Posts Filed Under pregnancy can suck it

Small pink vaginal speaker for in utero musical education. Because the world hates women.

by Janelle Hanchett

They make some seriously ridiculous “parenting” products, but I have recently come across the winner of every WTF IS HAPPENING award ever made.

Behold, the speaker you stick up your vagina so your baby has direct and uninterrupted access to music from your iPhone.

Go ahead. I’ll wait. Let that one register.

And no, no I am not making this up. You think I could make this shit up? I could not. Ever. Why?


And that it why I would never attempt to convince a pregnant woman that she needs to spend $137 on a speaker to put up her vag.

Direct quote from website: “Babypod is a small intravaginal device that stimulates neural development in unborn babies through music. Scientific studies show that it encourages communication and vocalization in babies before birth through the music streamed. Babypod gives them their first musical and learning experience.”

Ladies, it is no longer good enough for you to play music in the room or car or even buy some other music-making device to hold next to your belly. Oh, no. What you need is TO ENCOURAGE COMMUNICATION IN YOUR UNBORN YOUNG BY STICKING A SPEAKER IN YOUR BODY.

And playing music.

How does this even work? I mean, first of all obviously the woman in question has to get the thing up there somehow. Have the makers of this gem ever been pregnant? DO THEY KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO REACH YOUR VAGINA WHEN YOU CAN’T SEE YOUR TOES?

Maybe a partner is supposed to help. Okay, sure. That makes sense. That sounds amazing: “Hey honey, when you get a moment could you put this speaker up my vagina? Purely non-sexual though. Totally educational. Great. Thanks. Have a nice day.”


Maybe they figure think it should be done early in the pregnancy. But, does a fetus even have ears that early?

I hate everything.

I’m not sure what’s worse: the idea that they really think we should “encourage vocalization” in a baby before she’s left the womb, or the idea that holding a speaker up to your belly is no longer good enough.

I seriously viewed the womb-music-activity thing as the pinnacle of Shit Mothers Apparently Do That I Would Never Pull Together. I used to look at those womb music CDs and be like “No for real do women actually do that?”

Frankly, the idea that we need to play symphonies for in utero offspring strikes me as a bit excessive.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. It clearly does no harm, and maybe even some good, but it seems like a big, big extra to me, like THE MOST EXTRA. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t consume soda and processed foods or brie or salami (so basically just die) and get exercise and take prenatals and make all your appointments and do kegels and gain 20-25 pounds only (which is fucking impossible, assholes) and spend lots of time nurturing your marriage and other kids and sleep a lot and take lovely professional photos and…


Cool. Okay. I failed.

Although, gotta level with ya, I had four kids and I didn’t play Bach string quartets for any of them and yet they appear to be thriving. Right down the barrel of “functioning like a motherfucker.” That’s my family! And never once did I hold any gadget up to my belly to “provide a first musical learning experience.” WHY?

Because I’m not totally convinced fetuses need learning experiences.

Perhaps we should also read them the alphabet, a bit of Foucault, and have them watch the history channel.

Oh my god we could play Netflix through the vag speaker and MAKE THEM LEARN HISTORY.

I’m sorry. But please. Come on. Pleeeeasseeee somebody work with me here.


The last thing I want to do as a pregnant woman is stick one more thing up my vagina. Midwife hands, those metal death things OBs use, and um, ahem, et cetera, perhaps we could NOT add to the list of things going in or out of that area. OMG. Ew. I feel weird.

Who washes the speaker after?

And now I’m going to throw up.


I did play a lot of Grateful Dead though. I bet that’s why they all like tie-dye and swaying.

Pink vag speakers for all!

Nobody, ever.


This is not our job.



I have an excellent attitude when I’m pregnant and would for sure be interested in a small plastic item in my vagina.



Join me for the last Write Anyway writing workshop of 2016.

Tuesdays at 10am PST, October.

I promise we won’t talk about vaginas. That is a lie. I cannot actually promise that.

Oh, Heyyyyyy, 36 weeks…and yes, they threw me a baby sprinkle.

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m 36 weeks pregnant. Today.

I have a few thoughts.

But first, did I mention they threw me a “baby sprinkle?” Yes, yes. Proof. (MacDonald is my married name):


You see, this is what you get when you talk mad shit about baby sprinkles on your blog then get pregnant. It was supposed to be a “gender revealcombined with a sprinkle but fortunately I’m “team green” so that was impossible.

If I live the rest of my life never uttering a sentence like that again, I will have succeeded.

Good lord.

