Knocked Up Together: 5 Perks of A Preggo Friendship

The sun is peeking through my poorly drawn curtains, which means that somehow I made it through another sleepless night.

My lower back hurts so much that moments ago, I made the painful decision to fat girl tuck-and-roll into an upright position just so I could get some relief.

Standing at the foot of my bed in dizzy agony, I clutch my phone and begin to type.

Got up too fast, now I have lightning crotch.

I know she’ll sympathize.

It’s 6:45 a.m.

Friends Who Get Knocked Up Together, Stay Together

I met J in the fall of 2012 when fate brought us together in the form of medical office administration at one of our city’s major hospitals.

We quickly bonded over our mutual disdain for 9-5 wage slavery, fluorescent office lighting and Microsoft Outlook. Sadly, we both suffered early miscarriages a short time later, but it wasn’t until we became pregnant again only weeks apart the following year that a true friendship was born.

2014

There’s something particularly comforting and familiar about experiencing pregnancy – especially first-time pregnancy – alongside a good friend. Pregnancy can be a scary, isolating experience, especially if you’ve experienced complications and/or loss. Having someone in your corner – someone who simply gets it – can mean the world.

Two adorable toddlers, two subsequent losses, and two healthy pregnancies later, we’re both back at it, and I couldn’t be happier to share this journey with her once again.

2017

In addition to sending early-morning nonsense texts with absolute impunity, here are my top 5 perks of a preggo friendship:

1. You’re allowed to incessantly complain 24/7 without feeling the least bit sorry. As a lifelong pessimist and self-admitted chronic complainer, I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to constantly gripe and grumble to someone else without feeling like a complete and total burden. Backaches? That’s a grumblin’. No sleep again last night? That’s a grumblin’. An hour-and-a-half wait at the OB’s office? Oh you better believe that’s a grumblin’.

2. No fear is too small. I’ve written about fear before. It’s crippling, and a lot of the time, it’s far too easy to go down the rabbit hole of dark – and sometimes irrational – thoughts. No matter what we’re feeling in the moment, we always know that no fear is too small to share with one another. Sometimes, simply saying it out loud makes it all seem a little less scary, and that can make all the difference in the world.

3. Advice and experience-sharing isn’t obnoxious and condescending. Fortunately for me, J’s little girl is a few weeks older than my little boy, so whenever I have a question about behaviour or development, I simply ask about her experiences. Frankly, I’ve learned more about the subtle nuances of parenting from her than anything I could have read in a book or online. The best part? Her advice is 100% sanctimommy-free.

4. Maternity leave just got a whole lot more fun. Sometimes, simply daydreaming about spending maternity leave together is enough to pull me out of my pregnancy funk. While it’ll undoubtedly be complete and total chaos most days, I know we will both welcome it with open arms. No TPS reports until 2018 for these gals!

5. TMI is just a formality at this point. Finally, oversharing in any form simply doesn’t exist between us. We’ve literally seen and heard it all. Sometimes, as a formality, one of us will say, “TMI” in advance of sharing something gross and/or embarrassing, but we both know that truly, nothing is off the table. How liberating!

Less Stuff, More Food: Why The Food Shower Is Where It’s At

This past weekend, my aunt threw me a small, intimate baby shower to celebrate my second little boy who is currently roundhouse-kicking his way across my uterus.

Now you may be wondering: but Becca, you don’t seem like the type of humble, agreeable human being who would enjoy such festivities, so what gives?

It’s true.

I don’t particularly like showers of any kind, including – but not limited to – ones that are thrown in my honour. However, due to the past and present generosity of both friends and family, my tiny black heart has managed to grow several sizes.

This weekend was no exception.

The theme of this shower – and by “shower”, I mean “a relaxing, casual afternoon surrounded by close friends and family sipping wine and eating gourmet sandwiches” – was food.

Food: literally the best part of life.

Food: get in my fat, disgusting pregnant belly.

Food: listen, I can’t stop eating … no seriously you guys, I have a problem.

The Food Shower

The Food Shower is hands down, the most brilliant way to help out second-time moms since rich people invented the nanny.

