An old wives’ tale decrees that if a woman is pregnant with a baby girl, you can tell by the way the girl has “stolen” her mom’s beauty. Meaning: Mama-to-be looks like death and it’s all that greedy girl’s fault. Yes! Cat fights apparently begin in the womb. In fact, any credible OB/GYN will tell you that the umbilical cord is not only used to nourish the baby girl, but also to drain the moisture from the mom’s skin and hair and deliver several inches to her thighs. And those shooting pains attributed to ligaments stretching? Yeah, those are actually the little chica spitefully clawing stretch marks on her mom’s stomach. Also, if Mom smells like garlic, develops a sudden, inexplicable appreciation for JC Chasez’s solo album and craves Drano, she is obviously having a girl. Or something like that.
Naturally, I took all of this as gospel UNTIL… I became pregnant with my first child. Regardless of gender, I fully expected that Pregnant Candy would be miserable and weigh slightly more than a Mack Truck. Because, as my mom explained it to me, that’s how the women in our family roll. Only…I wasn’t. A miserable tractor trailer, that is. On the contrary, I became one of those annoying glow-y pregnant chicks with tons of energy and a surprisingly healthy 22-lb. weight gain residing mostly in my stomach. I never craved an ounce of Drano, instead favoring the sweeter taste of motor oil.
And guess what, old wives? I was carrying a — GASP! — girl.
Fast forward two years, and here I sit pregnant with a boy. A party of zits has taken up residence on my left cheek and refuses to leave no matter how much I plead with them to find housing elsewhere. And why should they? I keep supporting them with sleepless nights and an endless supply of chocolate. My hair, thick and shiny during my first pregnancy, has sprouted a baffling crop of wisps in the front that neither gel nor a staple gun can tame. Although my weight gain has been on track so far, thanks to a nightmarish first trimester wherein I lost seven pounds and most everything I tried to swallow, visions of Mack Trucks keep floating in my zit-covered head because now that I’m entering my fifth month…? I CANNOT STOP EATING.
“What is wrong with me?” I asked Mr. Candy, chip crumbs spraying sexily from my mouth.
“I’m sure you’re just hungry because you’re always carrying Skylar and chasing her around,” he reassured me, calmly wiping the soggy chip crumbs off his face.
But we were both thinking it: Mack Truck headed our way!
Whenever somebody asks me how I’m feeling, an occurrence that happens often when you’re pregnant, I simply smile, “Better than I did the first three months!” Which is true. And much more pleasant than screaming, “TIRED AND HUNGRY! NOW HAND OVER YOUR BAG OF CHEETOS BEFORE I SIC MY ORNERY PARTY OF ZITS ON YOU!”
So this old wife has a different tale: Pregnant with a girl? You’ll glow! You’ll sparkle brighter than the sum of all the sequins in Johnny Weir’s closet! Pregnant with a boy? Might as well grab a vat of chocolate, then dig a Mack Truck-sized hole in the ground and hibernate there for nine months. Because Baby Boy is going to do everything in his pint-sized power to make sure your face and body are best not viewed in the light of day.
Either that, or it’s just tougher being pregnant when you also have a toddler to look after. Yeah, either/or.
Originally published on February 7, 2011