Hey world. I’m pregnant, not broken.

by Janelle Hanchett

Hey world. Check it out. I am not sick, disabled, handicapped or broken.

I am pregnant.

I am not frail, fragile, needy or excessively dependent.

I am pregnant.

I am not incapable, incapacitated or inept.



I’m not a rare flower. I am not delicate.  I am not a princess. I am barely even special.

I am engaging in an act as old and reliable and strong as humanity itself. We have, in fact, evidence of that.

I am in a condition that’s natural and appropriate for my body, not totally unlike breathing or walking or living or dying or taking a crap.

But you treat me like I’m some sort of poor incapable vessel.

Also, I’ve had it with your rules.


No lunch meat – and we mean it – no turkey, salami or ham. Make sure that steak isn’t rare! Cook those eggs thoroughly, nothing runny. No cookie dough kids! Nothing unpasteurized. Watch out for fish. Nothing raw. No stinky cheese, that includes Brie, feta, Camembert or anything with blue in it! Listeria! E-coli!

No coffee.

No wine.

Not a drop! Better safe than sorry.

Okay, maybe you can have one cup of coffee, but not two. Two is crossing the line.


Why must we be so fucking crazy?

You know what? I’m not gonna die if I have 2 or 3 cups of coffee one day when I’m having a rough one. And neither is my baby.

I’m not even going to die if I have a glass of (gasp!) wine.

Okay, I may actually die if I have a glass of wine but I’m a recovering alcoholic, I don’t count.

Maybe rather than lay down some insane irrational nutjob bullshit law like “Thou shalt not eat a bite of lunch meat for 10 months” we just, say, don’t eat it every single day, or we don’t eat if it’s from a questionable source, or we steer away from food left out for a few hours.

Maybe we just, OH I DON’T KNOW, be reasonable.


Balance things.

I know. Crazy talk.

Oh, and please let’s talk about the don’t lift this, don’t lift that, don’t push this or pull that you DELICATE VIOLET you’re gonna get hurt! Damaged! Poor little broken thing!

How about this? Bite me.

Don’t lift over 25 pounds? Really? Oh, ok cool. So I’ll just leave my sleeping toddler in the hot car when we roll into the drive way because I can’t carry her in the house at 37 pounds. Clearly.

That’s a solid plan.

When she throws herself on the ground in a tantrum or just plain old toddler fun-having and there’s a car trying to pass I’ll just look at the driver and be like “Sorry, can’t help you. Can’t pick her up. Against the rules! I’m pregnant. I’m fragile!”
I’ll just leave grocery bags in the car so food rots and not do housework or move unruly laundry baskets. And I’ll quit my job as this or that because we can’t stand too long and we can’t sit too long and we can’t lift heavy stuff and we must avoid jerky movements!

Look, maybe Gwenyth Paltrow can “consciously uncouple” from her life responsibilities or whatever the hell, but those of us on actual earth pretty much must keep on with life.

How about I just not be stupid, maybe not over-exert myself on a regular basis, cut down redwood trees or paint roofs while perched on a ladder?

Has the world lost it’s damn mind?

I’m pregnant, motherfuckers. NOT BROKEN.

Women have been doing this since the beginning of human time. The beginning of human time. This is not exaggeration. This is fact. Obviously.

They have worked in fields, in homes, built things carried things towed things. What happened in the old days? “Sorry, honey, can’t keep the house up. I’m with child.” Churn your own butter, asshole.

Well if that were true they’d never do a damn thing ever because they were pretty much always “with child.”

And I know, we’ve learned a lot, blah blah blah, and better safe than sorry, but at some point we crossed the line of reasonable caution and thoughtful awareness into full-blown panic and hysteria and I tell you it’s pure bullshit.

Pregnant woman are some of the strongest humans on the planet.

Stop telling use we’re weak. That we need books and experts and “professionals” to manage us and keep us safe and govern our uteri and bellies and minds.

Yeah, I know it works REALLY WELL to sell your “expert opinions” and “helpful advice” and rules and guidelines and latest studies so we can be managed and controlled and “taken care of” — sold the latest nonsense must-have baby item. I mean if you can create an entire population of women WHO THINK THEY NEED YOU, my god think of the dollar signs!