In lieu of gifts, tacky games, and similar standard baby shower fare, guests were instead asked to prepare and bring a meal that could be frozen, so my family wouldn’t have to worry about eating McDonald’s five nights a week cooking immediately after the baby arrives.

No cooking.

No grocery shopping.

No meal prep.

No dishes.

What new parent wouldn’t want that? Screw diaper cakes and games and registries – give me family, friends, and frozen meals any day.

So if you’re planning on throwing a mom-to-be – especially a second, third or fourth time one – a baby shower, consider this alternative to the standard nonsense.

Less stuff, more food.

You literally can’t go wrong.

Especially with a haul like this.

I’m Tired of Talking About It: Do I have Gestational Diabetes Or Not?

Are you as sick of reading about my potential gestational diabetes diagnosis as I am of writing about it?

You’re in luck, because this is the last time either of us have to endure it.

After a week of officially freaking out (mostly sulking), not sleeping (there’s a shocker) and eating healthy (barf-o-rama), I am happy–and frankly, a little shocked–to report that I do not have gestational diabetes.

Far from it, actually.

According to science, my fat, disgusting pregnant body is completely normal when it comes to insulin production and blood sugar regulation.

My Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) Results

So what gives?

Why all the unnecessary stress over nothing?

Only around 75% accurate

Last week, my midwife–rather unconvincingly–tried to assure me that the first test I spectacularly failed–the Glucose Challenge Test (GCT)–is actually only around 75% accurate.

Of course, I couldn’t take what a grown woman in overalls was telling me at face value without conducting my own research.

So I did, and it turns out she was right.

According to a study* conducted in 2012, if there are 100 women that actually have gestational diabetes, 74 will have a positive GCT test, and the other 26 won’t know that they have it. The 77% “specificity” means that if 100 random women test positive for GD, 23 of them (including me in this case) don’t actually have it.

Yo, science: listen up. There has to be a better option than putting us through this crap. On behalf of fat, disgusting pregnant women everywhere–please come up with a better plan.

I’ll leave you to it while I power through this box of Oreo thins over here.

No calls.

*Shoutout to my new friend and fellow toddler mom Sarah, who helped me make sense of the study. Women & Science, y’all. 

The Two-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test: Highlights, Lowlights and Vern

Because I’m a spectacular failure and soared well over the threshold for my one-hour Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) last week, I went back to the lab today for a second screening for gestational diabetes — the dreaded two-hour Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT).

As predicted, to pass the time, I once again live-blogged the entire thing.

But first, a little background.

WHY THE TWO TESTS?

In Canada, there are two screens for gestational diabetes, according to Diabetes Canada: the Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) and the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT).

The GCT involves drinking a sugary drink containing 50 g of glucose, and having your blood drawn an hour later to check your blood sugar level. The idea is to see how efficiently your body processes sugar.  If the reading is too high, you have to go back for a two-hour Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT), which involves more blood draws and a higher concentration glucose drink, to see whether you really do have gestational diabetes.

Okay, let’s do this.

8:00am: After 12 hours of fasting, my blood was just taken to establish a baseline. This is the first of three blood draws I will have this morning. I feel lightheaded already and I haven’t even choked down the glucose drink. 75 g this time, vs 50 g last time.

Cheers.

8:30am: Since I’m going to be here a while, I wasted no time in making new friends.

Meet Vern.

Vern is a year-and-a-half-old yellow lab whose likes include wandering around sniffing everyone’s crotch, whining impatiently when he’s not being directly spoken to, and delicious pocket treats generously dispensed by his human, James. I’m not sure of the specific medical reason James has for needing a service dog like Vern, but I kind of want the same diagnosis because Vern is a really, really good boy. If he wasn’t so obviously serving a legitimate medical purpose, I would be currently orchestrating an elaborate plan to kidnap him when James gets up to get his blood drawn. We’d start a new life together, Vern and I, full of frolic and fancy. Take me out of this place, Vern. Take me far away.

9:00am: It’s time for my second draw to see how I’m reacting to the early morning sugar dump into my bloodstream. If last week is any indication, my guess is not well. Vern, send me all your strength.

Wait for me on the other side, pal.

