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Pregnancy is a time of magic, wonder, excitement and of
course the commodifying of your body through ridiculously kitschy terms and
phrases that society has invented to gloss over the realities of impending
parenthood. From "baby bump" to "about to pop" here are 10 pregnancy phrases
that should be banned from our vocabulary. Today.
1. Baby Bump
This cutesy term has been used to
describe anything from Jennifer Anniston's
post-eating-something-more-substantial-than-rice stomach to Jessica Simpson's
move-over-pregnant-lady-on-the-loose belly. And then there are its insufferable spinoffs,
like "bump watch" and "bump alert," which are just Hollywood's way of commodifying
pregnancy. Also, most people don't have a bump; they have a child growing in
their womb. Pregnancy isn't an accessory—it's growing a human.
Why can't we call it a vacation? Why is that so hard? Also,
the term "babymoon" doesn't make any sense. "Honeymoon" was called so to
describe the golden days of marriage. Maybe I'm not doing it right, but there
are no real "golden days" of pregnancy. If you aren't puking, then you are in
the shove-jellybeans-in-your-face phase, followed by the I'm-too-fat-to-move
stage. Then, the baby comes and everyone cries from exhaustion for six weeks.
Let's not get cutesy here. Let's just call it a vacation.
My husband bought me a necklace before our first child that
my sister-in-law immediately called a "push present." No, it was a present.
Push present implies that a woman is owed something by her husband because she
gave birth. While birth is a worthy occasion to celebrate, no one is entitled to
a present. And if they are, then when do partners get the
4. Natural Childbirth
This term implies that in order to give birth the most "natural" way you must follow a certain procedure, which just sets up false
expectations. Just give birth how you want to. There is nothing more natural
about a pool in your living room and herbal candles than an epidural and a
sexy, revealing hospital gown. If you really want to go "natural," wouldn't you
just lay on a bed of fig leaves and scream for Adam to come help you deliver
your son Cain? In the end, babies come out. Let's not posture about naturalism.
There is nothing "morning" about morning sickness.
These perky nicknames for the nine-month rush to get into
the evil sorority of motherhood don't seem to do the journey justice. I'm not
lobbying for everyone to term pregnancy the "magical miracle of life time." But is it so much harder to say "pregnant"? Is it?
6. About to Pop
There is nothing about childbirth that is akin to "popping." Nothing. And when people say you "look like you are about to pop," what they
really mean is that you have swollen up so big that there are a bunch of Oompa
Loompas behind you ready to roll you away, and Willy Wonka is pissed you ate his
bubble gum. If a woman looks like this, she knows. No need to tell her. Also,
it becomes really awkward when she tells you she has three months left.
7. Morning Sickness
I blame the medical establishment for this word. There is
nothing "morning" about morning sickness. Basically it's persistent pukiness
that follows you around while you gestate a child, and if you are lucky the nausea will end in the second trimester.
If not, you will find yourself puking on your neighbor's lawn when you are 30
8. Post-Baby Body
Thanks to our image-obsessed culture, pregnant women are
worrying about their "post-baby" bodies long before the baby even comes out.
Let's stop marking female bodies as b.c. (before child) and a.c. (after child).
Let's just call them bodies and appreciate them for all their hard work, not
impose ridiculous standards of bikini-readiness before your baby can roll over.
But I've always been a dreamer.
I never heard this term until my pregnancy iPhone app suggested
I draw one up. So, at my next appointment, I asked my doctor if I needed a
birth plan. "Yes, the plan is to get the baby out," she said. And that's what
happened. I'm happy with the result. If
you have things you want to happen during birth, great. But do we really need
to go all Marshall Plan on our uterus?
10. Baby Shower
This term isn't quite offensive, it just needs a retooling.
The term "baby shower" evokes an excruciating time of awkward games and
horrible mints and women telling you to just "enjoy it" for three hours. It's
also become a pregnancy entitlement, replete with demands, misunderstandings
and made-up etiquette. No one owes you a shower because you got pregnant. Also,
why are guys left out? How about we just have a party for the new parents? And
we can call it something creative like "baby party."