And you know what, I appreciate you when I actually need you. If my body or mind can’t hang, messes up, gets sick, or there is some other problem, I’m really, really glad you’re there. Your expertness and science and stuff.

But until further notice, I don’t need you. I’m doing just fine. Me and my uterus and logic (wait, do women have that?) are holding together just fine, as we’ve been doing since forever, dude. Forever.

Stop telling me I can’t, I need, I suck, because you know what? I birthed a 10-pound baby in a horse trough in my living room.

We birth babies, by vagina or knife. And then we get up, nurse them, hold them, carry on.


Through morning sickness and weakness and fatigue that knocks you to the bone we work, care for, build and carry the fuck on.

With huge bellies and crushed bladders and restless nights and aching hearts thinking of our lives and families and other children. We go.

With pain and discomfort and backs that cry for relief we go. We get up. We move. We live and birth and hold on.

Oh but you tell me I’m weak, I’m vulnerable, I’m broken and unaware and lost.
But never fear! Luckily you are here to tell me how to be pregnant, birth my child, feed, nurture and raise my child. Educate, hold and support my child. Discipline, feed and dress my child. Thank goodness you’re here to help the poor pregnant woman mother!

You’ve tried to break me. But I am not broken.

I am pregnant. (I thought we’ve been over this.)

And in five weeks I will have a baby, the perfect one for me, the one I know, the one who knows me.

I already know how to birth, hold, nurse and nurture that baby. My body is formed perfectly to the folds of his body. My heart pumps circles around her soul. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing, but by God I know better than you do. She is, after all, of me. Of us.

And yet you’ll still be there, chattering on like a mindless fucking monkey, telling me what and how and who and why.

I’ll laugh and turn my eyes to my newborn, who knows it too.

Hey mother, glad you’re here, and you’ve got everything you need.


Ya sure don’t look broken to me.

just born

46 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized | April 26, 2014
  • Alecia

    Your comparison reminded me of when I was pregnant with my son. My then four year old daughter asked me if I was going to poop the baby out. By my third, I was enjoying a glass of wine at Christmas and the only reason I gave up coffee was because the smell of it made me want to vomit. Now that your on your fourth, I think you’ve got this covered.

  • Allison

    So true. I remember being 7 months pregnant with my daughter when my husband, 3 year old son and I moved. I was lifting boxes, pushing heavy wooden furniture into place while carrying my son…doing things that one must do to, you know, move. Then came the gasps, the sheer terror and horror in the eyes of others was enough to tell me what they were thinking. But, like you said, we carry on because, frankly, at least in my house, if I didn’t, nothing would get accomplished.

  • Jenn

    Amen. I wish the literature out there would trust women enough to simply explain the risks and let us make our own decisions. For instance : listeria. Most soft cheeses in the US are pasteurized. They don’t even pose a threat. But so much of the literature says don’t eat soft cheese instead of maybe explaining what to look for on a label. Grrrr.

  • Sara

    So true! After reading your post, I feel empowered! Thank you!

  • Dani

    In my antenatal class, the midwife explained that they would never suggest that you go to your uncle’s farm, have a squirt of milk straight from the cow and gnaw a chunk off the pig’s leg that’s curing on the back of the barn door (OK, the exact words are mine, the sentiment was hers). However, if you want to have some Philadelphia or a slice of jamon serrano on your toast, feel free. Supermarkets and the firms that supply them are so rigidly regulated that the likelihood of their products causing any harm to a growing foetus is practically nil. The rules given to pregnant women haven’t been updated along with food hygiene laws, so they are out of date.

    I’m from the UK and live in Spain. In the UK, shellfish in pregnancy is BANNED. In Spain, it’s recommended in small amounts.

    The advice isn’t just over the top, it’s conflicting. In the end, worn down by everyone else’s opinions, I gave up and went with mostly common sense, flavoured with a dash of what the hell I wanted to do. If Spain said I could have the cheese and I wanted the cheese, I had the cheese, no matter what the UK had to say about it. Worked for me.