I brought this on myself. I freak out online, talk endless shit, act like a smartass and have ridiculously, um, clear opinions. Even I would relish the opportunity to make fun of me.

Honestly, though, people know I’m just having fun. Despite what my hate mail indicates, I’m not a heartless bag against all cute shit, humanity and goodness. I like cute stuff too. Like puppies. And babies. Babies are cute. Usually.

Although, I must admit it was rather painful to repeatedly eek out the words “Are you coming to my sprinkle?” I even created a clever work-around by referring to it as a “non-shower shower” with the parenthetical: “no gifts.” Way more up my alley. But alas, I found myself saying “baby sprinkle” on a somewhat regular basis.

And people, there were sprinkles involved. There were lots of sprinkles involved. There were sprinkles on the invites and jars of sprinkles and sprinkles on the cupcakes and cookies dipped in, yes, sprinkles.

photo 5

Here are the women involved with my demise: my sister-in-law Sara and my soul-sister, Cara Lyn. Here’s Sara, with a cookie, looking very smug and gorgeous, enjoying the excess of sprinkles:

image(1) photo 3 copy

And Cara Lyn, the lovely.


But she wouldn’t stop touching my belly, which pissed me off, so I flipped off the camera. Unknowingly, she did the same thing. SOUL SISTERS.


And of course, my mama, but I didn’t have any pictures of us together. Damn.

But she’s always there. For my whole life, those words are true.

It was one of the nicest parties anybody has ever thrown for me.  Seriously I was blown away. It was all Pinterest-cute and matching and stuff. There was even BURLAP. And MASON JARS and big, bright daisies. There was so much thought and love and time and generosity – lots of people showed up, old friends and new ones and family. I was not sprinkled. I was showered.

(Would somebody please shoot me if I continue using these words?)

Not with gifts – with things that actually matter. For example, my husband in a cupcake apron.

photo 1 copy

photo 2 copy photo 4 copy

It was a freaking wonderful day. My own personal ironic baby sprinkle.

And now, let’s talk about 36 weeks…

I’m at the point where turning over in bed is like a 5-minute ordeal.

To get out of bed, I have to sort of throw my legs over the edge with great force to create the momentum to lift my upper body. I know this because I do it 458 times a night.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a head literally turning on your bladder.

The other day I read a post on Babycenter (Yes, I’m still a sadist lurking on “my birth board” for entertainment and a vague sense of impending doom) that said “34 weeks and I only gained 5 pounds!” It took all my power to write back: “I have an idea. How about you die?”

I didn’t mean that.

I totally fucking meant that.

I’ve gained 50 pounds. It’s at least 20 pounds baby and fluid. AT LEAST. I’m sure the other 30 will come off via breastfeeding.


I am insane. I cry a lot. I yell a lot. I dreamed the other night about dragons, red-wine tasting and being chased by short, angry men.

I don’t sleep. Sleep is for fucking losers. I like to lie awake at 2am and think about things that I can’t change. Either that, or I hang out in this weird half-sleep place where I’m sort of still in my dream but sort of awake. If all that fails, I stay awake thinking how I’m generally failing my children – OMG my first is going to be 13 which means I only have FIVE EFFING YEARS LEFT WITH HER and that makes me want to die and I’m so short-tempered and distant lately and working and stuff but it’s going to get even worse because 4th baby and what the fuck were we even thinking as I sacrifice the good of my older kids for another baby and how do women do this why and for what? I’m ruining everything.

I do this for a couple hours until I realize I’m hungry. Then I fling my legs over the edge, pee, and eat some motherfucking almond butter. It’s super relaxing.

I love the 9th month of pregnancy.

I’m anemic. Very anemic, apparently. Eating lots of steak and spinach.

In other news, iron pills sure have pleasant side effects!

My stomach is approximately ¼ of an inch in diameter and 2 inches from my throat. I like it like that. Hope it stays there.

I enjoy approximately 75,000 Braxton Hicks contractions a day. They don’t hurt, but damn they’re weird. Consulting with a student: “Pardon me, but the largest organ in my body is currently tightening, shoving a baby head further down onto my bladder than it was before, reminding me that I should not be here talking to you, but rather nesting or some shit, preparing somehow for that head to leave my body. Anywho, your thesis statement is not an argument.”

I miss the ability to see my vagina. Not that I ever spent quality time gazing at her, but it was rather comforting to know that I had the option to at least SEE HER, you know, in a pinch.

We bought a carseat. Therefore, we are prepared for baby.

Also, don’t worry. The nursery is done. Here’s a photo. Do you like our theme?


