When a woman finds out she's pregnant, she begins down a road of a wide range of thoughts and emotions, some which are valid concerns, others are completely irrational, paranoid delusions, all contribute to the volatile state of delicately fragile emotions beheld by the owners of abdomens swollen with new life around the globe. This is a bond we share which transcends language barriers, cultural differences and vast oceans.
After the reaction of a positive pregnancy test we usually walk around in a cloud of racing thoughts ranging from, "what will I/we name this little baby," to "I should make an appointment with the doctor," and a bazillion other ideas which are packed tightly into that space between a woman's brain and reality. This results in "pregnancy brain" whereby a woman will be driving down the interstate and completely forget what she's doing and why she's there.
And then it happens. Fear. No, I mean FEAR! Not the fear that there might be something wrong with the baby, not the fear that something could go awry. No, I'm talking about the kind of fear that stops you dead in your tracks and makes you form an escape plan beginning with a stash of money kept secretly and conveniently in your box of feminine supplies and a fully packed overnight bag behind the toilet just in case your fear comes to life and you suddenly have to purchase an anonymous flight to some distant and forgotten place like the jungles of South America to hide in shame among the indigenous people, clad in nothing more than a loin cloth and a small animal bone horizontally impaling your septum.
What could possibly cause these wide-eyed, insomnia-inducing, paranoid schemes, you might ask? I'll tell you. Horrific visions of mortification in the form of uncontrollable body functions. What if I poop when the baby is coming? Worse, what if my sweet husband, who doesn't even know my body is capable of such a disgusting and unclean process, witnesses this event? I will forever be marked with shame. I may as well walk around with a scarlet letter P on my sleeve because I will no longer be worthy of the dignity and status enjoyed by other women who have managed to completely conceal the fact that they even own such an offending orifice.
Another fear which startles a woman into forming an escape plan comes earlier in this process than the delivery room: What if I toot during s-e-x? This is of particular concern to me at this point in my pregnancy being that the swelling in my abdomen comes not from the development of new life but from bloating and gas. The aromatic, flatulent wind sock that I've become strikes FEAR into my heart, keeping me wide-eyed and feigning a headache to avoid the embarrassment which is eminent should we engage in intercourse. The thought has occurred to me that I could put on a video or soundtrack of trumpeting elephants and set a fan on the nightstand, aimed south but something tells me Josh might become suspicious. And rightly so; the sound of trumpeting elephants isn't exactly romantic background music.
These fears plague every pregnant woman from the primitive and forgotten tribes of South Africa to the porcelain dolls of the orient to the cheeseburger-hoarding Americans from sea to shining sea. But these are also the secrets that are not passed on. I am breaking an unsaid, sacred covenant among women to tell you of these woes. No been-there-done-that wiser woman ever tells the naive first-timer that she needs to come to terms with her back door and all of it's evils before considering allowing her husband into the delivery room. I don't know why but it's always been this way since the beginning of shame.