9:15am: My favourite lab tech — a no-nonsense Jamaican hurricane named Karen — is here today, and we had a good chat as she expertly stuck a needle into my bruised arm. Shortly before my name was called, an irate eastern European lady sitting across from me began to sass-mouth her and Karen was having NONE OF IT. Her professionalism shone through like the class act that she is, but I swear, she was seconds away from Lab Lady Smackdown 2017 on this horrible woman. Team Karen all the way — I’d ride with her into battle any day of the week. Vern informed me he is also on Team Karen.

9:30am: To everyone’s dismay, Vern has departed the lab, dutifully following his human, James, out the door. No one is more devastated than I am. How will I make the last leg of this journey without you, Vern?

I’m never washing these pants.

9:45am: Janet Jackson is blasting in my earphones. If this woman can dance like it’s her last day on earth and pop out a baby at 50, I can handle a secondary test for gestational diabetes at 33.

10:00am: Karen beckons. It’s time for my third and final blood draw. I’m not sure I want to do this without Vern to come back to. I’m not even sure that I can.

10:30am: It’s over, and now we wait. Special shout-out to Vern, for giving me the support I needed during this difficult time. Full disclosure — today, I’m eating like there’s no tomorrow, because in mere hours, I’ll probably have a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and it’ll be, at the very minimum, a strict diet of vegetables and chicken from now until July. This is unbelievably devastating for reasons I’m not quite ready to acknowledge, so in the meantime, I’m going to savour these Toaster Strudels like I’ve never savoured anything before.

Bon appetit.

Three Mugs

This past Christmas, we surprised the grandparents with the announcement of a new baby on the way.

I came up with the idea of sharing the news via personalized mugs, each containing an ultrasound photo. I bought the mugs, and I printed the photos. I carefully wrapped each mug in colourful Christmas cheer, and presented it to each of them on Christmas Day.

It went off without a hitch.

There was joy, and there were tears.

There were only three mugs.

five years

Five years ago today, my father passed away. It’s been 1,826 days, and I still don’t talk about him much. I’ve written more words down than I’ve ever said aloud, and that suits me just fine.

I still think about him, though.

Mostly, I think about what he’s missed, what he’s missing, and what he will continue to miss as my life — and all of our lives — continue on. I think about my anger surrounding his illness and death, and yes, I still curse to high hell the grief that just never seems to subside.

As I lined up those three mugs on Christmas Day, I felt robbed and empty and gutted, but nobody could know. Especially not my mother, whose solitary Nana mug stood bravely in obvious isolation to those of her co-grandparent counterparts.

Robbed because he’ll never get to meet my sons.

Empty because he never got to see me become a mom.

Gutted because I know he would have loved my kids more than anything in this world, and he never got the chance.

But when I became a mom, I spent some time reflecting on being a part of the Dead Dads Club as a parent. Here are my top three pieces of advice to fellow club members with little ones, or little ones on the way:

1. Stop feeling let down by good things.

Creatively revealing my pregnancy to my mother and in-laws over the holidays should have been fun, but it just ended up feeling insincere and forced. I felt like a giant, phony ball of excitement as I plastered on a fake smile, waiting for their reaction. I was too focused on who wasn’t there, and not focused enough on who was. I ignored their joy, and focused on my misery instead. So if you’re standing where I am right now, stop looking through each one of life’s milestones with grief coloured glasses. You can’t go back. You can only keep living your life. The good things — I mean the really good things — don’t come around very often. Cherish them.

2. It’s okay to feel cheated.

I hate that my dad never got to see me become a mom, but what hurts even more is my sons won’t grow up to know him. I got 29 years with him, but all they’ll get are faded photographs and grainy, 80s-era home movies. But that’s life, and life isn’t fair. It’s a sobering reminder, and it’s helped me to appreciate what I do have a lot more. Yes, I’ve been robbed. But I’ve also been blessed. See #3.

3. Remember that they’re still here, in a way.

Though I’ll never again hear his voice, see his face, or surprise him at the holidays, my dad is still here, in a way. I get to see him every day. No, he didn’t get a mug this past Christmas — but he got something that nobody else did. Something infinitely more valuable.

He got his smile.

And nobody — even death — can take that away from him.

