Despite the fact that pregnancy has been around since the beginning of time, there’s still so much about pregnancy that we simply don’t know. For that reason, I think pregnancy is the best-kept secret. And while I suspected this going into the experience, I somehow still underestimated just how secretive some pregnancy matters are. It’s almost as if each line of women is sworn to secrecy so that heirs can continuously be produced in the name of capitalism. Whether your position is at the top of the food chain or the bottom (school to prison pipeline), more bodies are always of use and thus American tradition seems to be secrecy.
No one warned me about the endless amounts of mucus and ginormous boogers in my nose (rhinitis) or the fact that for some of us, breathing would stop coming easily in the first trimester. And though this isn’t the case for everyone, you’re made aware that every system in your body is being altered to create lifelines for this growing seed inside of you. And my mom was (or had the nerve to be?) shocked when I told her I purchased a bidet attachment for my toilet because I can no longer comfortably reach my ass to properly wipe it. I need assistance! So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a TikTok comment section with so many other women professing what a pain it’s become to try to reach their ass, much less your vagina when you’re well into your pregnancy journey.
Many people feed you that bullshit line recommending that you get your sleep in now because when baby gets here it’s a wrap, but they fail to mention it’s nearly as hard to sleep throughout your pregnancy. Depending on your symptoms, insomnia can begin as early as the first trimester. For me, it began then because my breasts were so excruciatingly tender that when I would even step forward with too much "pep" in my step, I’d feel nothing but pain. Now imagine trying to sleep like that? No matter what angle you approach it from, it’s not going to work.
In my second trimester, I got hit with sciatic pain thus making it even more difficult to sleep (thank God for magnesium-infused lotion). And then, of course, there's the third trimester – the one that I have received disclaimers regarding – the one where I supposedly will be simply too large and uncomfortable to get adequate rest going into the delivery of my little seed.
While this is all comical, it does make me wonder what more is to come. What else have centuries of women remained mum about in regard to pregnancy, especially childbirth?
Yes, a “think piece” theory is coming! And here it goes: Much like the men seeking to create detrimental laws regarding abortion, the point of it all is to control and reduce the bodily autonomy of women, minimizing their ability to make informed choices (the best decision for them with the information on hand). Up until recent years, many didn't talk about childbirth and pregnancy. Things are changing, but still, I wonder how and why centuries of women remained quiet. As far as I’m concerned the answer is simple: Patriarchy. Isn't it always?
When women, or really people as a whole, don’t know what’s going on with their bodies, they maintain very little autonomy and the ability to make choices for said bodies. And it’s really that simple!
With just 100 days left until I deliver, the one thing my mother has said to me that has been consistently true is that pregnancy impacts every part of your body.
And the worst part of it is, because pregnancy is pertaining to the “lesser sex,” science hasn’t really made it their business to find a way to update the research at hand. I’ll also admit that pregnancy is a difficult subject to research because no one wants to be experimented on while another life is in their hands. I say this to say, in addition to all systems being impacted you’re unnecessarily put out by dated research that states that you can’t eat deli lunch meat because of listeria. Meanwhile, lettuce is recalled daily or damn close to it, and we’re still able to eat that!
Though it may seem small, for a human body that is already limited due to the ever-affected systems that cause food aversions, nausea, and heartburn, it can actually leave you feeling really defeated and hungry. While some things such as no raw meat absolutely make sense, some simply do not! And maybe I’m paranoid and wrong about all of what I’ve said thus far. However, what we have observed in the following seems to hold true:
- Research typically neglects women, especially those of color.
- Capitalism requires people to reproduce in order for things to maintain.
- There was just a memo put out stating how the reversal of Roe v. Wade was necessary to maintain the “domestic supply of infants.”
- When considering gender alone, women are seen as second-rate citizens.
With the information we have at hand, it’s difficult for me to anticipate that motherhood has remained the biggest kept secret for any other reason than selfish gain.
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