    • Jena

      Ok I am in th UK too and the NHS says nothing about not eating shellfish. In addition can we not say eating such and such a thing during pregnancy is BANNED? It’s not banned, it’s just not recommended. You can still eat whatever the fuck you like – the food police aren’t gonna arrest you if they see you tucking into a crab sandwich!

  • Kim

    This made my whole day. All of it. This. <3

    • Dakota Mabry

      Thank you so much , I have had so much judgement and people with “well attention s” saying what I should or should not do , even started treating me like a child . I showed my husband this to show him how it feels and their are others that feel this way .. but he just said its funny- I genuinely have cried from embarrassment and hurt feelings from someone shouting at me for trying to do my job .. my co worker and my husband justified her behavior and didn’t see the problem . I was the sensitive one and was in the wrong for being regulated on what I couldn’t do .. and I brought up the alchohol and lord forbid the insults and back handed comments I recieved.. you are a blessing and make me feel so much better .. thanks for understanding

  • Kristin

    Love this! With my oldest, I listened to older and wiser(?) people who said “Don’t jog! Don’t lift things! No caffeine! Eat an egg every day!” I love Dr. Pepper and I hate eggs. This pretty much ruined all possibility of having a Good Morning while pregnant. Did I skip my pop and eat one egg anyway? Yep. French toast to the rescue. And I was miserable. I felt trapped and helpless. Feeling trapped and helpless made me scared. I already had bad anxiety issues, so this didn’t help. I gained more weight than I needed to (French toast and syrup every day? Hmm).

    With my second boy, I was working for a transportation company loading trucks full of people’s packages every day. 3-4 hours of up to 70lb box carrying makes for some great exercise. I ignored everything I’d been told the first time around and kept right on loading those boxes until I was 8 months pregnant. I would have kept going then, except I really couldn’t hold boxes close to my body anymore, as there was this big baby belly in the way. So for the last 3 weeks (baby came early) I worked in a different area. Guess what? Baby and I were both just fine. I recovered SO much faster from that pregnancy than from my first one because I didn’t stop all activity and act like a fragile, helpless, little flower for 8 months. I allowed myself one can of sanity-saving caffeinated beverage each day (hello, toddler at home plus work plus pregnancy…caffeine is necessary!) and didn’t worry too much about force-feeding myself eggs. I paid attention to how I felt and was careful at work but I continued to work and lift things as long as my body was saying “okay!”

    I hope lots of new moms to be read your post…it might help counter some of the fear that everyone else is trying to foster with the “Oh you helpless little thing!” lines they spout.

    • Penny

      I literally yelled “exactly!” at my screen. I’m pregnant with our first, and the patronizing “better safe than sorry” attitude about just about everything is making me feel like a helpless, limited 10% version of who I was before. I was never able to articulate that as well as you just did. Thank you, thank you.

  • Amberiella

    Seriously! What is the deal with rare steak? It’s not ground beef- if the outside is cooked, you can’t get sick from it.

    • Mary

      exactly. and steak cooked well done is not steak anymore. it’s just disgusting.

  • Carrie

    Agreed. Women need to remember where we came from. From the generations of women we came from. They had to carry on while pregnant because they had to. I wish all pregnant women could have the mind set of “I am strong” and understand they were designed for this. Right on as usual!

  • Sara

    26weeks pregnant and had a glass of wine with dinner last night. It was the best fucking thing ever!

  • Bella

    About bloody time someone agreed with me! Nobody knows your body & your ability better than yourself! From the time I had my first child (13 years ago) to now, we have gone from simply eating a well balanced diet, to avoiding absolutely EVERYTHING! Hang on a minute, my first child came out just as normal as any of my other children! I came out pretty ok and my mother drank in moderation and smoked 10 cigarettes a day! I’M FINE THANKS!
    Thank you for saying it how it should be! Thank you for being reasonable! Thank you for being logical!

  • Heather Carmichael

    Oh how I needed this today! Not only am I pregnant *gasp* I’m also recovering from abdominal surgery *gasp* *swoon*. Thou shalt not do anything delicate woman.

    Oh yeah, tell that to the laundry pile, the dirty floor and the two year old who’s favourite phrase is “big hugs!!”.