My Fat, Disgusting Pregnant Body Was Tested for Gestational Diabetes Today, and I Live-Blogged The Entire Thing

There comes a time in every fat, disgusting pregnant woman’s life when they have to drink the Kool-Aid.

That’s right, folks: it’s Gestational Diabetes testing time!

I’m blogging to you live from Gamma Dynacare Labs here in beautiful, sunny Ottawa, Ontario. Just kidding. It’s -6 and we are expecting 15 cm of snow today. Ottawa: where happiness comes to die.

For the next hour, you’ll bear witness to my sleep-deprived, sugar-infused ramblings as I yammer on about what I can only predict to be intolerable nonsense, including, but not limited to: pregnancy grievances, general malaise, and petty insults I bestow upon my fellow unsuspecting lab-goers waiting alongside me in this stuffy, overcrowded waiting room.

I’ve been gone for a minute, after suffering an incapacitating virus and an almost inconceivable lack of sleep. But I’m back, and better than ever. (Just kidding, I had less than 4 hours of sleep last night and I’m pretty sure I blacked out on the drive over here).

What exactly is gestational diabetes?

I’m glad you asked. According to The Canadian Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes (GD) occurs when your fat, disgusting pregnant body can’t produce enough insulin to handle the effects of the growing baby and changing hormone levels. If your fat, disgusting pregnant body cannot produce enough insulin, your blood glucose levels will rise, which can pose a health risk to both you and your baby.

Before we get started, I highly recommend you head on over to my previous failed blog, Mandatory Sobriety, to get the low-down on this whole GD thing, and find out what happened to me last time. Then meet me back here.

I’ll wait.

Okay, everyone settled? Bottoms up!

Glucose drink

8:15am: Well, good news. I managed to down my glucose drink without throwing up, which is legitimately no small feat for a significant portion of the pregnant population. As I sat down to consume my sugary breakfast, I was joined by a fellow fat, disgusting pregnant woman who proceeded to challenge me to a drinking contest. Obviously, she had no idea who she was up against. Lady, I’m a former high-functioning alcoholic. You don’t stand a chance. Needless to say, I absolutely destroyed her.

8:30am: My fetus seems to be responding in a rather agitated manner to the elevated amount of sugar I’ve consumed. Frankly, I’m surprised, since a typical breakfast for me includes two Toaster Strudels, a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a bagel, cinnamon sticks, the most sugary fruit I can find and one time I even popped open a can of Coca Cola because when you’ve had less than 4 hours sleep, don’t drink coffee and work full-time, you resort to some desperate measures. My fat, disgusting pregnant compadre is playing Candy Crush.

8:45am: Have you ever had the unfortunate luck of being seated next to a crying baby on a flight? The equivalent of that has to be being seated next to a sniffling adolescent in a blood lab. This kid, who I’ve affectionally labeled Dopey, posted up next to me about 10 minutes ago and I actually counted the amount of sniffles in the span of one minute: it was a staggering 56! Dopey, dude. C’mon. Get a tissue. I’m not playing, and my compatriot over here isn’t, either. We are two pregnant ladies on a mission not to rage-throw up our glucose drink, and I will choke a teenager if that’s what it takes to get a little peace and quiet around here. The court would throw out my case. My companion has closed her eyes and seems to have slipped into a glucose coma.

9:00am: It’s getting down to the wire. My fetus appears to be freaking out, throwing punches and elbows and possibly a butt cheek or two, I don’t know. I’ve been informed that in addition to not being allowed to eat, drink, or even leave the lab for the duration of my test, I’m not even allowed to pee. On the real, if my little womb buddy continues to Riverdance on my bladder, there’s going to be a clean up in aisle 4 situation all up in this Dynacare. My pregnant partner in crime woke up from her trance, but I’ve since discovered that she does not speak English, so we’ve resorted to communicating using elaborate hand gestures and dank memes.

9:15am: What the hell is taking so long? It’s officially been an hour, Dynacare. I’m getting pretty fed up of staring at this waiting room of blank-faced sickos and breathing their contaminated air. I’ve also grown weary of my foreign friend. She seems more interested in crushing candy and less interested in playing a game of Date, Marry or Kill with me and our waiting room population. What a buzzkill.

