There are plenty of non-material things that have made my pregnancy bearable and worth it: the love and support from my husband and family, our relatively stable financial situation, the wisdom and humor of the mothers I’ve reached out to over the past seven months. However, dealing with the pregnancy hasn’t been all hugs and good vibrations. Sometimes I just need physical and material fixes for my problems. In no particular order, I’d like to present the things that have made this bearable:
The Snoogle: a giant curved body pillow that some (like myself) might say resembles a giant floppy genital. The Snoogle helps your body stay on one side when you sleep, increasing blood flow to the placenta. In addition, it curves over your shoulder (offering neck support) and between your legs (offering hip support) up to rest under your growing belly (I cannot stress how much this helps at night). It looks ridiculous, it takes up half the bed, it’s been frustrating, and it’s provided the support I needed when I finally had to bid farewell to stomach sleeping.
A prescription for prenatal massage: if you are pregnant and if you have insurance that will cover it, I highly suggest telling your medical provider about all your aches and pains and then asking for a prescription for massage. It costs them nothing, and it’s a wonderful feeling to give your body up to the caring and educated touch of someone else for an hour each week.
My dog: she requires at least three walks a day, guaranteeing that I will leave my house at least twice a day. Her walks can be as short as just around the block if I’m having a bad day, or a whopping ten blocks (which she thinks is cruel). Getting outside with her means I get fresh air, some exercise, natural light, and the possibility of some sort of human interaction that doesn’t involve my family or my husband. Earlier in the pregnancy, I could drive her to the dog park for her weekly fifteen minutes of doggy awkwardness, but now I can’t lift her without peeing my pants, so we’re back to long walks in the neighborhood.
A friend who’s willing to touch my feet: since about five months, I’ve had a hard time being comfortable enough to paint my toes. I can’t buy pretty clothes, but I can certainly buy pretty nail polish to have pretty feet. My best friend is not only willing to touch my feet, but she’s also willing to paint my nails to my anal-retentive specifications. While it’s wonderful to go to a salon and pay to get a pedicure, it’s more rewarding when a friend does it. (On a related note, OPI’s Black Shatter has also contributed greatly to my mental well-being as I have continually tried to layer it over other polishes to my vast enjoyment.)
A bathtub and a hot water heater: a bath has always been my personal relaxation technique. Before I was pregnant, I’d take a stack of books and a bottle of wine in with me, and now that I’m pregnant, I take a stack of books and a bottle of water in with me. The water is the one place I don’t feel awkward and where I’m warm all over.
A dependable Internet connection: when I’ve felt too sick to move, when I’ve been too depressed to leave the apartment, I’ve been able to reach out to people and support networks online. Hearing from other moms who’ve gone through pregnancy and survived, venting about what’s affecting me, forcing myself to examine my thoughts and life for this column, all of these have been possible due to a reliable Internet connection. So thanks to Comcast, you soul-sucking corporate fartbags. You’ve done your part, however unwilling, to make my life that much easier during this ordeal.