Anti-advice / Listicles

Just don’t do what I did: The pregnancy edition

pregnant belly

You’ll get a lot of advice when you’re pregnant. And I figure most of that you can safely ignore. I mean, what’s a little soft cheese gonna do? I tasted wine, I rode my bike, I carried toddlers around, I ate runny egg yolks. In short, I am in NO position to give any advice about pregnancy.

But I can share five of the absolute dumbest things I ever did while expecting. Don’t worry, I give you more credit than to make my mistakes, even without the benefit of my sage counsel. But just in case:

1. Don’t foster-parent a grouchy, overweight cat who likes to carefully evacuate turds from his litter box and then bat them around the house (or cabin).

You’re not supposed to touch cat shit when you’re pregnant. It can give you toxoplasmosis. (Which sounds like, but is not a disease I made up just to get out of kitty litter duty. It’s a real thing.)

2. Don’t fly to your future host town in Belgium weeks ahead of your spouse to “get things settled” for you both while he waits for his student visa.

You will settle no things. Not one. For example. You won’t rent an apartment because you’ll need a bank account first. And you won’t get a bank account, because you’ll need an address first. (THIS IS TRUE. I honestly don’t know how any non-Belgian ever managed to be here. I don’t tend to ask either, because no one likes to talk about it.) You know that “nesting instinct” you hear so much about? That is real. Relocating your nest to Belgium mid-pregnancy is obviously possible, but trust me, you will need the support and reason of your non-pregnant partner.

3. Don’t go to the cinema and consume large quantities of sour gummy worms while watching a shaky-cam Lars von Trier film about (spoiler alert) the literal end of the world.

Your reptilian brain does not understand that you’re in a theater safely watching a movie. All it knows is that you’re pregnant and THE EARTH IS CRASHING INTO ANOTHER PLANET. Also, you will never enjoy gummy worms again. (If you decide to risk this, just make sure you know where the bathroom is.)

4. Don’t move into an apartment right across the street from a bar/music venue in the middle of a university town.

Maybe the sign outside says that it’s an “art center” and “café.” And that sounds swell. Just make sure by “café” they don’t mean drinking establishment that only closes after the last drunken undergrad manages to stumble noisily into the light of next-day, and that “art” doesn’t include songs that vibrate your bedroom with oons oons oons oons every Saturday night. (Did I mention it’s not easy to find an apartment in Belgium? Yeah, it’s not easy to change apartments, either.)

5. Finally, don’t google things about your pregnancy.


Does this look like a person who knows what she’s doing?

For example, if your doctor casually mentions that you have a slight excess of amniotic fluid, don’t go home and spend the next week pouring over every potential complication associated with that condition. Because maybe excess amniotic fluid (or polyhydramnios, as you will learn in your exhaustive internet studies) is mostly associated with nothing at all.

It’s hard to overcome the instinctive mistrust of so swift and surprising a transformation as pregnancy. But even if your pet weirdness (pregnancy is notorious for unexpected weirdnesses) warrants examination, just let your midwife or obstetrician know and trust that she’s on it. Unless you’re also a midwife or OB, she’s the expert here, and you’re just the lady with an internet connection. And if you’re anything like I was (culture shocked and sleep-deprived), she’s got things way more under control right now than you anyway.

Happy gestating!


Leave me a comment if you think you can trump any of these magnificent moves!

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