9:20am: My name has been called! Off to get poked with a needle. PEACE OUT YOU SAD, SICK SACS. And to my fellow gestating glucose buddy, may the odds be ever in your favour.

9:30am: What better way to celebrate the successful completion of yet another gestational diabetes test than a wholesome breakfast at McDonald’s. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my GD journey, as I’m sure to have failed this initial test spectacularly.

To My Newly Pregnant Friend

Image courtesy of Babycentre.

You’ve been waiting for this for so long, and it’s finally here. It probably doesn’t even feel real at this point.

But holy crap, you’re pregnant!

I couldn’t be happier for you, and I am so thrilled you are joining me on this journey. We’ve been on this adventure together before, and we’ve had many since. There have been ups and downs, but today, everything is up. Everything is good. I want to celebrate and shout it from the rooftops. There are so many things I want to say, and there are some that I know I don’t need to.

I don’t need to tell you how exciting this is.
I know how hard it was for you to get here, to this place. How frustrating this journey was, and how much you had to sacrifice. But it paid off, and nothing can compare to that feeling: the joy of a brand new life, the simple thrill of things finally working out, and the quiet anticipation of the days ahead. Hold onto that excitement, because frankly, you are going to need it.

I don’t need to tell you how scary this is, either.
More than anyone, you know the flood of emotions that comes barrelling in the second that line turns pink. For most women, it’s a moment of pure, utter joy. But for women like us, it’s a little more complicated. After the initial shock, there’s a brief moment of happiness, which quickly melts into fear. Overwhelming, crippling fear. Will it happen again? And will I survive, if it does? Let these feelings in, but don’t let them win. Don’t let them stamp out your joy.

I don’t need to tell you that there are going to be some dark days.
Any pregnant woman will tell you that pregnancy isn’t full of sunshine and rainbows. It’s certainly not “glowing” for many of us, and it can be a long, uphill battle physically and mentally. We both know how easily the mind drifts to dark places during those first few weeks, and I won’t sit here and tell you that it won’t happen again–because it will. It will happen many times. But don’t worry — you’ve got this.

I don’t need to tell you that the darkness doesn’t last.
You’ve been down this road before, and you know just as well as I do that there will be days where you feel like you can’t face anything, or anyone. This darkness will come and go, but I promise you it won’t last. Remember that, when you’re in it. When it seems like it’ll never end, remember that it always does. You’re living proof.

I don’t need to tell you that this is going to test your relationships.
Family and friends can be your rock, but they can also make you feel like you’re sinking. It’s not their fault — often, the people who love us the most are the ones who come up short. Lean on the ones you can trust, and leave out all the rest. They will understand. And if they don’t, that’s on them.

I don’t need to tell you this might also affect your work.
At the end of the day, I know you take pride in your career, and care about doing good work. But this is going to test that. In the coming weeks, you’re going to be exhausted, preoccupied, and most of all, careless. You’re going to be frequently absent for appointments and tests, and the worst part is, you’re going to make mistakes and maybe even fall behind. Just remember to take care of yourself, and do the best you can. It’s all we can ever do.

I don’t need to tell you that nothing is guaranteed.
This one hurts the most to write, because we both know how true it is. I promise that I will never be the friend who tells you to “hang in there,” or “it will be okay,” because I don’t know for sure that it will. Nobody does. I do know, however, that today, you are pregnant. Today is a good day. Hold onto that while you wait for tomorrow to get here.

I don’t need to tell you that I get it.
I get it all–every last hope, fear, frustration and sprinkle of joy peppered in between. If anyone gets exactly what you’re feeling in this very moment, it’s me. So whether you’re scared about a loss of symptoms at 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning, or having trouble deciding on names for your new baby the day I go into labour, know that I will be there to answer the phone. I’ll always be in your corner since you’ve been in mine pretty much since the day we met.

And in a few short months, you’ll have another person to look out for.

Lucky kid.

Gender Reveal Part 1: I mixed my own urine with baking soda so you don’t have to

Before we begin, I’d just like to state for the record that I am a firm believer in science.

