22 weeks…what?

by Janelle Hanchett
  1. I would just like to make one thing clear: I have never, ever in my life taken pregnancy selfies updating the world on my uterine happenings. And yet, I’m doing it for you. But also for me. Mostly for me. And here’s why: I realized I didn’t do it because I was embarrassed by my body. Like in other words, I’m fat. Also I thought it was fucking stupid. But mostly it’s the fat thing.
  2. So in a violent protest against the voices in my head screaming “You’re too gross to take selfies whilst pregnant,” I GIVE YOU THIS, a photo in which I am not only displaying my pregnant belly, but also making a face so ridiculous I almost can’t look at myself. I call it “22 weeks and double chins, bitch.” Or: “What the hell is happening with my mouth?”photo (12)
  3. honestly I cannot take them seriously. I draw the line at serious pregnant selfies. In other news, I’ve been sick with a cold that tried to kill me. Not to get all “man cold” on you, but for real this was no normal cold. This was a cold that wanted me naked and shivering at the base of a tall mountain. Body aches, ridiculous exhaustion, insane headaches/sinus pain. During a particularly winning moment I found myself drinking a caramel machiatto and eating a scone in bed while watching “Forks Over Knives.” For those of you who don’t know, “Forks Over Knives” is a documentary about the healing properties of a plant-based, whole-foods diet and the way processed sugars, fat and simple carbs are killing us. So…right. Enough bitching.
  4. No. Not enough yet. We moved into our new house on Saturday. I LOVE OUR NEW HOUSE. I got sick on Sunday. So in one glorious nutshell, I’m pregnant and moving and sick and in my 2nd week of teaching new classes. Feeling pretty solid, I assure you.
  5. The only thing that’s made the past week manageable is the fact that I pee on myself at least once a day when I sneeze. There’s always a bright side, people. Ya just gotta look for it.
  6. SHOULDA DONE THOSE FUCKING KEGELS. (Btw, do kegels even work? The one woman I know who’s actually done them regularly says they’re bullshit. But since the entire pool of Women I Know Who’ve Done Kegels consists of a single human, I fear I may have inadequate perspective.)
  7. Since I’m supposed to be documenting my pregnancy, let’s talk about current favorite features. Honestly, it’s a toss-up between super randomly itchy skin and peeing 49 times a day, each time somehow a real pee. Not a trickle. How does that even work? I’m too old for this shit. I’m never doing this again.
  8. Nevermind. The best part has got to be the emotional/mental stuff. I don’t want to say I hate all people, but I pretty much hate all people (particularly if I’m related to them). I don’t mean to. It just sort of happens. Like they’re talking and I’m looking at them and I really want to not hate them, but then the way they breathe or stand or smell does something inside my head that makes me want to kick things, or run, or possibly weep. Speaking of weeping, why am I crying, people? Do I weep for mankind? Do I cry for the sins for the world?  Have I become the conduit for all sensitivity on the planet?
  9. Oh that’s right. It’s nothing. I cry for nothing. Ignore the woman crying for nothing. (But do so away from my face, mmmmkay? cause you’re irritating me.)
  10. Do I sound pleasant yet? Big ball of joyful reproduction? Good. Because I AM. Alright. FINE. I’ll give you the beauty: I feel the little one kicking around now every day and I like that. Of course, the feel-the-baby-move every day also launches the OMG I DON’T THINK I’VE FELT THE BABY MOVE syndrome/panic/terror – motherhood is such a trip. With every gorgeous moment comes a terrifying one.
  11. But in all seriousness, I’m happy as hell. We moved into a fabulous little home that already feels like home even though it’s just bare wood floors and boxes. And I’m healthy and excited and over halfway done with this pregnancy (what?).  Sometimes, though, no matter how good it all is in the big picture, the day-to-day details are just hard. There’s nothing easy about being pregnant, sick, moving and starting a new job (all at the same time). There just isn’t.

