Pregnancy can turn the familiar land of your body into alien territory. You'll know you've arrived when . . .
1. SpaghettiOs With a Side of Fried Bananas Sound Like a Viable Breakfast Option
It's almost scary, the random, inexplicable, overpowering need for certain foods, as if you're taking commands from a being on another planet (which you kind of are). Seriously, how does your body even remember what SpaghettiOs taste like when you haven't eaten them in 25 years? Pregnancy cravings are like regular food cravings, but with rage issues. So there you are, 6 a.m., still dressed in your jammies, pounding on the grocery store's automatic doors, begging them to open, open, open. Why? Because pregnancy will not be satisfied until it tastes that one-of-a-kind flavor of tomato tang and tin can.
2. Reading "SpaghettiOs With a Side of Fried Bananas" Made You Throw Up in Your Mouth a Little
Right. Nausea. Sorry about that. By the way, calling it "morning" sickness? That's false advertising. The I-think-I'm-gonna-hurl feeling sticks around all day. The best advice for calming the roiling sea that is your stomach? Eat! Ha! Pregnancy is such a comedian.
3. Sore Boobs: Pregnancy Symptom or Karma (or Both)?
Remember how your mom told you never, never to kick your brother in the balls? But then your brother really, really pissed you off, so you took a swing at the most delicate part of his anatomy, as if it were a piñata hanging between his legs? Remember how you heard his voice growl, from the heap that was his body collapsed on the floor, "You'll pay for this someday?" Today's the day. So's tomorrow and the day after that. Karma has arrived, in the form of pregnancy boobs. Be kind to your girls, Mama. They're gonna need some extra love.
4. You Smell Dog Poop, and You Don't Have a Dog
And there's no poop on the bottom of your shoe, or on the sidewalk, or under the shrubs. But there's a dog park a mile away, and you can smell it. Congratulations! You have developed pregnancy nose, a super power that renders most of the world's smells intolerable.
5. Halfway Through That Last Paragraph, You Fell Asleep
It's not so much that you feel tired. It's more like your body has developed an inescapable magnetic attraction to anything vaguely resembling a bed--a sofa, a laundry pile, the throw pillow display at Pottery Barn. Once you're sucked into that vortex, it's not so much a nap you take. It's more like a pregnancy-induced coma. And woe to the person who wakes you.
6. You Play Imaginary Tic-Tac-Toe on the Bathroom Tiles
Yes, you've gotta pee again. Blame the hormones cuing your kidneys to produce more waste. Later on, you can blame the baby who will be sitting on your bladder, like a boulder on a water balloon. But you're not fazed. No, you're just looking for ways to entertain yourself during your impossibly frequent trips to the john. After that little incident with the Liquid Paper correction pen in the bathroom stall, graffiti is out of the question. (Props to you, though--that donkey really did look like your boss.) Try imaginary tic-tac-toe. You can be X's; the baby can be O's.
7. Someone Drew a Line Down the Center of Your Belly
No, you were not the victim of a slumber party prank. That's the linea nigra. Think of it as a temporary (yes, it will go away) pregnancy tattoo. No one knows the function of this hormone-fueled change in the pigment of your skin. But while it's there, don't think "ugly skin problem," think Pinterest! With a Sharpie and some stick-on jewels, you could turn that line into a trend-sparking masterpiece.
8. You're Crying Over a Modern Family Episode (Again)
Kindly turn this screen toward the people who love you. They should read this. Hello, people who love this pregnant woman. Yes, she is crying over an episode of Modern Family (again), because the scene in which Phil Dunphy trips on the broken stair (again), reminds her of humanity's vulnerability and the existential void that threatens to swallow us every single second of the day (again). Don't freak out. Your beloved is neither dangerous nor crazy. She's growing a whole human being in her belly, and mood swings are just part of the deal. Now, please hand this screen back to the woman you love and tell her, "I understand; everything is going to be okay" unless she has switched from a weepy-eyed Dr. Jekyll into an evil Mr. Hyde. In that case, don't hand her anything she could use as a weapon.
9. New House Rule: Everyone Eats in the Garage (Except You)
Your family proudly carries the take-out bags into the house, singing, "Surprise! Your favorite!" You cover your mouth with one hand and point to the garage door with the other: "Out. There." Sure, fish tacos were your favorite. Yesterday. But today you can't stand to taste, smell, see or even think about them. Yet another "weird normal" for the pregnant body, food aversions pop up when you least expect them. They transform grocery stores into sensory minefields. (Has the meat department always smelled like bloody carcasses?) They turn your favorite restaurant into a toxic waste dump. (How did you ever enjoy that crap?) In a Twilight Zone-esque twist, your hometown becomes a house of food horrors, with images of greasy hamburgers and dripping burritos haunting you from their billboards, busses, and sidewalk benches. Hang in there, Mama. Eventually, the demons will be exorcised from your menu, and then you can invite your family in from the garage.
10. You've Already Forgotten the First Nine Items on This List
Scientists have yet to prove that momnesia (also known as baby brain) exists. But when you drive away from the gas station with the nozzle still inserted in your tank, yanking the hose off the pump and trailing it down the freeway--for the third time--you might begin to wonder if momnesia is real. Don't worry, your brain is not being devoured by flesh-eating bacteria. It's just pregnancy. You'll be smart again. Probably in time for your kid's third birthday party.