Early in my pregnancy, when I had taken to my bed with morning/afternoon/all night sickness, I turned to cable TV to numb my misery with the likes of the (Un)Real Housewives of Various Unaffordable Locations. But those skinny chicks could only do so much for me. Before long, I was checking out TLC and I was completely addicted to the slew of childbirth related shows they serve up. My kids have become accustomed to arriving home from school to find me slack-jawed, glued to the latest episode of, “I didn’t know I was pregnant”.
This show mesmerizes me because in my experience, pretty much the moment implantation occurs, I know, and I make sure everyone else knows, that I am pregnant. I don’t believe in suffering in silence you see.
As a doula, a mom of four and currently pregnant with my 5th child, I am fairly well acquainted with childbirth and “I didn’t know I was pregnant” defies everything I have witnessed relating to pregnancy and childbirth.
The show opens dramatically with quotes flashed across the screen including, “no morning sickness” (this makes me bitter), “no weight gain” (I gain weight just thinking about being pregnant) and “no movement” (hard to fathom, since from the 7th month on, I was almost certain that each of my unborn babies were trying to burrow their way out, Shawshank-style by way of my belly button).
These weird anomalies aside, I think most pregnant and birthing women have more in common than not.
For instance, I have never attended an un-medicated birth (my own included) during which at some point the mother did not growl the words, “GET. IT .OUT”. No matter how serene and well prepared the mother was for childbirth, no matter how stoically she makes her way through the process, there comes a time during transition or pushing when things get primal. Usually the mom has no recollection of this utterance but it’s always there. And it always makes me smile because I know it means baby is about to make its debut.
Other truisms for us who do know we are pregnant? I’ve never met a mom who didn’t obsess over the gender of the baby. Even if they don’t care one way or another, they think about it constantly. All of us worry to some extent that everything is ok. All of us have dealt with unsolicited opinions regarding the size of our “bump”. And the most universal truism? Upon meeting that tiny wailing bundle, all of us agree that every single pregnancy trial and tribulation that we were so acutely aware of, was more than worth the trouble.