Harsh Advice to the Friends and Family of Pregnant People

When I got pregnant, I had very little experience being around pregnant people. As the eldest daughter of an eldest daughter, I’m the first in my family in this generation to have a baby, and none of my closest friends are married or have children yet. For someone who is an anxious wreck and hates doing new things, I’ve been pretty successful at always being the “first”—I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college and I even ended up with a graduate degree to really set a high bar for anyone to follow. And then I went and got pregnant with twins, which is a freak of nature—only 3% of live births are twins, and that stat includes pregnancies that resulted from fertility treatments, which increase your chance of multiples. So good luck to anyone who wants to one-up me! (Just kidding, it’s the Leo energy talking.)

The reason I preface this with my own story is that, even though some of what’s to follow is just common sense, I didn’t actually know any of it before I became the pregnant person in question. If I hadn’t been the first, I probably wouldn’t have known how to act, and I’m sure I would have made a lot of these missteps. I have made some of these missteps with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. So, partially for my own sake in the future and partially out of frustration over the past eight months of my own pregnancy, I have compiled a sort of Ten Commandments of respecting a pregnant person’s boundaries.

  1. Don’t touch them without asking. Actually, don’t even ask to touch them. Probably just respect their personal space.
  2. Don’t say things like “as long as the baby’s healthy” or “all that matters is a healthy baby.” This is ableist, stigmatizing, and shitty. Not every pregnant person is carrying a healthy baby, and that doesn’t invalidate their pregnancy. Don’t place a value judgment on a parent, or a person that hasn’t even been born yet.
  3. Don’t comment on their size or appearance. I mean, if you really want to you can give a compliment like “you’re glowing!” but please keep it vague and positive. You never know what complications or conditions a person might have that prevents them from lining up with an arbitrary idea of what “7 months pregnant” is supposed to look like. A personal example—people are constantly telling me that I look tiny for having twins, or that I look “better” than other women who are carrying twins (this is rude as hell and an extremely shitty thing to say about my homies in the struggle). Meanwhile, I’m living in a private hell struggling with my work/life balance and poor appetite, worried that my lack of weight gain will adversely affect my babies.
  4. Don’t pester them about when their OB appointments are or how they went. This is none of your business, no matter how close a relative you are. Only their labor support person or people need this information. You are not entitled to someone else’s private medical information. Your pregnant loved one will share what they want to share.
  5. Don’t suggest baby names unless asked. And DON’T pressure them to share the baby’s name if they’ve expressed that they’re keeping it private until the birth. This, again, is none of your business. You don’t get to have input. The pregnant person made a human life with their damn body and they can name their kid whatever they want, with or without your approval.
  6. Don’t come near them if you’re sick or unvaccinated. I don’t care if it’s the sniffles or “probably just allergies.” Pregnant people are immunocompromised and even minor illnesses can be dangerous for them or for baby. They also can’t take most over-the-counter medication, so if they do get sick, they’ll suffer more with symptoms. On this note: DO NOT COME NEAR THE BABY IF YOU’RE SICK OR UNVACCINATED. After my babies are born, my husband will be at our door with a clipboard checking your COVID vaccine card, making sure you’ve had your flu shot and TDAP, and providing masks and sanitizer. Babies don’t have immune systems and can’t get their vaccines right away. And whatever you do, even if you are healthy and sanitized—do NOT kiss the baby until after they get their 2-month shots and you’ve cleared it with the parents first.
  7. Don’t question their parenting decisions. If you had a baby five, ten, or fifty years ago, the pediatric guidelines have changed. There’s new research every day, and the pregnant person in your life knows what they’re doing. Just because you put your baby in a crib with bumpers and they turned out fine doesn’t mean we have to do the same. Survivor bias is a real thing, and we’re not going to put our babies at risk of suffocation or SIDS just to make you feel better about your decisions.
  8. For the love of God, don’t get weird about the baby’s gender. Don’t buy onesies that say things like “Stud” or “Ladies Man.” It is extremely gross to sexualize babies in this way. If you buy clothes with words on them, keep it as neutral as possible, like “Little Cutie.” All babies are little cuties. You can buy pink outfits with unicorns for girls and blue outfits with dinosaurs for boys (I get it, I’ve been in a Target recently), but don’t go over the top, and DON’T question a parent for dressing their child in something you don’t deem gender-appropriate. Like, a green sweater is a green sweater, regardless of what rack it was on in the store.
  9. You don’t get to have an opinion about their birth. If they decide to schedule a c-section, or get an epidural, it is none of your business. And if the pregnant person in your life is open enough to share their birth story or birth plan, do NOT tell them what you would have done in their shoes or what you plan to do when you give birth (if you’re also pregnant, then maybe you can do the latter, if you can say it without sounding judgmental of the other person’s choices). Sometimes the way we give birth isn’t even our choice. You don’t know someone else’s medical history. For instance, I’m in good health and a great candidate for a twin vaginal delivery, but things can change on a dime and I could end up with a scheduled or emergency c-section. And if that’s my birth story, I will have ZERO regrets, as long as the outcome is two babies.
  10. This one’s petty, but don’t buy them things that aren’t on the registry. Chances are, they did a lot of research and picked specific things for both their utility and their aesthetic, and getting them stuff they didn’t ask for and likely don’t need is a burden that fills their (probably) limited space with tons of baby crap they won’t know what to do with. And even if you do buy off the registry, include a gift receipt. Yes, you did the right thing, but someone who didn’t follow the rules might have given them a duplicate they can’t return.

