All I've got to say is, Mother Nature has a heck of a sense of humor -- just ask any pregnant woman. The Big Lady is so much of a joker that she's made moms-to-be into her personal court jesters. We leak, we swell and we sway from side to side like punch-drunk penguins. And let's not forget the underwear suitable for sailing a 50-foot yacht, if the need should arise.
Working it all out
Most of my embarrassing moments centered around work. There was the time when, three months pregnant and deep in the throes of "morning" sickness, I ran out of a one-on-one conference with the president of the company and only just made it to the ladies' room. I was too mortified to go back and face the man -- a starched-collar, very proper British gentleman. Instead a co-worker had to explain to him why I had disappeared so quickly!
I think the most appalling incident was a few months after my son's birth when I brought him into the office to show him off. He behaved like a little gentleman, until my boss, a well-dressed childless woman, was holding him. At that moment, Benjamin had what my husband and I call "the thunder down under." Diaper blowout doesn't even begin to describe the mess that, of course, ended up all over my boss' white sweater. It's no wonder I decided to become an independent contractor shortly after that!
Moms on film
That dry cleaning bill, though, was nothing compared to the sheer horror Julie Price felt when she became unexpectedly famous. Her aunt -- an amateur Steven Spielberg -- videotaped the birth of Julie's second child, "including the afterbirth and the suturing," says Price. She set the tape aside for some serious editing, but with a newborn on her hands, she couldn't get to the project as quickly as she would have liked.
About a week after her son's birth, Julie got a call from a teenage boy at the local video store. Apparently, her husband had returned the wrong video and someone had rented Julie's moments of glory. The clerk had to watch the video to determine the movie's rightful owner. "I can't help but think that there is some nice little family that knows a heck of a lot more about me than they should," says Price.
If that weren't bad enough, she reports, "It was supposed to be a Disney movie. Those poor little kids that got the wrong movie are probably scarred for life."
Let's face it. The whole idea of breastfeeding is custom-made for moments of laughter -- as in, other people's laughter. I don't care how comfortable you are with your body, there are still times when nursing can make you want to curl up and disappear.
For me, that time took place in the office -- of course. One day, as I was heading back to my cubicle from a pumping session, I passed a line of suit-clad Wall Street-types following the company's CFO straight towards the demonstration equipment room -- my usual pumping spot. Come to find out that this was the long-awaited investors' tour. They were checking out the factory to see if the company was worthy of their investment dollars. I can only imagine what they thought of the new "demo equipment" I'd left out! I can only thank my lucky stars that they hadn't started their tour a few minutes earlier. They would have gotten a demonstration they'd not soon forget!
Trina Lambert says her turn came during a Jazzercise workout when her twins were a few months old. "As I 'reached for the sky' in a workout, a breast pad fell out onto the floor," she recalls. "I quickly ran out to readjust matters." All hopes that her flying pad had gone unnoticed were dashed when a woman approached her as she came back in. "She said, 'You think that's bad. When I was nursing, my husband took me to a nice restaurant downtown and I lost a breast pad right in front of our guests and all the other patrons waiting in the restaurant.'" Just goes to show you -- whatever happens, you're not the only one.
Sometimes it's best to let these incidents pass as quickly as possible in order to minimize the damage. But other times -- such as when you're becoming the butt of a few too many beached whale jokes -- you need to fight back, as Kendra Pecci found out. Tired of being the recipient of a few too many unsolicited "Buddha rubs" on her growing belly, Pecci decided enough was enough.
When one of the "macho sales guys" in her office patted her belly in front of a large group, she saw her opportunity. "I looked at him completely seriously and announced as loud as I could, 'My breasts are getting bigger, too; would you like to feel them?'" Needless to say, that was the last time anyone patted her belly!
Getting into the swing of things
When things are at their darkest and you feel like you just can't handle one more stretch mark, bout with the toilet, or pregnancy-induced embarrassment, remember that millions of women have walked this road before you. For every dropped breast pad you experience, there are hundreds more. And think of all this embarrassment as good training for motherhood!