Welcome to your last month of pregnancy, a magical time when biology helps you to overcome your new baby fears by making you so freaking uncomfortable, you'd reach in and yank that sucker out yourself if you could. You're not sleeping, you're peeing every hour, your back and bowling-ball-tummy ache, your feet and legs are like The Nutty Professor kind of swollen, you're sweaty and sticky and maybe even stinky -- yeah, you're a hot mess (oh, sorry, in that beautiful, glowing, what-a-miracle way).
At this point, you just can't fake it anymore. All the proper manners your mother taught you, the rules of decorum you've always followed, whatever it was that made you a lady -- so long! Now, you just gotta take care of you, girl!
With that in mind, here's a list of things that you just have to let happen at this point, either by necessity or to get you through. It's alright -- by the power vested in me by the state of being 36 weeks pregnant, I give all of us permission to ...
- Wear shirts with stains on them: You don't know how they got there. The shirt was clean when you put it on this morning. But, clearly, at some point during the day, food fell out of your mouth, tea dripped out of your mug, and now you've got crap all over yourself like a 2-year-old. Once upon a time -- like a few months ago -- that renegade schmutz would have cleared your belly. And once upon a time, you might have even had the energy to scrub that stain out. Now though? Pfffft. Wear that egg-sandwich-grease proud, mama, wear it proud!
- Eat ice cream straight out of the carton: Come on, both you know and I know that as soon as you open that Pandora's box (aka, the freezer), one reasonably sized serving of Phish Food just won't do. And you know that once you settle in on the couch, it's going to be too hard to get yourself back to the kitchen for a second helping. Don't even play like four ounces will satisfy you. Skip the bowl and grab a spoon.
- Use the word "vagina" in regular conversation: At no other time in life is the V-word thrown around so liberally, as women openly discuss their birth plans and share their own labor and delivery stories. Often, these convos go down with men in the room, which is awesome, because your partner loves hearing about vagina, especially when it's in the context of yours stretching to squeeze a baby out. Anyway, the discussion usually starts with, "Well, I had a natural, vaginal delivery and it really wasn't so bad." To which, you might respond with, "Oh, I'm hoping to deliver vaginally as well. Please, do tell me more." To which, she might follow-up with, "Happy to share the tale of how a baby came out of my vagina ..." And scene!
- Waddle: There's no need to fight it -- just let it happen. Put both hands against your lower back if you have to so others know how hard walking actually is.
- Be snide when you have to be: Only now have I realized how silly it is to ask, "Do they have any guess as to how big the baby will be?" With a 2-pound margin of error, seems like your baby could be a wee thing or Kong-sized. So I think it's perfectly acceptable to say something like, "The doctor thinks he's anywhere between 5 and 10 pounds. But, of course, that's an estimate."
- Wear the clothing equivalent of Granny panties: Maybe it's just me, but I've rediscovered some well-worn, cotton dresses in the back of my closet that are stretchy and flimsy and perfect in the summer heat. Sure, they may be fraying a little, they may kind of look like redneck house dresses, but I don't want to waste one of my cute maternity outfits on a trip to the market ... especially since there's a very good chance that whatever I'm wearing is likely to get stained (see #1).
- Crank up the guilty-pleasure tunes and sing your congested face off: Pretty soon, you'll have a sleeping baby to consider, so you won't be able to rock out to Roxette like you used to. So bust out your Britney Spears, the Monster Ballads, Neil Diamond -- it's your time now. You've literally got a captive audience in your belly.
- Cut the line when you must: No, no, pregnancy is no excuse to be a jerk ... but maybe, because you're 9 months pregnant, you didn't realize that the line went all the way back around the corner because, oops, your brain is so foggy, and yikes, you just really have to pee, and whoa, was that a contraction?
- Make a meal out of Costco samples: It's funny how wandering the aisles of your regular supermarket can feel so impossible, and yet, when it comes to scoring free food samples at Costco, you'll hit every corner of the place like it's a pinball machine. Spinach quiche? Why, yes, please! Taquitos? Si, si. Yogurt with trail mix? Delicious! Blueberry acai juice? I am so very thirsty.
- Tell yourself that you will wear a bikini again: As you stare at your pregnant body, naked in the mirror, it's okay to convince yourself that one day, you'll wear a two-piece again. Forget the fact that you never looked that good in one to begin with -- after the baby, when you've cut out carbs and have all of this time to work out and do crunches, you're going to look better than ever. And those stretch marks will go away, because that's what stretch marks do, right? You'll be like Gisele or Heidi Klum after baby, only more impressive because you're a real human and not a superhuman. And when people ask how you did it, you'll re-wrap your sarong around your six-pack abs and say, "Oh, I guess it's just good genes." Now isn't that so much more pleasant than imagining a big slab of loose flesh that wobbles when you walk? Uh-oh, here come the tears.
- Avoid picking things up: When wandering through a clothing store or baby store, your newly klutzy self may accidentally topple over a stack of folded tees or knock some hanging clothes off the rack. Have you actually attempted to reach down to the floor and pick those things up in your heavily impregnated state? Bet that was the last time you tried that one. Don't worry -- someone will get it.
- Spend an entire Saturday doing nothing: A big breakfast followed by a four-hour nap? Go for it! Is that a Real Housewives marathon? Someone's not going anywhere for the rest of the afternoon. Hey, enjoy it while you can.
- Burp, snore, whatever: I'm not saying I do any of this stuff, because that's totally gross and disgusting and, I mean, ew, there's a limit. But, I would say, hypothetically, if I were to be one of those pregnant women who maybe has heartburn and who, like, occasionally burps involuntarily, in public, that it would be because I couldn't help it.
- Ask your partner to do everything: Sure, you may have been a trooper all of this time, but now you're in the final stretch, and all of that cooking and cleaning and laundry you might have been doing in the last eight months is a helluva lot tougher. You're going to be even busier once that baby gets here, so you need your man to pick up the slack starting now. Explain it as spring training for the regular season.
- Bask in the attention: Yes, you're about to pop, and anyone just looking at you can see that. You're likely getting a ton of good wishes from friends, family, cashiers at the store, and total strangers. Revel in it, embrace it, take it all in, without shame! At no other time in your life will you feel quite this special -- what your body has done over the last nine months has been remarkable, and you should be proud. In another few weeks, no one will even notice you when you sit down at a restaurant or walk through a store ... unless, of course, they point to your still-fleshy, post-baby belly and ask, "Oh, so when are you due?"
What have you allowed yourself to get away with at 9 months pregnant?
Image via Memphis Foodie/Flickr