Week Links [15 August]

So, in the past two weeks, I’ve rushed my cat to the vet thinking she was dying (she’s fine and was just dehydrated), my house caught on fire, and we bought an SUV. And those are just the highlights!

To briefly recap the fire, which is something that you never anticipate will happen to you: We had a plumber in swapping out our old steam radiators with a more modern system (I understand nothing about this, so that’s as specific as I can be). Apparently, when he was soldering the pipes in the basement, he must have singed the surrounding wood, because there was a lingering smoke smell. This wasn’t his first time at our house—he’d started the job months ago and he’d done our plumbing when our addition got built a few years ago—and there’s always a bit of a lingering smell, so I didn’t think much of it. But it hadn’t gone away by morning. Last Friday morning I woke up really early, ate a bagel, watched Ginny & Georgia, did a load of laundry, and outside of the smell, nothing seemed amiss. My washer and dryer are in the basement, where the fire was, and I didn’t notice any smoke. About 20 minutes later, my smoke detector started going off, and I walked into my living room to see smoke billowing up through the heater. I grabbed my husband, explained to him what was going on, called my father-in-law (who is the primary one doing the work on our house) and then, like an IDIOT, I ran down into the smoky basement to see what was going on. At no point did it occur to me to call the fire department, and what’s worse, I LIVE ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE FIRE STATION. I could have just gone outside and gotten help. I learned the very important lesson that I can’t be trusted in a crisis.

My father-in-law raced over in record time and ran straight into the burning basement. He was able to put out the actual flames rather quickly, because the fire was contained in the ceiling and hadn’t yet started to spread. I was banished outside with the cat to protect us both from smoke inhalation. I watched from the porch as he carried out smoldering chunks of wood and insulation with his bare hands. My husband helped clear the area near the fire, and was luckily able to save a ton of our photos and holiday decorations. Only one box of our actual possessions got destroyed, which I’m so grateful for. Once we’d aired out the upstairs sufficiently, I went back inside, grabbed some stuff, and camped out at my in-laws for a few hours to escape the smell and stay out of the way. As fires go, the actual impact was extremely minimal, but on the off-chance we hadn’t been home at the time, the whole house could have gone up with our cat inside. I was an evangelist for work-from-home before the fire, but now I think offices should be abolished entirely, if only to protect cats!

If we hadn’t experienced enough stress on Friday, the next day I decided to knock an item off of my endless baby-preparation to-do list—getting an estimate for my husband’s car. We knew we’d have to sell one of our cars and get something big enough to accommodate our growing family, but I didn’t expect a 10-hour total turnaround. The second I put the info into Carfax, my phone started blowing up with emails, texts, and calls from dealerships offering to appraise and buy the car (a 2005 Camry with 84,000 miles, for reference). Apparently the demand for used cars is insane right now. I made an appointment with a local dealership for 5:30 (the same dealership, incidentally, where my first car was purchased 18 years ago and my husband’s car was initially purchased 16 years ago). The appraisal didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but we were still offered a decent chunk of change for the car. We went to the lot and toured their inventory, but nothing I liked was jumping out at me. I was just about to tell the guy we’d take the cash for the car and come back another time to buy, when the car pulled up right beside us. I don’t know if it was being test-driven, or if it had just come in, but it was a jade green 2019 Toyota Highlander XLE with only 12,000 miles on it. 12,000 miles! Our runner up was a boring gray 2018 with 35,000 miles. The 2019 checked every single one of my boxes. The thing is a tank, but an extremely attractive tank. I hate big cars (I currently drive a 2019 Honda Fit), but between twins, their carseats, and the sheer amount of gear they require, I knew that we’d have to go for something that could grow with us, and the Highlander has a fold-down third row. It’s like a mini-van, without being a mini-van. I still want to absolutely vomit when I think about how expensive it is (last time I bought a car, it was the Fit after a trade-in, so I’m not used to making big, scary purchases), but Toyotas live forever, so we could have it until the kids are in high school.

see the whip pullin’ up i’m like skrrrr

So, basically, after a year and a half of being at home and doing nothing, all of our major life events happened at once, while I was 25 weeks pregnant.

