Before my first pregnancy, I was one of those wives who at least tried to keep a bit of mystery in my marriage. I kept every single bodily function private. After I came out of the bathroom, I would forbid my husband to enter because my worst nightmare was him catching even the slightest hint of an odor which would provide him with proof that I was a human being who used a toilet.
I would even do idiotic shit like sneak out of bed to brush my teeth while he was still sleeping so when he rolled over to say good morning, my breath was minty fresh. I wore cute pajamas, and kept my legs shaved, and just generally attempted to prove to my husband that the woman he would be married to for the rest of his god-given life was more Disney princess than swamp creature.
And then he knocked me up. Oh god. That was when it all started to change.
Pregnancy brings out a whole new side of your marriage. Allow me to explain.
The gas. My god, the gas.
I don’t know biologically why pregnancy brings so much freaking gas, but for a lot of us, it just does. When you’ve got a tiny person inside you rearranging your guts, squirming around like they own the place, and just generally causing chaos in your abdomen, farts are just part of the package. So are big giant belches. And you’re freaking exhausted. Running to the bathroom every time some gas threatens to escape from one end or the other is completely impractical. You can pass all the gas in front of your spouse or you can be miserable. Don’t choose miserable.
Grab yourself a copy of Everyone Poops because pregnancy can cause some otherworldly poop issues.
From constipation that will leave you begging the universe to let you poop, to diarrhea that will leave you begging the universe to let stop pooping, pregnancy is a literal shit show. Even if your partner never sees it, there’s a real good chance they’re going to hear about it. Even if you’ve been very private about your poop habits before, pregnancy has a way of stripping that privacy away quick. (Probably to prepare you for how often your child is going to barge into the bathroom while you’re on the commode and ask you to open a juice box, dress a doll, solve a puzzle, or mediate a sibling squabble.)
This is probably a good time to introduce you to the distinct possibility of giant, intolerable hemorrhoids, too. My husband had to assess my bleeding rectum to determine whether I needed to go to the ER during my last pregnancy, so I guess you could say we are keeping it really romantic up in here.
It is not unlikely that you’ll piss your pants.
Make peace with this. You might get lucky, or you might be like the rest of us who dribble a bit when there’s an entire human child sitting on our bladder and then the universe decides it’s time to make us sneeze. Or cough. Or laugh too hard. If you’re lucky, this will be infrequent and will make a funny story later.
If you’re unlucky, you might just full-on pee your pants in the car line while picking up your first grader because you’re trapped and they aren’t allowing visitors in the school unless they check in through the front office but you have a sleeping toddler in the car and you can’t abandon him to run around the building and there’s still fifteen minutes until the bell rings and you have no other choice.
Ya know. Or something.
Let’s talk about labor, delivery, and recovery.
If you make it all the way through pregnancy without exposing your partner to any bodily function, congrats. Don’t get too excited. That kid still has to come out, and that comes with many, many opportunities for your partner to encounter the things that come out of a pregnant human.
You’re full of amniotic fluid which has to come out sometime. If your water breaks on its own, you might see a delicate trickle, or you might just flood the aisle at Best Buy and waddle to the car in tears while the Geek Squad stares in horror and attempts to find a mop and bucket.
When you’re pushing that kid out, your ass isn’t going to be good-mannered. If there’s a fart to be farted, you’re going to fart it. If there’s poop near the chute … well, that poop is coming out. Maybe it will be a nice, composed turd that a nurse can swoop in and dispose of without much fanfare, or maybe you will go into labor while eating fajitas and the poop situation will be much less polite. Either way, shit might happen in front of your lover, and you’re going to need to roll with it.
You might be thinking, “Joke’s on you! I’m having a c-section!”
Au contraire, birthing person. Au. Con. Traire. As the proud recipient of not one, not two, but THREE Cesarean sections, I am here to tell you that you are not in any way exempt from gross body stuff. Let’s just say that my mesh hospital underwear betrayed me and acted as a damn slingshot for a blood clot approximately the size of a hamster.
I’ll never forget the sound of that thing plopping on the bathroom floor, the look on my husband’s face when he saw it, or our mutual realization that he was going to have to pick it up as bending over to the floor was not on my to-do list mere hours after massive surgery.
And that’s not even the grossest thing that happened. So … just settle in for some surprises.
Pregnancy and delivery — regardless of the method — have a way of taking your marriage to a whole new level of closeness.
It’s not always a good time when you’re going through it, but I promise it will make for some really funny stories later.