Now that you’re pregnant, it’s time to straighten up and fly right. Throw out your junk food, pack away those cigarettes, seal up the uranium mine in your basement, and purchase some sensible, crotched underpants.
WHAT TO AVOID
Lead-based paint. If you own a home or enter any structure built before 1978, you’re exposing your precious fetus to the deadly lead-filled paint that was slathered on the walls and ceilings in more ignorant times. If you think there’s even the slightest chance of lead being anywhere near you, it’s your responsibility to get rid of it. Purchase a power sander and get to work! Just release all that lead into the air and let it drift back down and settle into the earth where it belongs. There’s no need to interrupt this beautiful, natural process.
Cats. Cats are a known spreader of trichinosis, due to their love of raw pork. Trichinosis is a fatal disease that will turn you fat and hairless before it kill you. And cats aren’t just dangerous for their disease-carrying: they have sharp claws and teeth; they can navigate in the dark using a complex navigation head-system they call “whiskers,” thus giving them an advantage during blackouts; and the only flesh they enjoy feasting on more than pig is newborn babies. People who are foolish enough to harbor cats do so at their own peril! Now that you’ve got a baby on board, however, you’re petting for two.
Eye contact with cats. Cats will suck the burgeoning life right out of you, using their infamous feline mind-powers. Avert your eyes, and move along.
Recreational X-rays. There’s no doubt that seeing what your insides are up to is good fun, but in the end, your poor fetal intruder is going to resent being saturated with massive doses of radiation. So as much as you think you might have a hairline crack in your pelvis that your Facebook friends just have to see, you might want to exert a little something called “self-control.”
Endless night-trolling for anonymous sex down by the docks. Let’s face it. There’s nothing like the illicit thrill of being taken from behind by a mustachioed stranger, but the time for that frivolity has passed. You’re not getting any younger, and besides, all that cruising is what got you into this mess in the first place. Really, haven’t you noticed that you only get action if you call yourself Steve and wear that Jeff Bridges mask you bought for Halloween? It’s time to bid adieu to that brand of dangerous fun. It’s gone for the next nine months—along with your waistline!
In fact, while you’re at it, also avoid:
Any sex at all. Remember: your baby is watching you! And that’s just not right.
Anyone who seems even a little catlike. Cats are known for their ability to shapeshift. Be on your guard!
A typical upper Midwestern-style birthing hut.
While avoiding the above, you should begin:
Weighing yourself. It’s vital to weigh yourself in the first week of pregnancy, so that you know the specific tonnage you’re larding on and how bad you should feel as a result. A baseline weight will help your self-esteem plummet quickly and easily as the months fall away. (For more information on weight loss and pregnancy, see our companion book, Let’s Panic About Lady Shapes!—with ordering info for our patented line of Sta-Shapl-EE salts, teas, foams, and goops.)
Learning to vomit quietly and delicately. There’s nothing less attractive than the echoing sounds of regurgitation accompanied by loud moans and pleas for heavenly release. A slight pallor, a few beads of moisture on the brow, a slight rosiness in the lip from recently expelled Hawaiian Punch—these effectively communicate a palatable level of misery, while reassuring the pregnant woman’s friends and acquaintances that she will not unleash her lunch on anyone’s shoes.
Monitoring your home for traces of radon and carbon monoxide. If you find any of these toxins, immediately move to the country and build a passive-solar bamboo, straw-bale, or used-tire-and-beer-can house from the ground up with your own two blistered hands. If you don’t, your radioactive superbaby will be able to light fires by snapping his fingers.
Building your birthing hut. What’s more fun than constructing a leaky structure of twigs, laundry lint, and stray bits of roofing material? Not much! Especially when you’re getting ready to crawl inside with musty blankets and give birth in this sacred, holy nest of your own devising. Don’t forget to bless your hut when it’s done. Make up some crazy dance! Burn a wig! Throw oranges at the neighbor’s dog! When you grow up in a society without meaningful birth traditions and are thus compelled to create your own, the sky’s the limit!
It Really Happened! Lucille’s Story
“I still can’t figure out how it happened. My husband Bernanke and I have separate beds—actually, they’re in different homes—but once in a while I let him borrow my underpants (I’m not sure why, I don’t ask) … so maybe? Ew. Anyway, when I told him the news, Bernanke tried to celebrate by thrusting his hands down my skirt, but I told him, No thank you, sir! Our baby didn’t need to put up with another outburst of his filthy nonsense. He said, “How about a kiss, then?” and I threw up into the sink. I immediately recorded this moment into our baby book, so I could add it to my list of Bernanke’s cunning efforts to embrace me, while he sobbed into his tie. He’s so cute when he’s emotional and across the room from me!”
—Lucille Liebestraum, age 46, West Egg, New York
It Really Happened! Delilah’s Discovery
“It was about eight in the morning and I’d just put a pan of gluten-free zucchini muffins in the oven. Lacy, 11, Jebediah, 8, and Stump, 6, had just harvested everything out of the garden as part of their home-schooling project on medieval farming methods when I turned around and puked all over Lacy’s model of the solar system she’d made out of dried gourds. Boy, was she steamed! I told her that vomit was one of Nature’s ways of telling me I was with child, so she went and got the mop and a bucket, and then she said the cutest thing: ‘I hope you have another girl because I am sick of cleaning up everybody’s shit all by myself while the boys get to work on their Civil War dioramas!’ That Lacy! Whenever I assign housework along traditional, gendered patterns she gets as mean as Granny’s chihuahua.”
—Delilah Lu, age 33, Longmont, Colorado
Sure, satyrs are fun, but you can never get them to commit.
Taking herbs. We hear that the Chinese developed a working medical system 5,000 years before us, so maybe we can learn a little something from these ancient, wise people. Here’s what we found out from the little Asian fellow who runs the corner grocery on Alice’s block.
Yo-Yo Ma is indicated in cases of night sweats and plagues of vampires.
Gong Li is effective for heartburn and bosses who look annoyed when you leave early for prenatal yoga.
Chow Yun-fat is excellent for repelling gangsters.
Amy Tan makes you invisible.
Or, if you insist on Western remedies because you’re (no judgments) a racist:
Earl Grey tea prevents fox-hunting accidents.
American ginger root improves digestion; enables mnemonic retrieval of the names of dead sitcom actors.
Grapeseed extract is a useful source of antioxidants. Also attracts satyrs.