  1. Binged Ginny & Georgia on Netflix. I’m obsessed and can’t wait for the new season.
  2. Treated myself to a total mom purse (the small Landon Carryall) during the Dagne Dover refresh sale. My color (Dune) is out of stock now, but they’re still 25% off! They’re re-releasing their baby bags, so I’m hoping to snag one for when my twins arrive!
  3. Did everyone know that Ulta released a Gilmore Girls-inspired line? I have every single thing in my cart.
  4. Rothy’s started making kids shoes? I’m firmly in the camp of not buying kids anything expensive until they stop growing but these will test my willpower.
  5. Ordered these as prescription sunglasses. I love a cat-eye!
  6. My cribs got put together! We went with the Babyletto Hudson model because it was really highly rated and super stylish. And when I say “we went with,” I mean that my husband’s gorgeous, generous, iconic cousins insisted that they give them to us as a gift. The generosity people have shown me during this pregnancy continues to absolutely blow my mind.
  7. This budget-friendly Mid-Century Play Set Makeover is so inspiring! I know I have to wait so long before my kids are actually old enough to play, but I’m so excited for that season of life.
  8. After hearing Elise on the A Beautiful Mess podcast, I treated myself to a Get to Work Book, a Project Breakdown Notebook, and a Perpetual Calendar Notepad. I have always wanted to become a planner person, so I challenged myself to keep up with a planner for a full month before I invested in a nice one.
  9. I read Kristen Arnett’s With Teeth and it has been a real…journey. I loved Mostly Dead Things, so I jumped at the chance to reserve her new book through my library, but I must warn you…maybe put off reading it if you’re pregnant or a new mom. It’s not a favorable portrayal.
  10. I’m having this animal print and this travel alphabet printed today to hang up in the Nursery. The room is so close to being done–I’m excited to share the finished product! It has truly been a labor of love…pun intended.

Week Links [July 24]

I’m 24 weeks pregnant today, on the 24th! I feel like stuff like that never happens (or at least, not since I turned 19 on the 19th of August, 11 years ago). 24 weeks is a big milestone, since the babies are now considered viable (meaning that if something were to go horribly awry and they needed to be born now, they’d likely survive). That sounds kind of bleak, but it’s actually really comforting to me! For the first time in 6 months, I’m fairly confident that my little cantaloupes are going to be a-okay.

I’m also turning 30 in a few weeks and I’m actually really excited! I’m kind of amazed I even made it through my twenties. In a few months, my life will be unrecognizable. It’s a nice parallel—I was born in 1991 and my kids will be born in 2021, as my life enters a new stage.

  1. Bowen Thee Yang has been nominated for an Emmy. The first featured player on SNL to ever be nominated. Bowen must be genuinely exhausted by all the history he has made at this point. I genuinely love every single actor who is nominated in his category (including Paul Reiser, though I have never seen The Kominsky Method), so however the voting goes, I’ll be happy. Bowen has been a shining light in my life for years and I love to see him get his flowers.
  2. Ted Lasso season 2 premiered yesterday and my body is ready. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve fallen so head-over-heels for a new show. And to think I almost cancelled AppleTV+ right before I discovered it.
  3. In honor of Ted Lasso, I will have to bake the biscuits.
  4. These pink glitter Christian Cowan collab Tevas might be simultaneously the stupidest and best thing I’ve ever spent money on.
  5. I’ve been reading (and loving) Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters.
  6. Madewell now has a Preloved shop! I knew they had a jean recycling program, but this is next-level. I’ll definitely be ordering (and then recycling) some maternity jeans because buying those new is expensive. I’ve kind of outgrown the Madewell aesthetic (there just isn’t a boho bone in my body, and boxy cuts don’t suit me), but I maintain that they have the best jeans in the game and I had missed wearing them!
  7. My husband and I started watching McCartney 3,2,1 on Hulu last night and it’s better than I could have imagined. It’s like it was tailor-made for my exact interests. I was thrilled to find out that “Michelle” was partially inspired by Edith Piaf’s “Milord,” one of my favorites! (La vie en rose came out while I was in high school, so I went through a big Little Sparrow phase).
  8. On the subject of McCartney (my favorite subject!) Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen has not disappointed. I’ve been eating some meat because it’s calorie and protein-dense which is important during pregnancy, but I am feeling the pull back towards plant-based living. It’s just what makes the most sense for me and my family, but you do you!
  9. Never Have I Ever season 2 is out! I absolutely love this show, which speaks to my eternal love for Mindy Kaling, since media about young people rarely interests me (ironic, considering I am currently manufacturing two young people). I Googled it and the actor who plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida is a few months older than I am (30) so it’s okay to think he’s ridiculously cute.
  10. Bought these chairs for my dining table. We currently have a pub-height table with 2 stools that won’t work for us once the babies arrive. I’m going to pair them with a cheap-ish Ikea table and upgrade once we don’t have little Tasmanian Devils running around our house. I mentioned Detransition, Baby earlier, and there’s a moving passage about how once women enter their 30s, dining sets become very important to them…I’m sure it was a condemnation of sorts, but I deeply related to it.
  11. Lately I can’t stop listening to The Kinks. I wonder if it has anything to do with the name we picked for our daughter…

Week Links [3 July]

Get pregnant, they said. It will be magical, they said.

