10 Shameful Acts I Committed While Pregnant

My doctor acted really disappointed in me when I announced that I would be needing my caffeine. Image: Thinkstock.

My doctor acted really disappointed in me when I announced that I would be needing my caffeine. Image: Thinkstock.

You can't judge me anymore. I'm done.

If you've ever been pregnant, you know that once you start to show, there are a lot of eyes on you. Scrutinizing your body, but also your behavior.

Having a pregnant belly marks you for examination — by the whole world. Everyone's got an opinion on what you should eat, wear, and do.

And usually, somebody somewhere will think you're doing it wrong.

For me, the feeling of being policed expanded in proportion to my belly.

So I rebelled. I couldn't help it.

Just for the record I've given birth to two kids who did great on the Apgar, despite the fact that I was horrible at being pregnant. (Just the worst.)


Here are the 10 most terrible things I did while pregnant:

1. I drank 32-ouncers.

My doctor acted really disappointed in me when I announced that I would be needing my caffeine while pregnant. He frowned at me and benevolently offered that he would allow me “one serving” of caffeine per day.

So I made that one serving count. I got gigantic fountain drinks of cola shamelessly procured from the local mini-mart. I had to double-grip the cup as I walked up to the counter, sucking on the extra-long straw already stabbed into the lid.

Everybody stared.

My facial expression read: I dare you to make a comment right now.

No one said a word, but I felt the judgment.


So if my first pregnancy was all about the soda, my second was all about the lattes.


2. I hated the What to Expect book.

I'm not sure why a nurse at one of my early appointments gave me a free copy of this classic. Like, did everybody get one, or I did I just look like I really needed an advice manual?

At the next visit, she asked, “So how are you liking the book? Isn't it great?”

I told her I found it “hostile toward women.” I was in grad school at the time, so I went ahead and deconstructed it for her.

Next thing I know, I'm getting a call from a social worker who says she was told to evaluate me because I'm not properly “bonding with my baby.”

Lucky for me, that social worker was more than happy to get down about “motherhood during post-industrial capitalism under the patriarchy.” Those were her words for it.

Fellow feminist. Yes!

3. I secretly admired pregnant smokers.

I admit that when I would see hugely pregnant women, bellies out, puffing on cigarettes, my first thought was Wow. You are so brave.

What I really admired about these women was their bulletproof attitude.

I mean, some of these girls held their cigarettes like it was still the 50s and they were supermodels. Just hanging out, waiting for the bus. Rockin' a cancer stick. Go you.

I know smoking is bad, especially while pregnant. I also know my grandmother chain-smoked through six pregnancies and gave birth to my mom and all my aunts and uncles and... They all seem fine.

[Editor’s note: While smoking during pregnancy isn’t advised, it’s equally inadvisable to police pregnant people’s choices. As Everyday Feminism puts it: “Telling a pregnant person not to do some seemingly minor thing might seem trivial, but policing their choices allows for an environment where it is acceptable to place more emphasis on the health of a fetus than on the health of the person.”]

4. I opted out of weigh-ins.

Obstetrics personnel are obsessed with scales. I can't remember how many pounds I was “allowed” to gain between appointments, but I was exceeding the allotment.

I told the nurses they could weigh me as long as they didn't tell me the number.

I turned away from the scale. I had no control over my weight anyway.

(Note to judgers: You try resisting ravenous cravings while in the midst of a powerful, constant hunger — then we’ll discuss your weight.)

5. I rejected “proper” and “modest” maternity outfits.

I was the type who tried to make my regular wardrobe work during pregnancy. Maybe not my best idea, but whatever.

My clothes constantly created this weird “belly smile” when I walked around. Maybe you've seen one? A curve of belly skin shows out between the top of your jeans and the bottom of your top (neither of which were built for maternity), and you're so pregnant you don't even feel it until you start noticing the stares.

So when I saw a T-shirt that read 1-800-Pimpsters, I thought, That would be cute over my huge belly.

And it was.

(OK, I only had the guts to wear it once.)

6. I went through the Starbucks Drive-thru, like, a lot.

So if my first pregnancy was all about the soda, my second was all about the lattes.

In the late months, I put a coat over my lap so the barista wouldn't see my huge belly as he handed me my Venti.

Instead, he must have wondered why I was driving around with a cloaked beach ball on my lap.

7. I fully indulged my cravings for candy.

What's the worst thing you can eat in public while pregnant?

Judging by the looks I got, I think it's King-size Reeses.

Go ahead, old guys in the park, judge me.

I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this chocolate and peanut butter while I sit here on this bench in public.

8. I was disappointed when I found out I was having a boy — both times.

The second time around, I started weeping during the ultrasound that revealed the sex.

I cried, “I (sob) wanted (sob) a girl (sob)!”

I could tell the technician was like, You get first prize for being today's worst mom! You selfish beast.

My sons are the lights of my life, but yeah, I wanted girls.

9. I thought my fetuses were vampires.

Technically, a fetus is a parasite. Pregnant people are basically host specimens. I mean, you saw the Alien films, right?

One of the things I'll always miss is the feeling of the baby moving around inside me.

But I could also feel those little guys sucking all my energy and taking over my entire body, and I could tell they didn't care a thing what happened to me during the process.

10. I tried every possible thing to induce labor.

Everyone told me that my babies would arrive “in their own time.”

Um. No. A kid's head is lodged in my crotch. The time is now, dude!

When my sons didn't arrive by 36.5 weeks, I started doing everything I could to get those kids born, and I mean everything: Castor oil. Sex. Moving the furniture all over the place. More sex. Riding miles on a stationary bike. Nipple stimulation. Hanging out under a full moon.

Nothing worked.

Finally, during my second pregnancy, I got a midwife to reach up and dislodge the “bloody show.”

I remember her saying, “Wow, you've got a high pain tolerance,” while she basically fisted me.

NBD. I didn't care. I was like, “Unplug that mofo, STAT.”

It worked! My appointment was in the morning and I was in labor by the afternoon.

♦ ♦ ♦

Those are my worst confessions, and guess what? Both kids turned out fine.

One's in an honor's college and I just told the other one to please not leap off the top bunk. Long story short: They're good, despite having a mom who sucked at pregnancy.

I drank caffeine, ate candy, ignored What to Expect While You're Expecting and nothing bad happened.

You can't judge me anymore. I'm done.

So, do me a favor?

Next time you see a pregnant woman scarfing down a jumbo Snickers while her belly “smiles” at you, Venti in one hand, wine glass in the other, a cigarette pack rolled in the sleeve of her non-maternity T-shirt, while she sobs about God knows what:


Got it?

She's probably late for her weigh-in.

She might not know that you can opt out of knowing and caring. You really can.

I still don't look at the number when the doctors weigh me.  

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