I consider old wives tales – or alternative science – to be thoroughly asinine, which is why I decided to waste my time and energy testing a bunch of them to see if they can predict a baby’s gender. (My guess is a hard ‘no’, but stranger things have happened, like that time my cat decided to go vegetarian).

On Friday, science will confirm whether I’m having a girl fetus or a boy fetus, so in the meantime, let’s screw around with some silly charts, experiments, and good old fashioned folk tale folly to see what they say.

Old Wives Tale #1 – The Chinese Gender Predictor

The Chinese gender predictor calculation is based on the lunar month of conception and the mother’s age (both based on Chinese calendar) at the time of conception. For me, the lunar month – not to be confused with the actual calendar month – was 9,  and my lunar age – not to be confused with my actual age – at conception was 34.

For this one, I wanted to be sure I was doing it right, so I used two different calendars from two different sites. Both gave me the same result: girl.

Here are the results from YourChineseAstrology.com:

chinese-gender-predictor-2016

And here are the results from TheChineseBabyCalendar.com:

calendar-edited

OLD WIVES TALE #2 – THE MAYAN GENDER PREDICTOR

I’m an equal opportunist, so I’m not letting the Chinese take all the credit.

What do those pesky Mayans have to say?

Well, for starters, they keep it simple.  According to TheGenderExperts.com (more on them later), here is their simple predictor:

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-3-47-18-pm

My age at conception was 33 (odd), and the month of conception was October (calendar month 10, even).

Here’s another way to view it:

mayan

The Mayans say boy.

Tie game. Let’s keep going.

OLD WIVES TALE #3 – FETAL HEART RATE

Another popular, yet highly unscientific gender predictor uses heart rate of the fetus. According to this one, a girl will have a consistent heart rate of 140 beats per minute or higher, and a boy will have 140 or less.

At just under nine weeks, I was able to pick up my baby’s heartbeat on my home doppler. Check out that impressive little mini ticker, clocking in at nearly 145 beats per minute:

Most recently, at my midwife appointment on Thursday, my now 18-week-old womb warrior’s beats still came in at a solid 145 bpm.

Let’s call this one girl, but by the skin of her teeth.

OLD WIVES TALE #4 – The baking soda test

That’s right, I peed into a cup of baking soda for the purpose of this blog. I’m not even getting paid to do this – that’s how dedicated I am to my craft.

I PEE FOR FREE, PEOPLE!

The theory behind this one suggests that the gender of the baby changes some of the hormones in the mother’s body, which may then change some of the acid content of her urine. This experiment first instructs you to add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to a glass or cup. Author’s note: I used a disposable paper cup, because I’m not disgusting.

Once you have your baking soda, you’re supposed to pour some of your urine in there. If the combination fizzes, like a soft drink that has been shaken up, then you are having a boy. If there is no reaction at all, you’re having a girl.

There was no fizzing in my cup. A tiny bit of white foam formed, but it stayed flat otherwise.

We’ll say girl for this one too, given the extreme lack of fizz.

OLD WIVES TALE #5 – Nub Theory

Fun fact: did you know that boys and girls both start out with the same little doodad down there?

That’s right – all babies regardless of sex have something called a genital tubercle in the initial stages of development, which is sometimes referred to as a ‘nub’. Gender is determined at conception, however, sometime between 9 and 13 weeks, the sex organs begin to differentiate into male or female. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “in a comparatively late stage of embryonic life, the genital tubercle of male embryos encloses the urethral canal and becomes the penis; in female embryos it remains small and becomes the clitoris.”

In other words, by 13 weeks, a little penis or a tiny clitoris has developed, but will likely not yet be visible on an ultrasound. Most women wait until around 18-20 weeks, where it is fairly unmistakable.

The ‘Nub Theory’ of determining gender states that it is possible between 12 and 14 weeks to accurately predict gender. This is done by analyzing the angle and shape of the nub. The scan must be in profile view, to allow viewing of the spine, and the nub’s relationship to it.

The below example shows how this is “calculated”:

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-9-00-57-pm

This brings me back to TheGenderExperts.com, mentioned earlier. They are a group of self-described “experts” that offer a variety of methods to determine the gender of your baby, even as early as 6 weeks.

Nonsense, right?