I was lucky enough not to get morning sickness in the first trimester, just fatigue, but last week’s heat wave and humidity had me so sick that I was rueing the day I was born. Things are still touch-and-go, but I’ve started to feel them kick, so that kind of offsets how horribly pregnancy has been treating me recently. I’m officially 21 weeks today, and trying to figure out how I’m supposed to survive the next 15-17 weeks…

I’ve officially picked the babies’ first names, so I may do some sort of “reveal” on here (the closest I got to a “gender reveal” was posting a screenshot of my blood test results on Instagram stories accompanied by a gif of Homer Simpson screaming, so…)

As much as I may have previously been irritated by how myopic pregnant people become, how singularly focused on “the baby,” now that I’ve been there, I can attest that it is real. I think it has to be evolutionary, some sort of biological imperative to keep the fetus healthy by focusing ALL OF YOUR ATTENTION AND MENTAL/PHYSICAL ENERGY ON THE BABY. It’s all I can do to watch TV without also researching baby swing safety ratings. I’ve literally told my therapist that I’m exhausting myself with this, so I certainly don’t blame my friends or family for tuning me out for a while. I’m sure by this time next year, I’ll be begging for Sauvignon Blanc in an IV and a chance to be away from them for 5 minutes. One thing that’s really important to me is to not martyr myself in the process of becoming a mother. I’d like to remain myself, albeit with some small satellites orbiting me.

jean smart is a genius

Ugh, enough about me. It’s been an insane couple of weeks, hasn’t it? Between the Olympics being racist, Britney’s statement on her conservatorship, Bill fucking Cosby going free, and Rand Paul sending out an email with a dog-whistle typo in it, it truly feels like we’re living in the darkest timeline. I’m glad about having a long weekend, but proclaiming “Happy 4th” seems hollow at best, if not entirely tone-deaf. So…just enjoy your long weekend if you’re lucky enough to have one. You deserve to rest.

  1. Jack Black is the funniest person alive.
  2. I’ve been mainlining the show Workin’ Moms on Netflix and I really hope it comes back for a 6th season.
  3. When I finished Workin’ Moms, I devoured Hacks. If Jean Smart doesn’t win the Emmy, the entire institution should be shut down.
  4. I watched Girls 5 Eva in 2 days and I haven’t stopped singing the theme song since. A perfect show.
  5. I replaced my dishes and I’m really happy with the set I got. I bought two of these sets in teal (to make a makeshift service for 8). I paired them with these oversized mugs and these serving bowls.
  6. After much research and no success finding something cheaper that I actually liked, I have purchased the stupidly expensive, aesthetic coffee maker. The other contender was this coffee maker from Drew Barrymore’s line, but the adorable green color was out of stock.
  7. This may be my most “mom” purchase yet. I have to go as hands-free as possible because I’ll have a baby in each arm pretty soon.
  8. Excited to try this cheek and lip tint. I’m almost 30 and still haven’t really figured out how to wear makeup, so this kind of product is the only thing that will get me to wear blush. This one is my current favorite, but I have it in the color “Cherry Cosmos.”
  9. This week on Las Culturistas, Matt and Bowen sang this song, correctly calling it “One of the best songs of all time, one of the most beautiful women of all time, one of the great films.” I can’t even explain how many times I’ve watched this movie.
  10. I’m going to attempt to resist buying these, but these are THE most ’90s sandals ever. Everyone’s mom had sandals just like this. Giving me such Nine West vibes.
  11. Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino’s piece on Britney’s conservatorship made me rage-cry. It truly is a nightmare, a form of modern slavery. I hope that how high-profile this case is triggers reform throughout the legal system and proves a huge step forward for the rights of disabled people.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before Getting Pregnant

So, before I got pregnant, I considered myself to be very knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth. I’d read books, watched documentaries, listened to podcasts. I knew what an episiotomy is, and what the placenta does. But as it turns out, I am actually a big moron know-nothing of the Jon Snow school of ignorance. I went into pregnancy the same way I go into everything—with big Veruca Salt energy. I wanted the Golden Goose (to finally be a mom), and nothing was going to get in my way. I really thought that because I had strong opinions about Montessori toys, and because I had a pre-conception doctor’s appointment that confirmed me physically fit to breed, that I could “handle” pregnancy, newborn care, and parenting. For the rest of my life.