I really want to get my house clean before the baby comes, but I’m way too pregnant to clean the house before the baby comes, so basically, the task I’m trying to accomplish before an event will only become possible after the event, which leaves me in a super ridiculous quandary.

I should probably stop thinking about it and go eat some molasses cookies. Molasses has iron.


Four more weeks, bitches.




And hey, friends & peeps in the Portland area, I have a new sponsor for you.

Meet Jocelyn Brown of Borealis, licensed midwife and doula. Jocelyn provides at-home midwifery care and

in-hospital support (as a doula).

Normally I write a paragraph about sponsors, but I’m going to let Jocelyn speak for herself on this one:

My take on birth in Portland is that we have so many great choices for birthing here, and what people need help with is making a plan they can be at peace with.  I *love* home birth, and believe that it is safe, but no matter what, every woman should give birth where she believes *she* is safest and will have the best experience.  And if that’s in the hospital or on even on the operating table, that’s where I’m going to support her.”


“I also believe that the out-of-hospital care providers and the in-hospital care providers need to start supporting each other and not persecuting each other – delaying a needed home birth transport because a midwife is afraid of facing the hospital staff is incredibly stupid and dangerous, and just feeds back into the perception that home birth midwives don’t practice safely.  Fortunately, there are a lot of people working on this process in Portland, both in and out of hospital. I’m constantly trying to educate clients about this.”

And just as good, when you’re in labor and call your husband a fucking douchecanoe, you KNOW Jocelyn won’t judge. Why? Because she reads this blog. BOOM.

Call her. Get supported. Birth.


I wish they’d stop calling this “sacred.”

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m feeling ill-equipped for motherhood lately. I can’t stop being an asshole to my kids.

I’m yelling too much. My patience is almost always already gone.

I lose it over nothing. Them. Being kids. Doing annoying kid things. Leaving their shoes on the couch one more time. The 5th time I have to ask him to get dressed. The bickering again about the dishes. The flailing in the back seat.

I know it’s me, you know. I know it’s my exhaustion and profound discomfort and the weight of this baby on my back and bladder and heart.

I realized the other day I haven’t had time to love this baby. Does that make me a monster? That probably makes me a monster. I feel distant, disconnected. Though I feel her (him?) against the deepest swells of my body, and the little pushes and jabs comfort me, I only barrel forward through the days. I only wonder how it’s possible to pee so many fucking times a night. I wonder how many thoughts can awaken me at 4am. I wonder why I screw around on my phone until 10:30pm when my whole self needs only sleep. Maybe it’s the privacy, the silence. Maybe I’m just not equipped for adult life. Maybe the responsible decision will always elude me. Or it will sometimes, at night, when I should be asleep.

I want to settle down and wonder at my baby.

I feel the weight when I rise, go down, roll over in bed. Every time I get up I wonder how so simple a task could be so hard. The pressure shifts. My joints barely cooperate.

My kids drain me. That’s pretty much all.

I do it one more time. I do it a hundred more times.

I should be in better shape. I should have taken better care of myself. I should eat disaster

You think I’m feeling sorry for myself.

I am, though it doesn’t manifest in inactivity. I wake up in the morning and think “I can’t.”

But I do.

Not because I’m some fucking martyr, but because there’s no other choice. It’s a job. You get up and fucking do it.

I look at the calendar and wonder how much longer. How much longer will I be teaching these classes? Standing for hours at a time. Standing until my hip and thigh go numb. I took on too much, I guess. I took on too much but we need the money. A woman in Austria told me pregnant women get 8 weeks standard time off before the baby comes. I went to Austria. Austria is nice. Do they take Americans?

They say “You should feel blessed and lucky to be 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby.”

What a lovely family you have.

What a sacred thing.

Well, it doesn’t feel sacred now, motherfucker.

It feels like work. Grueling, brutal work. It feels like relentless work, like the kind that robs you of your air and laughter and body. It feels like taunting teasing heavy heavy labor.

I wish they’d stop calling it sacred.

I wish they’d stop talking about motherhood like it’s some sort of gentle rainbow across a bucolic meadow. I wish they’d stop telling women like me who are barely doing it that “motherhood is the most important job in the world.”

Is that true? Is that really true? Then what does it mean that I suck right now? What does it mean that I just cannot pull it together and I probably won’t for at least 2 more months?

I am failing my kids. Myself. My husband.


The weight of the souls of 3 kids. Their futures. Their whole beings: It rests on me, right now, ME this broken human who hurts and took on too much and can’t or won’t do much of anything beyond getting through, barely, trying not to get mad today, to keep it under control when all I want is for it to end – RIGHT NOW – this pregnancy – this job – the finances and futures and laundry – I’m crushed under it all (And what were we thinking anyway? And will it be worth it and how will we handle it all?)

