pregnant woman photoI've come to accept certain inevitable truths about pregnancy. You're bloated, like, 90 percent of the time. Your digestive system is completely out of whack, meaning you have to deal with all sorts of stomach-related unpleasantness that I'll spare you the details of for now (those who have never been with child, that is). You have this weird, painful, stretching sensation as you grow. You feel huge some days, especially after what you'd consider a normal-sized meal in non-pregnant times. Getting dressed in the morning becomes semi-traumatic. Your skin breaks out like it did when you were a pimply teenager. You get winded going up one flight of stairs like you will when you're 80. And some people are just rude enough to stare at your stomach but not offer you a seat on the train.

There is one symptom that's cropped up that I just can't live with, though. In fact, it may just drive me completely over the edge. 

I'm suddenly, incessantly, infuriatingly itchy. Not just on my stomach, but all over. It's constant and nagging and I have yet to find anything that really brings me any relief. It makes me feel like a wild cat with fleas or a New Yorker with a bed bug problem or a child with head lice. Translation: It's not fun. And it can make sleep somewhere between elusive and non-existent.

I've asked other moms about this and they all nod knowingly. Oh yeah, they say. I remember that. Itchy all over. It's just pregnancy, dearie. Keep drinking water and slathering lotion all over yourself. It only gets worse!

I've also taken to the Internet, and apart from a few scary warnings that it could be indicative of a more serious problem, the consensus is the same there too. Your skin is drier when you're pregnant, and on top of that it's stretching the way a balloon does just before it's about to pop. Both make you feel like insects are crawling all over you. Oh, the joys of expecting!

I've decided I'm going to start calling myself what my parents named one of their cats: Scratch.

Speaking of scratching, said literature also improbably tells you to avoid doing it or the situation only gets worse. I'm sure they're right, but what kind of idealistic tip is that? What's the alternative: Hopping up and down? Squirming? Rubbing up against a tree? Great advice. Thanks!

What's weird is it seems to get worse when it's raining. I've taken to closing the windows at night and putting on the AC even when it's cool enough to go without. That seems to help. A little.

In the meantime, I'll keep downing bottle after bottle of water and lathering up with lotion a few times a day. I'm even starting to get used to feeling like I have the chicken pox all the time. And I know all this itching and scratching won't be in vain. In the end, when I'm rocking my baby in my arms, I'll look back and realize it will all have been worth it.

What was your most annoying pregnancy symptom?

 

Image via futurestreet/Flickr