I’m not gonna sugar-coat it. It is what it is. Some weeks are to be endured, lived through, survived, just so you can hit the other side.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a moment like I did yesterday, when my dyslexic son came bounding out of school “Mama! I got a 100% on my spelling test!” It was the first he’s ever taken. The words were like “map” and “cat” and “lap.” He’s in 2nd grade and those are kindergarten words. But when your son has been unable to read any words at all and suddenly he’s able to recite some, you feel like your heart may explode as the tears pour from your eyes, though you think to yourself Damn I’m a dumbass. All pregnant and emotional and shit.

Although, come to think of it, you might cry no matter what when given news like that.

Here’s to good news, and peeing on ourselves, and not being sick anymore.


P.S. I usually write these “week in review” posts on Sundays. I realize it’s Wednesday. OOOOOPS. I try.

42 Comments | Posted in weeks of mayhem | January 30, 2014
  • Alicia

    Kegels are BS. They don’t work. My vag is a gaping hole after just 2 kids that weren’t even big. I have freaking air bubbles when I walk and I pee myself if I laugh too hard. I qualify for surgery but I would have to take 2 weeks off from picking up more than 8 pounds and my 1 year old weighs 25 lbs. Yep, I plan on letting my children know that they ruined my vagina for the rest of their lives…well when they’re old enough to be embarrassed by me.

    But back to Kegels, my urogynecologist confirms they DO NOT work for most people.

  • Mina

    When has the time flown by?! 22 weeks, oh my… You’re looking quite fine, despite self deprecation, J.
    Personal note: yes, them kegels work. But one has to do them constantly and pretty much until you die. Muscles in general are a bitch, you let them be for a while, poof, they’re gone. So, do a little routine, because this is how it works best. Start with doing the tightening imagining a scale, from 1- lowest to 5 – tightest. Do that sitting down for a week or two, alternating steps, 1-2-3-2-4-5-3-1 for example. Yes, let’s move on from the awkwardness of the situation of training your peeing muscle. Focus on the task at bladder (hand is not appropriate here). After getting used to doing them sitting down, you start doing them standing. Then while bending, for example when tying shoelaces or picking up the million lego pieces. Then while walking, and so on. Of course,AFTER you are done with the postpartum period (if nothing is wrong, usually after six weeks pp). I have seen u/s of pelvic floor before and after. I tell you, it is worth all the awkwardness and mental swearing at the unfairnness of it all and all those extra bathroom breaks. Good luck!

  • Briana

    Although I am not currently pregnant, I am a mama to a terrifyingly fearless 1 1/2 year old boy! I love reading your blog. You keep it real, I can relate to so much of what you say and how you say it. You have a gift! Thank you for sharing both the grandeur and grit of motherhood. Keep on keepin’ on, girl!

  • peggy miller

    Everything here made me happy for you. Except the cold part, that sucks. And the stress of moving–that sucks too. Worst part about post-pregnancy peeing on yourself: not being able to bounce at concerts. Tried that once at a Langhorne Slim show. Not going to repeat it again any time soon. Sending lots of good vibes your way.

  • Megan

  • Lyndsey

    22 weeks? How did that happen? Congrats on the everything. Sounds like you’ve got a good thing going there, and that’s awesome.

  • LaToya

    I’m 35 weeks and I.Feel.Your.Pain…. ESPECIALLY the fat sentiment. Why am I not skinny preggo fabulous? I hate it!

  • Tracey a.k.a. KidLit

    Fucking love it. You hard ass bitch, you.

    I can not believe you are half way. Still can’t believe Kim is almost done!! Time flies when you aren’t pregnant and others are. I tell ya. Whew! ; 0p

    Congrats on the new house. Even more on the kiddo acing his test. Definitely a weepy moment.

  • Sarah Maren

    I LOVE your selfie! I demand more! XOXO!

  • Corinne Knight

    Rock on Momma you look fab!!!!