Well, for the low low cost of $7.99, I decided to put them to the test. Shortly after my 12 week ultrasound, I submitted my scan (below).

I got the following response less than 12 hours later:

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-4-35-19-pm

These self-identifying “experts” say girl, and they do so with a bold 83-92% accuracy claim.

SO, WHAT’S THE TALLY?

Out of my five chosen alternative science gender predictors, four predict girl.

Check back on Friday when I reveal who was right, and who was wrong in the exciting conclusion tentatively titled: GENDER REVEAL PART 2: BUT REALLY THOUGH, SCIENCE.

 

I stopped wearing makeup to work and so should you

Since entering the rat race ten years ago, I have held five full-time jobs.

Now before you try to calculate exactly just how much of a professional flight risk I am, peep this stat: up until this year, I’ve never gone a day without wearing makeup to every single one of those jobs.

Sick as a dog?

Full head of makeup.

Hungover to the point where I probably shouldn’t have even driven to work?

Full head of makeup.

Literally about to give birth right at my desk?

Full head of makeup.

I’m talking the whole gamut – liquid foundation, concealer, powder, blush, bronzer, eye shadow, mascara and lip gloss. At this point, I’ve probably put the founders’ offspring from Shopper’s Drug Mart, Sephora and MAC’s through college.

I get up at six o’clock in the morning just to give myself enough time to shower and put on my predominantly drugstore-brand façade that in theory, is supposed to present me as a human female, but in reality, probably makes me look a lot more like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show.

mimi

Screw the extra sleep. Screw breakfast. Time to look club ready as I sit hunched over in a windowless office surrounded by cheap fluorescent lighting for the next eight hours!

When I became a mom, wearing makeup every day to work became harder and harder to justify, but I kept doing it anyway. Force of habit? Maybe. Lack of confidence? Likely. Self-absorption? Most definitely.

I recently started a new job (with a window office!), working for a small communications firm with an all-female roster of unbelievably talented powerhouses. Truthfully, for the longest time, I couldn’t fathom the president’s decision to bring me on board. I felt completely inadequate and legitimately questioned her sanity when it came to the hiring process.

But here’s the rub: when someone takes a chance on you, it’s probably not because they like the way you accent your cheekbones.

And as I got to know these women more and more, they made me realize something about myself that I’m ashamed to admit: I cared far too much about what people thought of my physical appearance, for far too long.

A decade too long, in fact.

See, my new colleagues didn’t care about my uneven skin tone, my blemishes, and oh-so-dark under-eye circles. They didn’t care if I moisturized, powdered my nose, or drew a line across my eyelids. They cared that I showed up, did a good job, and contributed to the company in a meaningful way.

So I stopped.

For the first time in a decade, I actually stopped putting makeup on every morning.

It’s glorious, guys. I’m as free as Alicia Keys, and I only wish I had the confidence – and the courage – to do this sooner.

Now, I get a few extra minutes of blissful slumber each morning. I don’t have to stare at my reflection longer than absolutely required. And the best part is I use the extra time in the morning to eat breakfast with my son before I wrestle him into his coat, pack his bag, and drop him off at daycare for nine consecutive hours.

Look, I’m not against wearing makeup at all – to work, or anywhere else. Not by a long shot. If we’re being honest, I haven’t given up wearing it to work completely: part of my job occasionally requires me to look like I’m not a homeless meth addict, so when duty calls, I’ll run a curling iron through my hair, put on a blazer, and gussy up my drawn, tired-as-all-hell mommy-mug.

And if I get the exceedingly rare opportunity to leave my house for a night out with my partner or my girlfriends, I refuse to subject them or the general public to my blotchy, ghoulish complexion. Besides, wearing makeup makes me feel good – it elevates my mood, and gives me a confidence boost that is so needed during these dark, exhausting pregnancy days.

I’m fortunate. I have the privilege of working somewhere that I’m not required, nor expected, to put on filtered mask every day. Many professional women don’t have this luxury, and I cannot overstate how grateful I am to be part of a team that nurtures this environment.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go let my toddler run his hands all over my face with absolutely no consequences.

Toddler hands don’t have germs, right?

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Watch Amy Schumer’s “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup” here.