According to my pregnancy guidebook, excessive salivation is one of the side-effects of being with child. Others include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen extremities and joints
- Varicose veins
- Gas and bloating
- Acne and skin discolouration
- Nasal congestion and nosebleeds
- Sleeping difficulties
- Having a human being inside of you
Doesn’t that sound like a barrel of laughs? Well, apparently it is.
On announcing my pregnancy, I was prepared for the onslaught of unsolicited advice on the subject. Yes, I was still a little shocked at the volume of it when it came, but I was prepared. I was not prepared, however, for the number of women who wanted to repeatedly tell me – again, unasked – how much they “loved being pregnant” and how great it made them feel in both body and mind. Some of these women have not been pregnant for at least thirty years, so it must have made quite an impression for them to remember it so fondly.
You know, I am really, genuinely very happy for these women. Good on them. But I actually think for many of them, there might be a little bit of convenient memory loss about their experiences. That, or giving birth and raising children was so awful that pregnancy is the last moment of happiness and physical wellbeing they can remember. I think it’s a similar phenomenon to parents telling their children that school was the “happiest days of their lives”. Who needs to hear that, even if it’s true?
I feel like I can speak to this issue because I am almost two-thirds into a dream pregnancy. I have been on holiday for two months (!), and before that I got to work part-time, and from home. I have had no significant medical problems at all, the baby seems healthy, and I have a husband who is treating me like a goddamn princess. I am extremely lucky, and grateful.
Would I say I’m “loving” being pregnant? Hell, no! I don’t mean any disrespect to the human being who is jabbing and wriggling away inside of me but I hardly feel like myself at all, let alone myself at my best. I’m loving the anticipation of our new life and family, and I’m loving getting to know my little internal friend. I’m loving that my body is doing all the things it’s supposed to, including making little fingernails. Even the downsides, I wouldn’t change them, because they’re all happening for a reason. But I’ll be happy when it’s over. When, despite the many further hardships of parenting, I’ll get to enjoy my child’s company in the exterior world. And also have a glass of wine. And not have chest pimples. Even then, when I’m spouting off about how I can’t imagine life without my darling child, I hope I’ll be able to recall that not being pregnant, and not having children, is also pretty great.
The other day we went to the hospital to get an ultrasound and a check-up. The doctor stuck her gynaecological duck up my cloaca and then held it aloft proudly displaying to me an enormous, revolting schmear of discharge, leaving me recoiling in horror at what possible font of disgustingness was located within my depths. “Normal for pregnancy”, she declared, as she whipped off her latex gloves. I’m glad that’s normal, and really, I’m not complaining, but I won’t be filing this one away for future rose-coloured trips down memory lane.