11, 2012 at 18:15 #

    I LOVE YOU for writing this, so much so that I must delurk to say so. I went off the zoloft before my clomid cycle, but it was a minuscule dose and I don’t think it helped that much anyway. I did not completely quit smoking until I was 8 weeks….and had another weak moment at 11 weeks. I had a glass of champagne on new year’s eve…and I plan on another (or maybe red wine, ohhhhhh I miss it!) when we find out the sex and when we reach “viability.” I do go to yoga once a week but don’t really exercise otherwise and I eat whatever the hell I feel like almost all of the time. I’m down to half-caff coffee but I have two giant cups a day (so same as two regular small cups, in effect). I TOTALLY agree with you – to an RPL’er, it matters diddly fucking squat how perfect your pregnant behavior is or not – as much as I don’t believe in a metaphysical predestination, biologically it really is either meant to be or not, just as you said. I think it’s rotten that as women who’ve miscarried we’re the MOST vilified if we’re not picture perfect 100% of the time in doing “right” in drink, diet, activity, vice, etc. High five to you. I just read the best quote that I think is fitting here: ‎”Never take the advice of someone who has not had your kind of trouble.” — Sidney J. Harris

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