  • Heather

    First I think you should know that I just pissed my pants reading this blog here…and I’m not even pregnant! I mean…I have had 4 of those little Vagina crushers bust through my sex hole!! BUt when I read that you were eating a scone and drinking a caramel machiatto simultaneously watching fork over knives I can’t help but piss myself with laughter. That just made my whole damn day! I have watched it while eating doritos!! ~ And I’m not pregnant. O.O Also….NO…kegels do not work. I tried that BS during the pregnancy of my 3rd and NOPE! My mid-wife was all like…do them…it will help! NOPE!!! I sat in the car trying to squeeze my vagina together, and all it did was make me piss. EVERY TIME I squeezed. Piss would fall out of my vagina. Those little people ruin your sex parts!! They try and distract you from the true fact that you will NEVER be able to sneeze, laugh, jump…or even eat a sandwich without pissing yourself AGAIN!!! I mean…at least I can’t eat a sandwich without pissing myself. I think it’s when I lift my arm. That must be it…I lift my arm and piss now!!!…but the kids bring so much joy to my life ya know……O.O

  • Stephanie

    Good for you. Hang in there. It’s all good (or will be soon!).

  • Lisak

    Re: kegels. I did them religiously for YEARS. Have had two kids. 14 yrs after the birth of the first I finally got tired of peeing myself every time I ran, sneezed, coughed, jumped, slipped–you name it, it made me pee. I saw a url-gynecologist who could not believe I had been doing this for 14 years. They checked my pelvic floor muscle tone and said it was fabulous! great! Thanks to the kegels. However, I still peed myself. I had surgery. It was easy. I no longer pee myself–thank you Dr. Uro-Gynecologist!

  • Chandra

    Kegels worked for me, I was kinda crazy about them, 3 sets of 10-20 a day. Love the selfie face. Exciting about your son and his spelling test!

  • Grace

  • C

    Don’t look at it like you’re late for your week in review post… look at it like you’re super-fucking proactive and got it done DAYS ahead. (also, I thought it was Thursday? ;])

    and I love the spelling test bit, it made me smile.

  • SCB

    I never comment, but I love reading your blog. I love the beauty in your honesty. I had to comment today because I teared up reading about your son’s spelling test. It is an amazing accomplishment to be celebrated, and it brings forth emotion in those of us not even battling pregnancy hormones! Keep on keepin’ on, mama!

  • sara

    that duckface makes you look fat. and your wrists. 😉
    seriously you look great. YAY for happy new safe homes (mine makes me warm inside). Kegals are a lie, 3 years out and jogging is a hit or miss event and i would have qualified for the kegal Olympics if there was such a thing.

  • SRB

    I don’t know if Kegels work, but I DO know that NOT doing them DOES NOT work. So by the transitive property…? I don’t know. I still don’t do them. Maybe like, 3, when I read the word Kegel. I still pee myself when I sneeze, is what I’m saying.

    You GO with your spelling, wee bairn! That shit rocks socks off.

  • Betsy

    You look great in the selfie! Congrats to your son, that’s so exciting!

  • Savanna

    Yay for being halfway there! That is awesome that he passed his test! Totally heart melting!

  • Leslie

    Hello Janelle!

    I was recently directed towards your blog and I must say it has been a bit of a friend to me. I found comraderie in your blogs about marriage and mothering with depression. Not until now, however, have I felt compelled to leave you a message.

    To give you some company in regard to #3 on your list (scone and food documentary): My husband woke up one morning about a week before my due date to find me sitting on the floor 6 inches from the tv eating chocolate donuts. I was watching a pre-natal yoga DVD.

  • brigitte

    I went to hear the famous midwife Ina May Gaskin speak a few years ago and she focused on why kegels don’t work work and why squats do work to strengthen the pelvic floor. Here’s a related article: http://breakingmuscle.com/womens-fitness/stop-doing-kegels-real-pelvic-floor-advice-women-and-men

    From my experience, squats do help. I can actually jump rope for a couple minutes without peeing myself now!

  • Mel Abbott

    Congrats on the spelling test!!!
    (I’m tearing up over here & I’m not pregnant)
    My dyslexic is still struggling – he got 8/43 once and I actually cried…
    The teacher tried to comfort me until she realized it was joy.
    He’d spelt ‘was’ ‘were’ and ‘what’ correctly.