    Tell you what, I’ll behave like a sensible adult if you all stop automatically repeating the phrase “take it easy”.

  • Caitlin

    Yes yes yes. I’m pregnant with my first, and I’ve decided that the food/drink bans are so quintessentially American. We tend to be a people of excess and also a people who don’t trust women to do what’s best with their own bodies (whatever that may be for them). We tell our ladies NO BOOZE because we don’t understand the concept of moderation – if you drink one glass of wine well that just means you’re going to drink 40 AND THEN WHAT?! And the worst part, it’s our fellow women policing us too. Other moms can’t wait to tell you how superior their birth experience is or how damaging your own choice is. Chill the fuck out and let each other be.

  • Andrea Mae

    Good work Mama. I wish I knew of you blog while pregnant. Such a great place to be. If I had listened to everyone while pregnant, no idea how our birth would have been. Worked until I was 3 days up to our birth, lifting, twisting, etc. Just knew I needed to stop working, intuition. I drank raw milk and eggs everyday. Homebirth family here as well. Would not change a thing. Wine while pregnant, while nursing, you bet.

  • Nicole

    I absolutely agree that being pregnant is NOT a medical condition. If your pregnancy is normal (no weak cervix issues or slipping placentas or stuff like that), do what you feel you can do. And that’s the key – do what YOU feel is OK. Everyone is different during pregnancy. Some women are fucking warriors, others feel no different, and others are severely limited, both physically and mentally. I’m normally a super active person with an intense work ethic, and I fully expected nothing to change during pregnancy. Sadly, this wasn’t the case at all. WIth both pregnancies, I was knocked flat with “morning” sickness (btw, what a load of crap – more like “24/7 sickness”) and the first time, I ended up quite depressed because I simply could not leave my couch. I was really hard on myself and just couldn’t wrap my head around not being able to will myself through the crappiness. Once I was into the second trimester, I was able to do a bit more, and by the end, I was climbing “cardiac hill” just to try to get labour going. So, with my second, I thought I’d be the same… if I could just make it through those first 13 weeks of complete hell, I’d be relatively strong and active again. Sadly, not so. I had intense Braxton Hicks whenever I walked at even a normal pace. Any sort of incline, even at a snail’s pace, just felt completely wrong. My belly would contract into a tight ball, and every instinct I had was screaming at me to stop and sit. It was so frustrating because I couldn’t even walk the damn dog (never mind play with my kid). As someone who normally relies on long distance running for mental health, well, let’s just say that it was a LONG pregnancy. Anyway, my point is that every pregnancy is different, and if I’d read your post (and some of the comments) during my second pregnancy, it would have added to my guilt and frustration that I simply could not exert myself at all. I completely get your point, and don’t worry, I’m not being a offended, self-defensive whiner. I just want everyone to know that some of us, despite our best intentions, really do feel kinda broken during pregnancy, and it’s not fun.

  • K


    I remember having a wine spritzer (half a glass of wine with Sprite added to make it a “full” glass) with my first baby and a family member said, “Well, if something turns out wrong with him we’ll know why!”

    Death glare. Pure death glare from me.

    He was fine, btw. He’s quite smart on top of it all.

  • Laura

    I drank a coke every day the first few months in my second pregnancy / I huddled in the corner at the hospital I worked at feeling like a complete criminal – I don’t usually drink pop especially every day – but that coke made my queasiness go away –

  • kerri fronczak

    “My body is formed perfectly to the folds of his body. My heart pumps circles around her soul. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing, but by God I know better than you do. She is, after all, of me. Of us.”

    oh my gosh YES. Absolutely Freaking Beautiful. Seriously. Well said. love it. Best wishes on the birth.

  • Ashlie

    THANK YOU! When I was pregnant with my second, my blood pressure was rather low (I run low on a normal day), so the fuckers wanted to put me on bedrest because they were afraid I’d pass out and hurt myself and all of that. Except I had a three year old at the time, so that shit won’t fly. But I love that they felt like they couldn’t trust me enough to trust my own body and listen to its cues. When I feel dizzy, I’ll sit down and have a drink of water. It’s really not that complicated. It’s what I do when I’m NOT pregnant, so why should gestating be any different. I’m not a moron, and while I *am* known to power through things when I should probably be taking it easy, I am not going to put myself in danger. Suck that, doctors.