6/5/21

I’m reading the books and doing the work, but I definitely could have focused less of my energy on the process of getting pregnant (which for me apparently happens if I so much as make eye contact with my husband while I’m ovulating) and more energy on learning how to be pregnant, and the risks and challenges that come along with it. I didn’t factor in what it would feel like to sit in an office chair 8 hours a day, or what eating an extra 300-900 calories a day would actually entail. I didn’t consider how awkward it is to come up with a baby shower guest list, since you’re basically begging everyone you invite for either money or presents. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for the fact that it’s not a magical, earth goddess experience—it actually rather sucks and I’m definitely never doing it again. Here are some of the things (from the serious to the silly) that I wish I’d thought about before taking the plunge, although, let’s be real—even if I had known all of this, I’d still have made the same decision 100 times over.

  1. It could be multiples. Even if they don’t run in your family, and even if you don’t undergo any fertility treatments, you could end up with twins, or even triplets (hello, This Is Us). I didn’t even consider twins to be a remote possibility—only 3% of live births are twins, and that can largely be attributed to the increase in IVF and other treatments. The chances of conceiving twins naturally is only about 0.004%. But 0.004% is not 0%. Before you slip on your sexy bra and pee on the ovulation strip, be sure to make peace with the fact that you could be getting more than you bargained for.
  2. You have to pee constantly. I knew this about pregnancy, but I always thought it was something that happened later due to pressure on your bladder. Nope! Apparently, right from the get-go, the increase in progesterone makes you feel the urge to pee 1,000 times a day. It ebbs and flows (I’m about halfway through my pregnancy now and it’s not as bad as it was), but it’s incredibly inconvenient, especially, as I discovered, when you’re trying to spend the day lounging in the pool.
  3. There is zero consistency in symptoms person-to-person or pregnancy-to-pregnancy. I was hardly sick a day, and everything I read said symptoms were especially horrendous with twins. I also never got that second trimester “boost” I was supposed to feel—I’m tired and uncomfortable all the time, since I have twice as much going on in there. I also still haven’t developed an appetite, even though everything I read, especially about multiples pregnancies, says you get hungry all the time after the morning sickness goes away. I’m only about 3 lbs. heavier than my average pre-pregnancy weight at 19 weeks. So, basically, there is no way to possibly prepare for being pregnant, other than becoming Buddha-level enlightened and being able to truly roll with the punches.
  4. No one tells you…anything. This may vary widely; I’m sure that pregnant people seeing an MFM doctor or who have higher-risk pregnancies get more face time with medical professionals, but since I am, against all odds considering my utter disdain for exercise, healthy as a horse and the babies are thriving, my actual OB appointments are about three minutes long. I’m hoping that, as I progress, I get looped in about important things such as, “What do I do when I go into labor?” and “When the hell exactly am I supposed to have these babies?” Beyond that, since I’ve barely ever met a baby in my life, is someone going to teach me how to actually take care of a newborn? Is that what pediatricians are for? It seems wildly irresponsible and vaguely illegal that they’re just going to let me give birth to these children and then take them home without making me demonstrate any sort of competency at childrearing. It’s harder to adopt a dog, much less a human child.
  5. Maternity clothes are boring. I was actually kind of excited about buying maternity clothes before I got pregnant, but the actual experience has been a total downer. Basics, like long tank tops, are affordable and can definitely be worn after pregnancy, but anything that even approximates stylishness is pricey, and in my opinion, it’s insane to spend money on things with a limited sartorial shelf life. My advice, especially to women not having multiples, is to take advantage of the existing flowy/stretchy stuff in your wardrobe and do your best to skip maternity clothes altogether. Since I’m going to be enormous, I can’t avoid it, but I’m trying to stick to things that I can wear for at least the first year postpartum.
  6. Pregnancy is essentially a temporary disability. I’m very fortunate to be a healthy and able-bodied person, so never in my life have I felt more empathy for differently-abled people than during pregnancy. I knew I couldn’t lift anything over 25 lbs., but I didn’t exactly do the math on how that would impact things as basic as grocery shopping. I also run out of energy performing simple tasks like folding laundry, and my center of gravity is already starting to shift, so I constantly have to be careful not to trip or run into things (I’ve always been a fairly long-limbed clumsy person covered in bruises). Low-impact movement/exercise is really encouraged during pregnancy, but I’m so uncomfortable all of the time that the thought of going on a walk or doing downward dog makes me want to simultaneously laugh and cry.
  7. Nothing is pregnancy safe. This one makes me roll my eyes a tiny bit, since even in recent history, people didn’t have access to fancy prenatal vitamins or, for my husband’s grandparents, even modern conveniences like electricity or running water, and they’ve been having perfectly healthy babies. But since I do have access to all of the wonders of 21st century living, I thought it appropriate to do my best to make my body a temple for my babies (minus the cheesecake kick I’ve been on). My one desert-island, can’t-live-without-it product is lipstick, specifically of the matte liquid variety, and guess what? Makeup is basically poison! If you do enough research, even some products marketed to pregnant women aren’t even pregnancy-safe! If I actually wanted to be a perfect pregnant person, I’d basically have to move in with the Bubble Boy. I’m doing my best (I switched to this lipstick), but they say a healthy mom is a healthy baby, and if I couldn’t periodically dye my greys, I would be mentally unwell.

