As new mom Mila Kunis said of her pregnancy cravings on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: “I eat sauerkraut all day long. This is the worst craving to have because sauerkraut smells and so every time you open up a jar, it just reeks in the whole kitchen…It’s not like ice cream where everything smells lovely.” As you navigate the hormonal roller coaster and try to figure out how to deal with a body that you no longer recognize as your own, you’ve got to keep a sense of humor about the whole experience or you’ll be miserable. You’re 18 weeks pregnant, you’re no longer in the driver’s seat, so expect the unexpected and learn to laugh at the inevitable mishaps. Next time you’re about to burst into tears because you’re only 18 weeks along and yet another passerby said, “Boy, he’s ready to come out tomorrow!” check out these 10 ways to keep smiling all the way to the delivery room.
1. Embrace Change
If you tend to fall more into the control freak category than the free spirit one, it’s time to let go a little. For the next nine months (at least!), every day is going to be a new adventure in bodily functions and mood swings. One of the best tips about pregnancy is to not try to fight it, just take a deep breath and flow with it. For every wave of nausea and pair of pants that won’t button, there’s an amazing ultrasound image or series of kicks to remind you of the miracle inside.
2. Learn Some Fart Jokes
By the time you’re 18 weeks pregnant, you know all too well that gassiness is going to be a fact of life for the next few months. The pregnancy hormone progesterone, causes your muscles to relax which slows digestion allowing more time for gas buildup. And those relaxed muscles make it a lot harder to control said gas. Eating smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding gas-inducing foods will help, but you’re probably going to have to learn to live with farting and belching in public. Just remember flatulence is funny. Fart humor has been around for centuries so embrace the slapstick and learn a few jokes to (ahem) clear the air.
3. Awkward Pregnancy Photos
Pregnancy is awkward in every sense of the word. On those days when you feel like you just may be the least coordinated, least glowing pregnant woman in the world it helps to remember there’s always someone more awkward than you. Spend a few minutes browsing through the pregnancy section of Awkward Family Photos and you’ll feel like a swan Madonna. Although, you may need a wardrobe change from laughing so hard…awkward.
4. Get Ready for Pregnancy Brain or “Momnesia”
You may have heard of pregnancy brain, also known as “momnesia” caused by pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep. It’s real, very common and it means you’ll probably find yourself losing things, forgetting your keys, your phone number and generally feeling more spacy than usual. Know it’s coming, don’t be too hard on yourself and come up with a few back-up plans for things like house and car keys. Recent research shows that pregnancy brain hormones also promote baby bonding. What to Expect reports: “Our findings give us a significant insight into the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon that makes a woman more sensitive during the child bearing process,” said Dr Victoria Bourne, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway. “The results suggest that during pregnancy, there are changes in how the brain processes facial emotions that ensure that mothers are neurologically prepared to bond with their babies at birth.”
5. Incontinence is Okay
You can blame those relaxed muscles and crowded organs for the inevitable leaks during pregnancy. Sneezing, laughing, standing, sitting…pretty much anything can cause an unexpected accident. Make frequent bathroom visits and carry plenty of panty liners and a pair of spare undies so you can continue on with your day and no one will be the wiser. Kegel exercises can help minimize incontinence and make delivery easier.
6. Comedy Tees
Include a few funny pregnancy tees in your maternity wardrobe to make you giggle and ward off overly inquisitive strangers. Cafe Press has a great selection.
7. It’s All Right to Cry
One of the drawbacks of pregnancy is that you cry at the drop of a hat. However, one of the perks is that you can cry with abandon and no one will hold it against you, you’re pregnant after all! Cry it out and remember what a funny story you’ll have to tell later.
8. Wardrobe Malfunctions
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are a minefield of potential wardrobe malfunctions. You’ve got more of everything in places you never knew it could be. Focus on the slapstick hilarity of splitting your pants and remember…the miracle of life!
9. Take Birthday Bets
Make it fun for coworkers and friends by starting a baby pool at the office or online. Get ideas for setting up your betting matrix on BabyPool.com.
10. Play the Pregnancy Card
By 18 weeks pregnant, you’re bump is showing so work it mami. Cut to the front of lines, guilt people into giving you a seat, take advantage of the perks and pampering whenever possible.