“Any pregnant woman is subject to emotional ups and downs; her ability to control her moods is a measure of her emotional maturity. You may fluctuate between depression and irritability when you think you are beset by insurmountable problems that only you have to face. Often some attention form your husband is all that is needed to show you that you are exaggerating, but if not you may want to speak with a psycho-therapist. Bear in mind that a certain amount of moodiness is natural.”
Roberts Rugh and Landrum B. Shettles, “From Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life’s Beginnings” 1971
The above paragraph was taken from a book on pregnancy my mother gave to me when she was finally told of her impeding grandchild. She had bought it for herself in the mid-Seventies when she was pregnant with my sister. We had always had it around the house. It has color photos of embryos and fetuses. I remember looking at it when I was a little girl and wondering how they took the photos of the babies. It didn’t occur to me that maybe the babies were not in their mommies anymore, well I guess I realized it but I thought that was only temporary. The good doctor would just take the baby out for it’s photo session and then put it back inside mommy when that was done. Like how my mom put me and my sister in fancy little dresses and then dragged us to Olin Mills in the Datsun for our yearly photo sessions.
The book is refreshing. I’ve spent the last few months being told that everything I think, feel, eat, smell and look at will affect the little creepy who is taking up more and more of my body. Side note: not only is my belly getting bigger and my organs more compressed from the little stinker using up my valuable trunk space, but now my nipples have begun to take over my breast. I’m all areola. Seriously, they have gone from quarter size to child’s size pancake size. They are now udders. I don’t know if they will go back to normal when this whole person making and feeding evolution is said and done but I really, really hope so. Also, I really hope they don’t keep growing as it would be strange to have areola covering not only my whole boob but visible in low cut shirts or even stranger to be visible while wearing, say, a turtle neck. The book has something to say about this. I’m not sure where mine fit in, currently, but I rest assured knowing that Drs. Rugh and Shettles have classified the variety of breasts and mine are surely either “ample, large, full, moderate… small [,] firm, sagging [,] pendulous [,] hemispherical, conical, bowl-shaped or purse-shaped…” and any of them are completely normal and all of them are up to the task of secreting from the “sebaceous (oily) glands of the skin [that] have been modified to secrete milk.” That is comforting. Given their intense dedication to describing all the varieties of breasts, I’m a little more that surprised to realize they don’t mention nipples and growing areolas other than to say they may become darker. I guess they are not so much areola kind of guys.
Luckily, I am under 35 and my eggs have not “[gone] stale” because I have less of a risk of having a child with “Mongolism” however, if I would have been smart enough to have a child while still under 25, the risk would be lessened. For those of us who are not familiar with the disease of Mongolism, the doctors helpfully describe the condition. They explain that it is an anomaly due to the presence of an extra chromosome and the person afflicted is “characteristically short of stature and has slanted eyes (hence the name).” Really? This was only the 70s! How were things so crazy then? Oh, speaking of crazy, it is also noted that the biggest problem with this condition is not the appearance of the person, but that they are mentally retarded. However, parents shouldn’t be too concerned as the “sufferer can be trained to some extent.” Well, that is reassuring.
Modern pregnancy advice may be different, but in the 1970’s, women where told “Neither the thoughts nor the experiences of the mother can affect the unborn child. …Since there is no nervous connection between the mother and fetus, it would be impossible for any of her sensations to be transmitted directly to her child at any time. Up to the time of birth, the mother has scan influence on her child…. After the fetus forms its major organ systems there is little the mother can do to harm it before birth.” Nice to know. Not so nice to know is that after the “eviction” of my little monster, I may find that my body may have become “weakened, stretched, misshapen [!]…” after I have “permitted [them] to lie unused” for so many months. The nice men, however, assure me that with the adoption of healthy eating and exercise I may be able to “regain [my] original figure (or even improve it).” Thanks, docs! I’m looking forward to adopting better habits so I can not only be a less “hysterical” but hot mamma, looking even better than I did before. I’m sure my “husband” will appreciate that too.
Maybe it is a sign of my “emotional maturity” that these guys irritate me. I do like knowing that Western equine encephalitis, when contracted by the mother during pregnancy can cause “idiocy.” It can also cause encephalitis, but America seems to have dodged quite a few bullets in the past decades as our apparent Western equine encephalitis epidemic in pregnant mothers, has managed to cause only idiocy and not the other possible and much worse condition. There are some other nice points in the book, but what I find really irritating is the general tone that women are silly creatures and we must be managed by our “husbands” and doctors during pregnancy. Women are told to “follow… doctor orders” and they will avoid complications such as toxemia. The men know best, after all.