I’m still early enough in this journey that the true trials and tribulations haven’t even begun, so I’m sure I’ll be back with another installment. But let me just say, that people who go through more than one pregnancy, especially those that are pregnant and also caring for young children, are braver than the goddamn Marines, and I salute them.

Week Links [30 May]

Good morning! I have barely left the house in ages since I’m pregnant and only half-vaxxed (I had to wait until the second trimester), so I don’t have much to report, but here’s what little I can recommend at the moment.

  1. This sandwich looks so damn good.
  2. It’s official. This is the cutest Apple Watch band on earth.
  3. Just bought this rocking chair for my nursery. It’s the perfect mix of firm and comfortable, and super deep. It’s a more subdued color in person, and it’s chenille!
  4. I’m bingeing Gilmore Girls for the first time in about five years and it’s like reliving my own memories. Forever my favorite show.
  5. How cute is this candle shop?
  6. Finally caved and bought this water bottle. The one thing I didn’t consider was that it has a greater capacity than my Soma filter, so filling it is an enormous production. (I ended up solving this by picking a water dispenser up from the Container Store).
  7. Treated myself to this cutie after a very long purse-buying hiatus.
  8. This deodorant is so good. It’s still a natural deodorant, so it’s not magic, but it really holds up, even in hot weather. I got mine at Ulta.
  9. Even though I have only recently joined the motherhood club, I’ve been A Mom for a while, as evidenced by my excitement over this gadget.
  10. Loving The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, but I have to admit, I have an overwhelming urge to say, “I’m lookin’ for my sister, Stella” in a Marge Simpson voice.
  11. Pretty much none of my bathing suit tops fit me now that I have pregnancy boobs (which, for me, is still nothing to write home about), so I’m trawling the J. Crew sale for something with some structure that can accommodate the new additions.
  12. My husband and I have been watching The Nanny on HBO Max and apart from the obvious things about it that haven’t held up over the past 30 years, it is a near perfect show. Sylvia Fine is my idol.

Make Mine a Double

Well, the cat is officially out of the bag. I’m pregnant. With twins—a boy and a girl (to be officially confirmed at the anatomy scan). To paraphrase something a friend told me when she found out: getting pregnant with twins on the first try is the most Chelsea thing to ever possibly happen. When I went in for my fancy, formal ultrasound at 9 weeks, the tech immediately asked me if I’d had embryos transferred, and when I said no, asked me what medications I’d taken. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of, “Nope! This is just…my body!”

Before I got pregnant, I spent like six weeks abusing Dr. Google, terrified that I wouldn’t be able to conceive (even after my actual doctor very kindly ran fertility tests and told me point blank that I wouldn’t have any trouble getting pregnant), and of course I got twins right out of the gate. I definitely didn’t expect to get pregnant on the first try—I assumed it would take several months, which is why we started sooner than my original timetable (I wanted to have a baby at age 30 and ended up conceiving at exactly 29 and a half). I feel so incredibly lucky, and even though I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect of double the babies and double the work, I’m so grateful that they’re happy and healthy in there. I know plenty of people that have had a hell of a time conceiving, and the stress is real.

I’ve been interested in birth and parenthood for years, but since I didn’t know if or when it would happen for me, I ignored the topic for years. I can’t tell if I was punishing myself for not being up front with my husband about how much I wanted a baby, or if I was preserving my feelings until I was truly ready to be a mother. In retrospect, I am so, so glad that I didn’t attempt to do this sooner. Even a month sooner, I wouldn’t have been ready. I needed the time to get in tune with my body and my emotions. I needed to work through my issues and traumas (shout out to therapy!) so that I could show up for my kids as the best version of myself. I thought I would spend the rest of my life on antidepressants, and now I’m not taking anything (other than prenatal vitamins and B6 for nausea). I’m not knocking meds (I’m sure I’ll be back ASAP), but I do feel like a badass for doing this au naturel so far.

sonogram at 11 weeks, 3 days. the top picture is of the lower baby, who’s measuring a WEEK bigger that his/her gestational age, and the bottom picture is of the upper baby, who’s measuring exactly on track. i have a feeling by the time they’re reading to come out, i’ll be carrying around minimum 13 lbs of baby.