    And then when I was pregnant with my third, I had gestational diabetes. But I was seeing a midwife, who was completely unconcerned (is that a word?) and figured that I was smart enough to, I don’t know, monitor my own blood sugar and watch what I’m eating without being put on fucking lockdown. And it worked! There was never any talk of inducing or c-sections or anything of that nature. Birthing a big baby naturally? Go for it. And I freaking loved that experience, despite the fact that I couldn’t gorge myself on ice cream and cheesecake. *cries*

  • Kateri Von Steal

    I can’t believe you’re going to have that baby in 5 weeks. Where has the time gone?

    And I love the War Cry about being Fragile.
    Pregnant women are the strongest MOFO’s on EARTH!


    Stay strong sister!!! and have a cup of coffee!

  • Margaret

    Laughed out loud! My niece is PLANNING on having a baby and has been obsessing over how to get 71g of protein a day, not 70, not 75 but exactly 71g of protein. She is 30 now and certainly wasn’t so obsessed when she got knocked up at 17 and, gasp, gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl, who is a beautiful young girl now. Sometimes we just don’t get smarter with age!

  • Amy Jones

    I absolutely love this post. I feel even more empowered as a woman after reading this. Thank you for putting it into words. Pregnant women are often treated like we’re sick or incapable of doing anything. We could be quite more delicate than normal as we’re carrying a child, but it doesn’t make us any less of a person. Mothers are the strongest, in my opinion.

  • Sharon B Perpignani

    “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing, but by God I know better than you do.”

    Best. Line. Ever.

  • Laurie

    So empowering, and as always, well said. Almost makes me want to get knocked up again. Yikes. Almost.

    Oh, and congrats! You made it to the home stretch of pregnancy without maiming anyone in a fit of hormonal rage! That’s quite an accomplishment as far as I’m concerned. Good luck with the last couple weeks mama!

  • SammichesPsychMeds

    I feel sort of broken right now, but only in the sense that I feel like a pile of garbage that someone has not only let sit in a garage in 90 degree heat; also in the sense that someone has decided it would be a good idea to then diarrhea on that garbage and let it marinate in said garage for another week or so. Also known as morning sickness. I’ll be over it in a few months, and then I’ll have a glass of wine, eat a turkey sandwich, lift my 5 year old out of the car, hop up on the operating table, let them slice me open and pry me nearly in half, and get up and walk around the hospital not 12 hours later. Because we’ve got this. Women are warriors with stretch marks. And saggy boobs.

  • Tina

    Oh god, I just giggled out loud over “Churn your own butter, asshole!”. You’re fucking amazing, Janelle, you always make my day a little bit better. Even when I feel that my uterus is being ripped out and my back is killing me. Evidently not pregnant, but so with you on that one. xxx

  • Barb

    ha. fragile. yep. i remember that battle! I’m a runner and cyclist. I ran until 39 weeks, and cycled until 37 weeks (it got too uncomfortable to ride past that…too huge…). I used to get a lot of questions (isn’t that BAD for the baby?! oh yea. it’s totally bad for the baby, that’s why i’m doing it) and strange strange disgusted looks while doing either of those things (these I interpreted as them deciding it was bad for the baby and therefore I was a terrible person). I chose to try to ignore them as best I could, because yea, as you say, you can’t sit on a lily pad for 10 months. That’s RIDIC. Besides. I’m pretty sure it was the only thing that kept me from losing my sanity…and it continues to work to this day!
    5 more weeks!!

  • Michelle

    Thank you for this. It sums up so much of how I feel, and mostly the same things I keep telling people who watch me continue to train with my trapeze partners at 27 weeks. I plan to keep training as long as possible, and just keep modifying as the belly keeps getting in the way…

    Also, please respond by email if appropriate, but I’d love to quote some of this for a theater piece I’ll be performing soon. Let me know if that’s not okay?

  • Liz

    Beautiful, beautiful picture! May you continue to feel that motherly power over the next few weeks and through the birth of your baby!