  • Charlotte

    I just have to say the one line “motherhood is such a trip. With every gorgeous moment comes a terrifying one.” just hit me in such a good way. I feel like slapping every FML post and “my life is awesome” posts from moms that deem necessary to have random, multiple times of day posts. Because the reality is that motherhood sucks and is so amazing with just split seconds in between.
    And I almost cry ALL THE FREAKIN TIME still which is not my personality and I’m trying to keep it together telling stories about my kids and not blubbering to my son’s 1st grade teacher.
    thanks for another good, honest read.

  • Siobhan

    Kegels are bullshit. You know what strengthens the pelvic floor ? Squatting. Proper squatting. Look to Youtube for guidance if you’re not sure what a proper squat should look like.

    I’m not kidding here. I know a woman with six kids who never pees on herself after squatting in her garden all summer. I know many other post-baby folks who swear by squats. They all say fuck kegels.


  • Temptress Mama

    I have a feeling that kegels only work if you’ve been doing them since you were a teenager. Either that, or I just have a super strong vag even after pushing out an 8 lb baby 8 months ago. I have sneezed without peeing since about 4 weeks postpartum, but that’s just me. I did pee on myself a few times when I was pregnant though, and it just leaked out for like a week after the birth. So I don’t know if they really work or not, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to quit doing them because anything that makes me orgasm faster is an active part of my sex life with my husband 😉

    Congrats on the new house!

  • Jamey

    So, the kegels basically worked for me until I got pregnant with my second, started puking my head off again, and pissing my pants at the same time. Doubled over the toilet – yaking into the bowl while a puddle of piss accumulates on the floor. I have serious nausea/vomiting while pregnant, but the humiliation of also soiling myself at the same time is just one of my birth control methods.

    Enjoy! Oh – and a Neti Pot really helps with colds. I’d also get sinus infections while pregnant.

    I mean, pregnancy was all so beautiful and magical.

    Be well!

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife

    Congratulations to Rocket on his success!

    Kegels are complete horse shit. I did them every day as a first time pregnant woman and I peed myself so badly at the end of my pregnancy I got pee on the floor. Fast forward to never remembering to do them while pregnant with my son and I never peed myself and now I can jump/laugh/sneeze and stay dry.

  • Paulee McCormack

    ohh the peeing 100 times a day, days!! I sure don’t miss those but you are so right pregnancy is the most beautifully, terrifying experience ever I wish I had your humor through it all! :DD

  • mama of 2

    i did kegels a bit obsessively during my first pregnancy (as in hundreds at a time a few times a day) and also did the whole thing where you use olive oil and massage/stretch out your own vagina opening – yep. my husband tried it a few times and couldn’t bring himself to look and it hurt, but our midwives swore by it, so i did it to myself (and the thousands and thousands of kegels everytime i sat down) and didn’t tear at all either birth… and my daughter was posterior and the midwives were very concerned about me pushing her out too fast because of the angle of her head/tearing, but i pushed anyway and she popped out no tearing at all… so i’d say do the kegels. but you have to commit and REALLY do them. and try the self massage/gentle stretching technique – it’s damn hard to reach down there with a giant belly but i was really worried about tearing and i’m glad i did it. also never had pee accidents after either birth.

  • Diana Ann Bisares

    Haha! I really love you, Janelle! I didn’t take photos when I was pregnant with my first son, and I regret it. Not because I couldn’t post anything on Facebook or on my blog, but because the whole pregnancy is a memory I would want to keep in photos.

    Anyway, you look great!

  • Mel

    I cried when I read about Rocket’s success and I’m not pregnant and he’s not my son. I just think it’s bloody great and I’m so happy for him. Wow, I’m sounding really ‘up with people’. As for the peeing thing, yeah I’m a fellow traveller. When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time with my head in the toilet bowl throwing up while simultaneously peeing on the bathroom floor. And this included during the allegedly ‘sexy’ second trimester. Hot.

