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39 Weeks Pregnant & My Dignity Is Gone

As we stand in the checkout line of the grocery store, my 2-year-old daughter reaches up and smacks my chest. “Mom,” she yells, “what does things?” She hits my boobs again. I grab her hands and whisper in her ear that hitting isn’t nice.

“But mom, how dey work?”

The old couple behind me is laughing audibly now, and the 18-year-old male cashier is blushing. I don’t know what’s worse, my daughter calling out my large pregnancy boobs or the previous week when I actually farted as I bent down to pick a Goldfish off the floor of the restaurant where I was having lunch with a friend.

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I am 39 weeks pregnant, and I’ve long since given up on maintaining my dignity.

I fart. I sweat. I chafe. I have to squat to bend over. My feet look like they should be attached to a Hobbit. I sneeze-pee and laugh-pee. I drool in my sleep and have blemishes on my chin, which my toddler also draws attention to, shouting, “Mom, you got wots of buggy bites on you face!”

Thanks, darling.

With my first pregnancy, I was so ready for this time to end. I couldn’t wait to have the baby out of me so I could regain my dignity and humanity. Little did I know, that this period now in the end of pregnancy is just a small piece of the inhumanity that awaits on the other side of pregnancy.

Now, before I leave the house, I grab a mirror and check under my belly for food stains that may have made their way onto my shirt.

You thought uncontrollable farting was bad—wait until you meet bloody nipples, boobs that leak in public, eviscerating and painful bowel movements; forget the sneeze-pee—after I gave birth I peed myself for no good reason. There was also the time I forgot to shut the blinds and the mailman saw me pumping. He never met my eyes again. The only good thing about the indignities of the postpartum life is that you’re too tired to care. Now, before I leave the house, I grab a mirror and check under my belly for food stains that may have made their way onto my shirt. But I know that after I have a baby, I probably won’t care if I have a little pee on my pants or spit-up on my shirt—to Target we go!

The first six weeks of a child’s life reduce you to your elemental self. Stripped of sleep, stripped of privacy and stripped of your ability to rely on your bodily functions for anything, you become a crazy. Four weeks after my daughter was born, I actually sobbed at a restaurant because the waitress cleared my plate, taking with her the buttery roll that I was dying to eat. I actually believed that my breast pump was saying, “Bob Hope, Boooob Hoooope,” to me in the middle of the night, and I told people I thought this, in public. I even gave a speech at six weeks postpartum and forgot to comb the back of my hair.

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Somehow, I survived. I got my dignity back, my baby learned to sleep and now I’m on the cusp of losing it all again. This time, though, I’m a little better prepared. I know that the window of time where I will inadvertently flash a stranger my leaky breasts is short. One day, I will remember that I should change my shirt if it reeks of regurgitated milk and that crying in public over bread is socially awkward. But, for now, I’m embracing my quickly deteriorating state, if only because it means that I will get to meet this little one who is currently head-butting my vagina.

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