Pregnancy Journal - Something Unexpected, Journal Entry #2

Four months along and things are looking good

Sometimes, I feel like a bad disabled pregnant woman. I haven’t studied up on anything. I haven’t gone to the library to do any research. I haven’t spent hours on the Internet looking up chat rooms and blogs created for pregnant disabled women. Does that mean I’ll be a bad mother? I’ve never felt my disability was something I needed to “learn” about. It was just sort of there, like my black hair or my stubby fingers. But now things are different. If reading about having a disability and the effects it has on pregnancy will be helpful to my baby, then I should do it, right? For me, that would be hard. Unless it’s a glossy magazine with Britney Spears or Tom Cruise on the cover, I won’t read it. (I haven’t read a damn thing since graduate school.)

The little information that has come my way does encourage some research, so I did pick up two books. The first one, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is probably on the book shelves of every woman who has had a baby. I think it’s helpful, but it does tend to repeat the same information chapter by chapter since most women experience many of the same things throughout pregnancy.

The other is called “The Disabled Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy and Birth”. The author interviewed many women with a variety of disabilities who have experienced pregnancy. It’s interesting and really pushes the idea that all women, including those with disabilities, have the inherent right to have children if they choose to. However, like the other book, it’s also repetitive.

The thing I realized about both these books, even though one does not specifically target woman with disabilities and the other does, is that pregnancy for any women is just that—pregnancy. Both books talk about the same kinds of health issues, the same questions are asked and often, the same answers are given. It sort of made me realize that just because I’m disabled doesn’t mean my pregnancy is going to be that much different from another other woman’s. Sure, many disabled women may have unique situations, but then so do a lot of able-bodied pregnant women. I know several women without disabilities who had horrible experiences during pregnancy. Many women in the Disabled Women’s Guide talked about how surprised they were that their pregnancies went so well. So, I’m not going to worry about it too much. And I feel okay about not spending hours with my nose in a book.

For now, I’ll rely on my OB/GYN (that’s obstetrician/gynecologist for all of the male readers) and my instincts. Eat healthy, get enough sleep, drink lots of water—you can’t go wrong with that, can you? I’m on my fourth month now, and things are going well. I had my third prenatal visit just the other day and things look good. Baby has a healthy heartbeat at 140 per minute. I’m very lucky because I haven’t gotten sick at all. Despite some headaches and feeling tired, I can’t complain.

Weight gain and pain have been my biggest issues. The other day I got a new cushion for my chair and it really has helped with butt pain. As I get heavier and heavier, the cushion will need to get thicker and thicker! Let’s hope my ass will even still fit in the chair before the baby comes. Since I can’t really be weighed, I don’t know how much weight I’ve gained. I think that’s a blessing in disguise—why would I want to know? I’m fat and I don’t need a scale to tell me that. The weight gain and all the other changes with my body has been the biggest adjustment for me. I don’t feel very attractive at all right now.

You know all that talk about how a pregnant woman is beautiful and has a certain “glow”? That’s a bunch of crap. I don’t glow. I have gas. I have constipation. My baby squeezes my bladder like a little toy and I pee every 20 minutes. Let’s face it; we can’t all look hot while pregnant like Angelina Jolie.

Next time you read about me and baby, we will know if it’s a boy or girl. I can’t wait! I’ll make sure my partner has the camera ready so we can get a picture of the ultrasound to share with everyone. If you want to drop me a line and give me advice (everyone else has) or share your experience about being a disabled woman who has had kids, I would love to hear from you. Send a letter to the editor or drop me a line at dagobah@hotmail.com.