  • Ashlie

    When I found out I was pregnant with my third and last baby, I vowed to do all of the cutesy things that I failed at during my first two pregnancies. Like the obligatory picture of my hands on my belly in the shape of a heart? Yeah, totslly guilty of that the last go-round. I knew that I wouldn’t be growing a little person inside of me ever again and I wanted visual proof that it happened, damn it. I wanted to be able to look back at my swollen extremities and rotund belly and then over to my son and think “How in the hell did you ever fit in there? How did I ever get a 9 pound version of you out of me without drugs and not even two real pushes?” So I’m telling you, down the road, you won’t regret that you did it. Extra pounds that are NOT baby/uterus/amniotic fluid and all.

    And what everyone else said… kegels don’t work. Or at least not well enough. I say this as I cough violently thanks to the damn flu and I am effectively pissing myself. At least I was humble enough to put on a damn pad. My 9 year old asked me if I needed an adult diaper. You can imagine the look she got.

  • Jen

    Janelle, you rock, as always. First, I had a teary smile from that bit about your son, so you’re certainly entitled to tears, preggo or not. Second, kegels are BS as far as I can tell. I did them before I was pregnant, while pregnant, and on and off for the 15 months since I had my daughter’s, and I peed myself a little bit while sneezing 2x today.

  • Domestic Imp

    I have 6 kids. Yes, s-i-x. And, the good news is, I’m not in Depends.

    Bad news is, I think there’s absolutely 0 reason why some women leak, and others don’t.

  • Ali

    I also most cried about your kid’s spelling test. Wouldn’t have been waste tears.
    And I also read that as “Big joyball of reproduction?”
    Kegels worked for me, but I saved them for the weeks after birth. Or at least, I didn’t not do them and I don’t pee my pants when I cough. Correlations/causation/whatever.
    You almost make meant to be pregnant again. True story.

  • Almostme

    I would totally cry too if my dyslexic son got 100% on a spelling test! WELL DONE!!!

  • Adri

    i love this blog so much, keep writing! I’m roughly as far along as you are and though this is my first baby, I usually hear where you’re coming from. People keep asking me if I’m going to take maternity pics and I usually make a joke that people just want to see the baby. The truth is I hate pictures of myself because I was fat before I was pregnant and as much as I love my growing belly, part of me can only see a large woman with droopy upper arms. I’m trying to work through the self esteem issues, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like they might not look their best right now. On the plus side, I have an excuse to wear stretchy pants every day and they are fucking comfortable

  • toomanykids

    kegels work. but the best way to work them is sex,lots of it. the rest is just toning. sex works faster,not just lie there thinking of other shit type sex,but consciously trying to um grip your partner.if you cant feel him ur in trouble,but theres no need for Drastic action just more sex and.a.few reps when

  • Anastasia McDonnell(ism)

    Oh, my friend – you. Are. Pregnant! I am so thrilled for you, a bit envious of you, and overjoyed to see your cute mug again. You changed names on IG & I missed you and Georgia like a favorite pair of socks that you just can’t find. Then I remembered your blog, and I am so happy to see you again AND ripe with new child, holy cow. Missed you, adore you, so happy SO SO SO happy for you & Mac & the crew. Can’t wait to catch up on it all. (kisskiss)

  • Emily

    *Sigh* I’m going to have an imaginary life in my head in which we are friends. I had to laugh at your “Forks Over Knives” moment, seeing as how my second kid is 7 weeks old, I’m overweight and losing exactly nothing (maybe I’m wrong; I might be going negative on the weight loss) despite breastfeeding 53 times a day and eating maybe 1.5 meals, so I said “fuck it” and my current favorite snack is pie crust.

    Also, I’m with you on the hating all people thing, except for me, I didn’t have a lot of it during pregnancy. Instead, I have it every time I breastfeed. Hooray! I just remind myself that, as with all things, it will pass, as soon as I decide to switch over to formula entirely and have my body all to myself again.