The World Doesn't Change Just Because You're Pregnant

pregnantWhen I found out I was pregnant, I was ecstatic, but I was also a little bummed initially. Of course, not bummed about the little baby growing inside of me, but bummed that I knew a whole host of things would be off-limits. And it was confusing.

Of course, I knew the obvious ones. No drinking. No soft cheeses, deli meats, etc. But there were things I had no clue about. And I found out that many of these "things" are hotly debated (whitening toothpaste, regular deodorant), but I just gave 'em all up. It might be a little nutty -- and a little inconvenient -- but I want my baby to grow in the safest place possible.

Unfortunately, I don't have control over everything.


Here's my story: This past weekend, I decided to treat myself to a facial. I had researched and read and spoken to cautious people, and it seemed like a regular ol' facial was perfectly fine to indulge in. So, that's just what I did.

Before laying back for my treatment, I spoke with the aesthetician about what I wanted done (just some cleansing, maybe a mask, nothin' fancy). I told her -- oh, I don't know, about seven times -- that I was pregnant, so she'd know that certain products were off-limits. "Yes, okay, that's fine," she kept repeating. But, something seemed off. So, I actually went as far as to say, "You know pregnant women can't use retinoids or salicylic acid, right?"

"Yes, okay, that's fine."

Twenty or so minutes into the facial, the woman applied a mask of some sort to my face. The more she applied, the more my skin started to tingle. And this wasn't, like, a mild fruit and enzyme kind of tingling feeling, this was a chemical-y kind of tingling feeling. I asked her what she had applied to me, and she said, "Salicylic acid mask."

My blood began to boil. My insides scrunched up into little balls. I stiffened my feet. But there wasn't anything I could do. The damage had already been done, and I was lying in a dimly-lit room with crap all over my face. I had no choice but to wait it out.

"Pregnant women aren't supposed to use salicylic acid," I gritted.

"It's fine, this is really mild," she replied.

Then she did something that pissed me off even more. She asked me if this was my first, and when I told her yes, she let out the tiniest guffaw, as if to say, "You have no idea. You're just being one of those women."

On my walk back to the train, I seethed. In the four months of my pregnancy, I have been so careful with everything I put in -- and on -- my body. For my baby. There are no "toxic cleaners" in my house. Everything is organic. Hell, I just bought a juicer. It was so f***ed up that some woman I'd never met crapped all over my precautions. Logically, I understood that, with the amount of time the mask was on my face, my baby is fine, but, still, I felt violated and ... totally not in control.

Then, as I walked through an unavoidable sea of secondhand smoke, it dawned on me that I can't control everything in my pregnancy. I can do everything to make a safe place for my baby, but doesn't mean I can avoid everything that's unsafe, because, you know, I live in the world. The facial was the first time, save for the inevitable clouds of smoke I try to dodge each day, that I felt so ... vulnerable as a pregnant woman. It was the most obvious, in your face example.

I started thinking about all the things I encounter each day that are hazardous -- the cleaning products used in my office, pollution, texting drivers when I'm visiting my dad in New Jersey. It's everywhere! And it's unavoidable!

Shortly after my mini-freak out, I thought about something a friend once told me. He said, "I can control about 10 percent of what happens to me. The rest is about how I choose to react to it." I need to heed that advice -- especially now -- and keep on doing what I'm doing, because the world ain't gonna change for me just because I'm pregnant. 

Also, I will never, ever return to that spa again.

What did you try to avoid when you were pregnant?



Image via dizznbonn/Flickr

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