Are these lives really on my shoulders, right now? Am I all there is?


No. I don’t think I am, and I wish you’d stop making that shit up.

The fact is that motherhood is important, and my role in the lives of my kids cannot be diminished or overlooked or ignored, but it’s also a fact that sometimes humans suck and my kids will be just fine.

Sometimes this shit is sacred.


Sometimes it’s day after day of just pulling through and wondering when things will chill the fuck out again. Sometimes it’s wondering what exactly you were thinking. Sometimes it’s searching for the meaning in all this work, just like any other job.

Only with this job, you’re raising America. With this job, you break souls. With this job, the world looks at you and yells “YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF. Figure it out.”

Do you realize how insane that is? We tell women “motherhood is the most important job in the world” but then bash them for struggling with it.


Incidentally, it’s not the most important job in the world.

Let it go, people.

I am a mother, but I am a whole lot of other things, and right now, I am a woman who is totally and completely NOT FEELING IT.

Will that ruin my kids? Probably not.

Will that crush their little hearts? Doubt it.

Rather, they’ll probably learn that people struggle sometimes and battle personal demons and sometimes you don’t get the “best” version of a person. You get a piece of them. You get glimpses. You feel their love in splintered fragments, as it’s always been, because this is humanity. These are humans. This is as good as it gets for us.

Right now, I am the mother who doesn’t read stories.

I am the mother who can’t cuddle for more than a minute or two.

I’m the mother not tucking you in…getting you late to school, letting you watch too much TV, feeding you questionable dinners.

I’m the mother who doesn’t want to hear stories or endless toddler questioning and “what happened at school today?”

I’m the mother who doesn’t care.

I’m the mother not RSVP-ing to parties, forgetting commitments, not helping with projects.

I am the one irritated with the way the kids eat, the one telling them to brush their teeth because damn! That breath. Foul little creatures, really.

I am the mother finished, demolished, pulling herself up with nothing.

I go to bed.


I’m the mother in bed, who lies down at night and feels the weight of all these things, hears her own yells rattling in her gray brain, wishes she could be a woman who holds her fucking tongue and lets it go.

To preserve the sacred family. To stop messing with goddamn rainbow meadow and shit.

In 5 years she’ll be 16 years old. My first, nearly grown.

I turn my giant body and flinch at the pain of my back, and that thought.

In 10 weeks my toddler will gaze into the face of a new baby. She stomps in each morning “Can I cuggle (cuddle) with you?” I hold her though my bladder protests violently. In 10 weeks a baby will be in this bed too. Where will she fit? There will be times I cannot hold her. There will be times she is not the center anymore.

I close my eyes and hold those mornings.

I listen to my son breathe as he sleeps on my husband’s chest. I wonder how his first 2 weeks of homeschool went.

I realize it’s 5:30am.

I’m so tired.


I wish my love were enough, enough to make me the kind of mom who doesn’t cave sometimes, into some place only time can dissolve. I wish my love were enough to make me “strong enough” or good enough or pure enough or whatever the fuck it is that makes women capable of doing all this and feeling all this and finding themselves pinned to the ground by life and still, not yell at their kids. Turn off. Shut down. Crawl away.

Yesterday I read them The Tale of Tom Kitten.

Today maybe I will make some stir-fried chicken.

In 10 weeks I’ll birth a baby and find myself reborn too, with a gush of waters I’ll enter this family carrying a new extension of my heart, my blood, my life.

I’ll watch my family enfold him as they’ve done me, and I’ll kiss their heads with a whisper of thank you, for holding me as I trudge humanity. Motherhood. The shattered sacredness of today.


because they look like little rocker warriors.

because they look like little rocker warriors.


Where the hell is my glow?

by Janelle Hanchett

I’m 27 weeks and 1 day pregnant. You would think I’m in Peak Glow Zone. But I’m not. I think somebody has stolen my glow.

Somebody has stolen my glow and replaced it with hemorrhoids.

What? Too much information? TELL ME ABOUT IT. It’s too much information FOR ME and I’m the one dealing with it. I know things about myself I’ve never wanted to know. Regions of my body that should be ignored at all costs have become the central focus of my day.

I have an idea. Maybe we can stop talking about this for a minute or two and instead, you can shoot me.


Oh that’s right. Old people and lucky pregnant women.

So you call your midwife and she’s like “Don’t use that over-the-counter stuff it’s got mercury in it” (you hang your head, having already used it for two days you are sure you ruined your baby with mercury poisoning) but then she suggests potatoes and you’re like “You want me to do WHAT with potatoes?”