I’m sure I’ll have more insightful things to say about this journey moving forward, but I’m honestly still processing. I didn’t have morning sickness (so grateful for that), but the first trimester is still awful. It’s exhausting, and at least if you’re me, you’re constantly worried about miscarriage. And YES, I got my first shot of the COVID vaccine while 14 weeks pregnant. My bubs are swimming in antibodies as we speak.

If any other preggos or aspiring preggos are reading this, this is the stuff that I read/used/bought during my first trimester.

  1. A word to the wise—if you just found out you’re pregnant and haven’t even had an ultrasound or talked to a doctor yet, please do not watch The Business of Being Born. I spent 90 minutes panicking thinking I would literally die during childbirth and that the doctors would go against my will and do a bunch of unnecessary medical interventions. Obviously, I was being completely hysterical (pregnancy hormones will do that to you), and in hindsight, I’m really glad I saw the film. Even though it’s really tough on the medical establishment, I didn’t think the portrayal was unfairly biased. Birth is so shrouded in mystery—women are given basically no information about it until they’re actually pregnant. I considered myself really well-informed before, but I had no grasp on the history of obstetrics.
  2. I’ve been listening to Dr. Elliott Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast non-stop. I especially loved Mandy Moore and Hilary Duff’s episodes, since you know I have stanned both of them for 20+ years #millennialicons. I will admit that it’s making me super bummed out that I can’t have a home water birth, but between insurance, dealing with people’s opinions, and the fact that twins are higher-risk, I kissed that dream goodbye a long time ago. I still want to give birth naturally with no meds, but every time I say that, I kind of feel like that meme of the person painting on their clown makeup. I’ve also been listening to Conscious as a Mother.
  3. I’ve already made my registry because I am a full crazy person. I’m still editing it a lot, and don’t think I’ll actually really share it with anyone until I’m past 20 weeks, but it has been so much fun dreaming of their nursery, gear, and gadgets!
  4. Books in my queue: Bringing Up Bébé, The Danish Way of Parenting, Nurture, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Real Food for Pregnancy. I also have The Bump and the What to Expect apps, so I feel pretty prepared for the physical stuff, if not yet for the actual reality of somehow birthing and raising two babies at once.
  5. I justified a second pair of Birkenstocks because the bulk of this pregnancy will be during the summer and mama is not about to wear proper shoes and socks.
  6. But that being said, I did buy compression socks. I already have huge feet (size 10!), so if they grow and I can’t wear any of my existing 5,000 pairs of shoes, I will throw myself off a cliff.
  7. A neighbor of ours donated a massive pregnancy pillow to me, which has helped a lot with my tossing and turning. I don’t actually know which pillow it is, but it looks just like this one. It’s really huge though, and it takes up more than half of the bed, so I got this one for the time being.
  8. Of course I had to get a maternity set from Girlfriend Collective. I got this bra and these leggings.
  9. I’m taking the Ritual prenatal, which I love, but word to the wise, you’ll need to supplement with extra iron.
  10. This is a random one, but I feel it’s my duty to inform you that Trader Joe’s finally made a potato chip version of its Popcorn in a Pickle and they do not disappoint! I know pickles are SUCH a basic pregnancy craving, but I never said I wasn’t a PSL-loving, Ugg-wearing basic!

Week Links [15 April]

This has been sitting in my drafts for at least a month, so good on me for being so topical and relevant! I’ll write something meaningful in the next post, I swear. I promise that I do have a vague knowledge of current events, even from within my bubble of isolation. Enjoy the following things, in the event that you somehow missed them in the past month.

  1. I have 5 words: Meghan and Harry on Oprah.
  2. of Montreal put out a new album full of undeniable bangers! Kevin Barnes simply does not know how to make a bad song!
  3. Started watching Good Girls on Netflix. Retta, Mae Whitman, and Christina Hendricks are the dream team.
  4. Loving this lip crayon in “Fig” and this liquid lip in “Forever.”
  5. Planning on getting this setup for our 2nd bathroom remodel. I haven’t had one of those handheld sprayer things in over 15 years.
  6. Love these dainty zodiac necklaces.
  7. Making this soup to combat the last of the frigid winter weather.
  8. I’m finally trying out Magic Spoon, after hearing a bunch of rave reviews. It’s really pricey, but it’s packed with protein, which I need more of in my diet, as I don’t eat much meat. I haven’t had Froot Loops in about 20 years, so I’m psyched to have a version with 0g of added sugar.
  9. My friend Sarah’s book is available for pre-order! I’m so excited to finally read it!
  10. This hummus absolutely slaps. Found it at my local Target, but they sell this brand in most major grocery stores.

