I knew that by getting "in the family way," I was opening myself up to a mind, body and life-altering experience, but that doesn't change the fact that I've been encountering stuff in my pregnancy thus far that I never expected. There aren't enough websites or cute movies out there to have prepared me for some of this.
Sure, there's the stereotypical but true things you hear about being pregnant, like having morning sickness and certain food cravings. Like many pregnant women, I came to find out that morning sickness does not just occur in the morning -- it can be an afternoon, evening or an all-day adventure. (A special shout out to the rocket scientist who gave it that misleading moniker.) There's also the intense craving of all things pickled and pickle flavored. I have no words for how embarrassing it is to fall under that cliché. However, there are a slew of other fun things that come with the pregnancy package that don't get covered, well at least not as well as they should be.
By the way did y'all know that May is National Pregnancy Awareness Month? I just found out myself, so do not feel bad if you were in the dark. The irony is that since becoming pregnant, the main thing I have become aware of is how much disdain I have for women who, like my mother, wax poetic about how awesome being pregnant is/was for them. We all know who I'm talking about -- the ladies who go on and on about how it's the most incredible magical beautiful experience they've ever had. How if it wasn't so expensive to raise kids they could have gotten pregnant and had a new baby every year, Duggar-style. I am not ragging on these women (well, okay, maybe a little), but I think that they are the exception rather than the rule. I also think that it is seen as taboo for women (like me) to talk about how much being prego can suck, especially with all the women out there who want to be pregnant but for some reason or other find it's not in the cards for them. Most of us who are fortunate enough to become pregnant do not want to a) come off as ungrateful or b) like we're taking our "blessing" for granted. But as comedian it is my job and duty to go there -- to be honest, candid, and of course funny. So I will risk admonishment when I say yes, being pregnant is a miracle, it is a blessing and it is a gift, but it also blows a good portion of the time, and not just because you have to give up your regular glass of wine with dinner.
Don't get me wrong, I don't spend all day moping around the house. I go about my daily business making calls, booking gigs, writing, going on auditions and performing for crowds at night. I rarely complain to my husband or anyone else about anything connected to this pregnancy -- unless I do it in a humorous way (see my blog, www.diaryofapregnantcomedian.com). I should also point out that despite my misleading diva-like exterior, I'm really quite a simple girl. So much so that a good day for me used to consist of my bra and panties matching. Now a good day is when I sneeze and I don't pee myself a little. Not one single friend, book or website proficiently warned me that this was part of the package of being pregnant -- and believe you me, I've been doing my research.
I am from Plano, Texas, which means by nature and nurture I am the consummate Southern lady. I say please, thank you and "Bless your heart!" I'll even send a thank you note in response to someone else's thank you note. So the fact that, in what seems like an overnight transition, I have gone from Whitley from A Different World to a combo of Booger and Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds is enough to make me want to hang my head in shame. I realize having gas is a natural part of being a human being, but going from "having the vapors" to being able to belch the alphabet was never something I aspired to. I have turned into a burping, farting machine, so much so that my husband's new nickname for me is "Gaseous Clay". I can't even be offended, because it's true. As sorry as I am for him, I feel worse for our dog, who likes to burrow under the covers at night. I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure dutch-ovening a 7 lb. chihuahua to death is cause for the ASPCA to investigate you.
Another thing no one told me was that I'd have this crazy metal taste in my mouth for the first few months. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, make friends with a janitor and suck on her key chain for a good 20 minutes a day -- that should replicate properly what I went through, except it was on a 24-hour basis the first few months. Fortunately, I no longer have the freaky taste in my mouth. It's since been replaced by heartburn like I've never felt before. I'm trying to quell it via all-natural ways, so no meds for me, but I still don't think there would be enough Tums, Rolaids or Prilosec in the world to put out the fire that's in my chest at night. If that old wives tale is true, the one that says when you experience heartburn it means the baby's growing hair, all I can say is, come fall, I may be in the Huffington Post a for another reason under the headline, "Woman Gives Birth to Real Life Ewok".
Venting aside, I do find great comfort and camaraderie in the mommy-to-be sites I'm on and I do appreciate the advice and empathy from my friends who've traveled this path before I just wish they wouldn't candy-coat this stuff. 'Course maybe if they didn't, the world would have a population deficiency on our hands. Hmm, I never thought about it that way. I now may have to reconsider my position.
Karith Foster is not just a comedian, but humorous speaker who performs at colleges, clubs, and corporations across America. Visit her website www.karith.com for more funny and to find out how to bring her to your event.