I’m sorry. Is this unpleasant? Of course it’s fucking unpleasant. This is what I’m trying to tell you. I’m supposed to be glowing but instead I’m being told to do ungodly things with potatoes.

One thing I know for sure: My glow has definitely not been dimmed by sleep problems. I mean, provided I meet a few simple conditions, I sleep like a damn baby.
You know, as long as

I’m on my left side or my right side (but not either side too long)

and I’ve got a pillow between my legs

and one under my belly and

one to hug,

and I have eaten recently but not too recently because heartburn

and we have the rear bodily region taken care of

and I’ve peed within the last 15 minutes and

it’s not too hot and

there are no weird smells in the air

and my husband isn’t snoring

and the dog isn’t snoring either and there aren’t offspring taking up the bed and making me really super fucking hot and the

baby isn’t poking my bladder with one of its 12 limbs

and it isn’t between the hours of 2 and 4 because those hours are for thinking not sleeping dumbass,

I sleep fine. I sleep great. I’m out like a motherfucking light.

Now that I think about it, there may be a small sleep issue harshing my glow.

Or maybe it’s the fact that my 3-year-old has recently learned the word “Never!” but not just never like standard never, she’s learned the never that’s stretched out, like “Neverrrrr!!” You know, the dramatic one yelled in response to the enemy force demanding that you “Surrender!” but instead you charge forward in brave defiance, wielding a sword and screaming “NEVERRRRR!”

And Georgia now says it about 174 times a day.

“George. Put on your socks.”


“Georgia, come eat your dinner.”


“Georgia. Say you’re sorry for ramming your finger up Rocket’s nose.”


That shit will fuck with your glow, I tell you.

I should be a soft picture of maternal beauty, but at some point my softness morphed into a walking ball of STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW or I may kill you. The other night at dinner I was literally going around the table telling each member of my family how they were eating wrong. As I was doing it, I knew it was insane.

Now ask me if I stopped.


Speaking of not stopping, maybe the glow diminishes with every empty carbohydrate you consume. If that’s the case, we have discovered the problem, folks. I’ve gained 35 pounds already (FUCK OFF SCALE) and it’s not healthy weight. I know this because I’m not eating healthy food. I mean I do sometimes. It’s not like I’ve consciously eliminated healthy food. I just supplement it with the occasional almond croissant. On occasion. Occasionally. Somewhat regularly.

Somebody give me a glow.

I haven’t bought any baby stuff because Jesus who has time for that shit?

I want to get excited but all I am is uncomfortable and tired and trying to figure out how the end of the third trimester has come 2 months early and how it is that my entire lower region is being held together by strings (that’s what it feels like, not actually what’s happening) and WHAT, exactly, compelled this whole circus.

I want to be glowing, but I’m a dim flickering bulb, barely doing its job and annoying the shit out of people.

The other day my husband watched our 3 kids walk out of the room and with a very serious face asked “Why did we think we needed another?” and the truth is I really couldn’t answer and NO it’s not that I don’t want this baby and NO it’s not that there’s any doubt in my mind that the second this child locks eyes with me and I inhale his (her?) heaven breath and watch the petal mouth root for my breast that I will think to myself “Oh. There you are. How did we make it this long without you?”

But for now, when I’m supposed to be “committing to a nursery theme” (we have no nursery) or joyously picking out a “going-home outfit” or planning a “baby moon” (what the fuck is a “baby moon?”) or laying around fantasizing all day about fingers and toes and dimpled elbows I’m like “Leave me alone so I can soak my ass in some Epsom salts.”

And then I hop onto Old Navy to buy my svelte little body some maternity clothes and I see this broad:


and while she’s skipping all joyous and shit like some sort of blond happy swan I’m like “Where’s the Metamucil, assholes?”

It’s all so hot. I’m just so hot.

My glow, it’s everywhere. In all the places.  Can you feel it? I’m a radiant ball of reproducing glory.

Somebody hire a photographer so I can take those maternity shots where the mom makes a heart with her fingers and holds it in soft sunlight over the gorgeous arch of her womb.

Yes. Please. Let’s do that. That will be cute. I feel so cute right now.

Can’t you see it in my face? The double chin? ANYWHERE? (No seriously I couldn’t even muster the energy to look away from the damn phone or attempt to “smile for the camera!” Couldn’t be funny. Couldn’t be cute. Could only push button.)

the face of joy

the face of joy

I’ve got 13 weeks to get my motherfucking glow back.


Think I can do it?