  • LisaC

    Soul sister, you are. Everything in moderation. I painted my living room with granite paint when I was pregnant. It’s like rolling cement up the fucking walls. But it camouflaged every little flaw in the plaster walls and looks absolutely amazing. It’s my favorite room in the house and I take pride that I did it in my most delicate state of womanhood 😀

  • Rachel

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    Number 1, the LUNCH MEAT THING has been doing my head in.

    I actually avoided ham for 14 weeks then rang Mothercare because I ran out of stuff to eat and was sick of everything else and frankly starving. She laughed quite a lot and quite loudly and said, OH FFS (ok, not really), you can buy ham and eat it from a packet, just avoid delis.

    Simple as that.

    Number 2, I am OVER the eat-an-egg-that’s-not-rubbery-and-overcooked-and-your-baby-will-die warnings.

    This morning I have a dodgy hip and I put some hot lavender balm on it in desperation then spent 3 hours worried the baby might die, even though the same Mothercare nurse told me topical skin things are fine. Especially when you are in pain and groaning in bed and can’t move. The Chicklet just kicked me mightily hard for about 5 mins so I’m assuming all is hunky dory in there. And my hip feels a LOT better.

    Good luck for the next five weeks! I have 16 to go… first baby… (could you tell by the meat / eggs / topical treatments paranoia?)

  • Stephanie

    Lol I love this. I am due to have my little girl any day now and people kept telling me when I would occasionally have a beer (5.3% alcohol) “I thought you could only have red wine when your pregnant?” Oh you mean it would be safer if I drank a glass of red wine averaging between 10 and 13 percent alcohol over a 5 percent beer? Your right how silly of me. 🙂

  • Ainsley

    Thank you. This is a far more articulate then anything I could have written about the pregnancy rules that get spouted to women which are almost 100% irrational and condescending and that I have mostly disregarded. The line “My heart pumps circles around her soul.” is beautiful and makes me feel much more positive about the whole experience of pregnancy.

  • Mel

    U sound hormonally deranged and bitter.

  • Shan

    When I was fairly newly pregnant with Mad my father-in-law tried to fawn over me on a hike.

    “She’s pregnant, Larry… pregnancy’s not a medical condition!” is what my mother-in-law told him. Good for us both to be reminded, and it helped set the tone for the rest of my pregnant days.

  • Jendra

    “They have worked in fields, in homes, built things carried things towed things. What happened in the old days? “Sorry, honey, can’t keep the house up. I’m with child.” Churn your own butter, asshole.”

    To be fair, I did insist my husband get off the couch to bring me ice cream. But seriously, best paragraph ever. You’re one of my new favourite blogs.

  • megan

    Just came across your blog for the first time. I’m 29 weeks pregnant, and my goodness I needed this. Thanks.

  • Cory Rodgers

    If only the people telling us we can’t do things could take care of everything for us. Run our errands. Clean our cat boxes. Put the baby furniture together. I dunno. I spent the first few months of my pregnancy in a panicked state. I feel like they took something from me that I’ll never get back. I’ll never get another chance to relax and enjoy the feeling of my body doing what it already knows to do. I was so freaked out.

  • Elizabeth

    Omg.. This is perfect.

  • Montana

    Reading this story and all the other ones has said everything I’ve been going through myself over the past 4 months. I’m tired of being treated like a deaf dumb and blind burden. It’s always “you quit smoking and drinking right?” As they blow smoke inmy face, and “have you been taking your prenatals, right?”
    So ya’ll are telling me that my wellbeing is all of a sudden important because I got pregnant, when I’ve been taking care of myself for the past 8 years…
    I finally feel that I have the power and courage to stand up to my family about how I feel about their negativity towards my intelligence

  • Natalie

    Thank you! I so needed this today. I have been in a hormonal rampage over deli sandwiches and blue cheese dressing for weeks!!!

  • Sarah

    Amen! A guy at work is voicing his concerns about me BOWLING. 1. Why does he think it’s okay to comment on my body? 2. Are you kidding me?
    What am I going to do when pregnant with my second, not pick up my child? Sick of being talked to like a delicate flower.