Sunday, February 15, 2009

Being pregnant is not for the feint of stomach

Men who have never been married to a pregnant woman could be forgiven for assuming that the “YOU DID THIS ME!!” phase only runs for about the final ten minutes of a pregnancy, because this is what we have learned from our primary source of information on the subject, which is reruns of the show Friends.

The most naïve men might even think that having a pregnant wife guarantees them a designated driver for nine months. This viewpoint is flawed for many reasons, not the least of which being that pregnant women don’t need to go to parties to find reasons to spend their evenings with their heads in the toilet. They can do that just by sitting at home and waiting for a few minutes.

In the three months that my wife Kara has been pregnant, I’ve observed that the term “morning sickness” seems to be something of a misnomer. “All day sickness” or just “sickness” would explain the phenomenon much better.

I had always thought that the beginning of a pregnancy was the time when a new mother-to-be would stand in front of the mirror, lovingly rubbing her tummy and glowing while thinking about lullabies, tiny fingers and paint swatches for the nursery. Kara has certainly been glowing lately, but not quite in the hue I would have expected. The theme song of the first trimester appears to be much less “What a Wonderful World” and much more “It Ain’t Easy Being Green.”

Now that she’s entering her second trimester, though, Kara is hoping for a reprieve from the worst of her symptoms. The stacks of literature she’s read have promised better times ahead, if only temporarily. While there’s no such thing as an average pregnancy, the general expectation seems to go something like this: About four months of extreme nausea and exhaustion, followed by four weeks where things are pretty cool, followed by four months where it looks like an oompa loompa’s hot air balloon got stuck under your T-shirt, followed by many long hours of screaming, sweating and pain as the husband tries to figure out how to put the crib together.

In any event, most guys don’t seem to understand, not that they ever entirely could, the difficulty that comes with carrying a baby, even before the most obvious stomach-stretching adversities have begun. Take, for instance, my friend Johnny, who hasn’t spent much time around pregnant women, and who inspired me to write this column as a public service to any men who might find themselves tempted to downplay the tribulations of the first trimester.

When he showed up at a mutual friend’s house and found Kara lying down on the couch, taking up two seats, he asked if she could sit up straight so that he could sit down, too.

“Dude, I’m pregnant. Can’t you pull a chair in from the dining room?” Kara asked.

Johnny rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, I see. Playing the pregnancy card already.”

I ducked behind the end table so as not to get caught in the blast that was about to knock Johnny out of his Skechers.

“The pregnancy card? Seriously? YOU try being pregnant. I’m exhausted and sick all the time. Could you just drag in another chair? I need to lie down for a few more minutes,” Kara said, hospitably allowing Johnny one more strike than her husband usually gets.

Not sensing the imminent danger, Johnny replied, “I mean, that might fly in the last three months, but you’re like baaaaarely pregnant. It’s not like I asked you to go clean the gutters, or handed you an axe and asked you to go chop wood in the backyard.”

It was to Johnny’s great benefit that, indeed, nobody handed Kara an axe at that moment.

You can hide behind the end table with Mike Todd


  1. Johnny is a brave soul. A bit of no time during or after the pregnancy should you say to your wife, "Good God, you're HUGE!" It's a thousand wonders we had more than one child.

    I hope Kara feels better soon.

  2. So sorry to hear that Kara is having such a time of it, but here's to hoping that you and Memphis will help to convince her that better days are, indeed, ahead.

    As for your guessing that he's going to be single for tad longer, with that attitude. lol

  3. Johnny needs to learn the facts of life...when it comes to makin babies, all men have to do is put up then shut up.

  4. Mike, let me know when you get that crib. We can make a drinkin' day of putting it together.

  5. Johnny will make a wonderful husband someday. I pitty the poe foo who marries that degenerate.

  6. Carmel -- Ha, thanks for the advice. I'd like to think my survival instinct is strong enough that following it will come naturally.

    Loon -- We'll do what we can, and thank you. Johnny actually has a wonderful girlfriend who is probably, as we speak, cleaning his gutters. (I didn't intend that to sound dirty, if it did.)

    JL -- Wise words from a wise man, as always.

    Sergey -- Thanks, dude. You're on.

    Anonymous -- What's with all the anonymous posting around here? It's always either Jered or Perlson. Why don't you just leave your name so I don't have to call you guys and hold a spelling bee. (Hint: the first word will be pity.)

  7. Thanks for dropping by the old art blog. Wow! That was a real blast from the past. I remember the post about your wife's art. Is she still keeping at it? Well... the pregnancy is probably more important at the moment :-) Congratulations!!!

  8. I'm homosexual and my left eye is blind. Your column is as cool as your Halloween pics. Who am I?

  9. Hoping that Kara feels better soon. I understand her pain all too well :D

  10. F---ing A!! Best of luck to all three of you.

  11. Naughty B. -- Well, she's threatening to start again. Unfortunately, you haven't missed much in the last few years. Thanks for dropping by - it's excellent to hear from you again.

    Anonymous -- A one-eyed homosexual, you say? You've beaten my giant, which means you're exceptionally strong, so you could've put the poison in your own goblet, trusting on your strength to save you, so I can clearly not choose Jered. But, you've also bested my Spaniard, which means you must have studied, and in studying you must have learned that man is mortal, so you would have put the poison as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose Josh. Okay, I think it's Perlson this time. What's that you say? You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go against a former technical writer when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

    Mamma Schmoo -- Thanks!

    Winter -- Ha, awesome. Effing A, indeed. Many thanks.

  12. Poor Johnny, does he know how close he came to death? There are two types of women you don't cross: drag queens and pregnant women. Both will cut you without blinking an eye.

    I hope Kara feels better soon... if only for Johnny's safety.

  13. Your blog is exceptionally funny. That's not a good word. Pick a better one and insert above.

    Congrats on the baby-in-waiting and tell your wife it gets better after the 1st trimester. No really, it does. Well, maybe not for you. But she'll feel better! You'll be cleaning gutters & chopping wood and digging a shallow grave for ole' Johnny if he makes more remarks to your wife about taking up two seats!

    It's been 10 years since I was pregnant but I do remember this - a good rule to note - if the pregnant woman says she's hungry - she means it. Like...drop what you're doing and get the damn food already. Ahem.

    And thanks for visiting my blog!

  14. Chris -- Now that's funny. Thanks, and she is.

    Carolyn -- I'd would thank you for stopping by, leaving such a funny comment and dispensing some very sound advice, but I have to run and feed the woman now.

  15. Wow, this caused quite a ruckus - I sure do look like a major asshole. And this is only partially true - meaning I'm less of an asshole than this column leads you to believe.

    But just to clear the air, I was asking for Kara to sit (comfortably) on one cushion of the couch so my girlfriend Jess and I could have the other two - there was only one available at the time. And I agree, if I handed her a knife and asked her to slice a lime and squeeze it into my beer, I certainly would have deserved that knife to be driven through my forehead.

    Court is now adjourned. -Johnny

  16. JP -- If it's any consolation, everyone knows I'm full of crap.