Week Links [7 March]

Good day, sunshines! I’ve been deep into an all-consuming work project all week, so I don’t have a ton to share. Did anything catastrophic happen in the world? I’m completely tuned out (and I have to admit that ignorance is, as they say, bliss).

Where I live it’s still freezing cold, but it’s just now starting to show signs of the early spring thaw, which can’t come soon enough. I’ve been excessively cautious about the virus and haven’t done anything or seen anyone since the fall, so I’m looking forward to an outdoor brunch on a warm day in the not-so-distant future.

Did I really just start this blog post with small talk about work and the weather? Send me to the guillotine. Anyway, have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow and stay safe!

source: society6
  1. Currently knitting a baby blanket out of this yarn. I got three skeins–I’m planning to do the middle section in a slightly darker blush pink. God forbid I ever have a boy…
  2. I’m re-re-reorganizing my kitchen counters (mostly to accommodate my Always Pans, if I’m being honest) with this shelving unit and this toaster. I also got this electric kettle and I’m obsessed! Being able to control the exact temperature is a game-changer. Temp is a really important factor in coffee quality, but in addition to that, I’ve used it to make perfectly lukewarm water for yeast and non-scalding water for tea.
  3. Speaking of yeast—this is bar none the best and easiest pizza crust recipe. If you don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer, I highly recommend saving up for one. Alternately, you could simply get married and put one on your wedding registry. 100% worth making a lifelong commitment to another human being.
  4. One of my myriad terrible qualities is that I can’t seem to walk out of a Target without buying a cute mug. But in my defense, the only two left were the C (for Chelsea) and M (for my husband, Michael), so I think that legally obligates me to get them. The colors also coordinate with my entire house, so, you do the math.
  5. Is the terrazzo trend over? I love the look, but I’m hesitant to leap into anything trendy. Except, of course, “millennial pink,” since pink is a neutral in my book. Maybe I could start small, with a phone case? I’m gutting and redoing our second bedroom in a pastel rainbow theme, and these colors are perfect for an accent wall.
  6. Redid my entryway/mudroom with these hook racks. I’ve never been able to resist a brass accent.
  7. You absolutely have to be kidding me with these toy instruments. I need to be physically restrained from buying this piano. Maisonette has the cutest stuff. Can I go back and time and redo my childhood with cuter toys?
  8. 100% buying this rug.
  9. Listened to this song for the first time in a while and I forgot how much it f*cks.
  10. I told y’all. We were never meant to exercise.
  11. Jen Kirkman “influenced” me to buy this necklace and I have no regrets.

Week Links [22 February]

Good morning, America! I can’t tell if COVID Mondays are worse (because the proverbial weekend will never come) or easier because they’re hardly different from any other day. I wish I had anything interesting to report, but I sat around knitting and bingeing Gossip Girl all weekend so I’m even boring myself. The weather where I live is going to inch into the 40s and 50s this week, which may sound horrible to people in most climates, but in New England? It’s a mitzvah after a cold and snowy winter.

Stay warm, stay safe, and as King Diamond would say, stay heavy!

megan on the season premiere of snl
  1. SNL may never top this sketch. She’s got a healthy belt! Rick Beato’s reaction to “drivers license” made me feel extremely justified in my opinion that this song is perfect.
  2. My favorite sweater is on sale. I have it in 2 colors.
  3. Megan Thee Stallion showed her nighttime skincare routine on Instagram and I didn’t think it was possible for me to love her more than I already do.
  4. I just found out that Jenna Lyons has a show and I may need to reconsider my disdain for all reality-based television series.
  5. I bought this bag bundle during their 25% off Valentine’s Day sale because I’m obsessed with jinxing myself. I am truly like two purchases away from becoming a Victorian ghost, haunting the moors while my soul is trapped between earth and the afterworld.
  6. You do have to laugh.
  7. Excited to try these non-alcoholic cocktails.
  8. I caved. In my defense, it took almost a year to get me to crack. And yes, I had a coupon code.
  9. There is no one I stan harder than Deb from Smitten Kitchen, so when I was on a cooking tear on Saturday, I made this macaroni & cheese and these brownies. I slightly burned the brownies because I got distracted after turning the timer off (never do this if you have ADHD!), but overall my kitchen was the place to be this weekend. Don’t worry—I served roasted broccoli to balance out the utter lack of nutritional value.
  10. I just started using this toothbrush. I’ve been using their flat body scrubber for ages, having received it in a subscription box. Loving this anti-microbial eco option! I’m a really vigorous brusher, so I’m skeptical of any toothbrush that boasts a replacement head (quip utterly failed me), but these are actually up to the task! And the best part is that they only need to be replaced twice a year and are recyclable.
  11. I might get a few of these to brighten up a room I’m redecorating. Definitely a different style for me! This one isn’t as much my taste, but goes perfectly with the color scheme.