Sunday, February 05, 2006

More about what no one ever tells you...

Thanks for all the well-wishes about being knocked up! Particular thanks to the other women who acknowledged that being pregnant can be very rough. I don't want to sound in any way ungrateful, because I am totally aware that being able to get pregnant this effortlessly and quickly is a huge blessing, especially since we know so many people who have been having a much more difficult time, but I must say, it is very tough!

Somehow, based on all the movies and the magazines and the books, I guess I never expected pregnancy (particularly the earlier stages) to be so demanding on my body. I thought the rough part would come during the last month or two and then sleepless nights due to a newborn.

Very wrong!! Despite the fact that morning sickness is supposed to magically disappear by the second trimester, that has not yet happened for me. In fact, its only gotten worse. I'll spare the gory details, but whereas before morning sickness was sort of a late-evening belly-ache for me, it is now actually being sick in the morning, causing me to lose my breakfast (unless its Cocoa Puffs - not the nutritionally balanced breakfast 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' recommends).

As for that pregnancy guide - I know some women consider it "the bible of pregnancy" but it basically makes me feel a little guilty. It tries to be permissive, and not make you feel bad for things you've already done before you knew you were pregnant (in my case, drinking alcohol, eating sushi and carpaccio, exceeding the daily limit on Advil for several days in a row and getting a rubella vaccination) but then it tells you to eat so damn much, there's no room in your belly for what they're trying to get you to shove in there. Just looking at the so-called Pregnancy Diet sends me to the bathroom - 11 servings a day of whole-grain carbs, 4 servings on dairy, 3 of protein, 3 of green veggies, 2 of other veggies...who can eat all this stuff!!

Which brings me to my next pregnancy gripe...maternity clothes. Why is it, that in a country so clearly pro-childbirth/reproduction, there is only one chain of clothing stores that sells maternity clothes? In all of Israel there is one chain (and ladies, if you know of others, don't hold out on me). This chain is expensive, exceedingly poor quality, and the clothes are neither attractive nor sufficient. You know you're in trouble when their seasonal catalogue is a) the size of a postcard, b)contains not one item you consider wearable and c) has three bare pregnant bellies (one with a tattoo, the other a piercing) as if to say "We couldn't find anything to wear either!" Its cold here now, yet tights for pregnant women do not exist! They don't have them! They also have no tank tops or undershirts, but almost all of the tops they sell are so low-cut that my newly expanded chestage is very exposed.

I gaze longingly at the online shops in America and dream of outfits I'd put together if I had those clothes! I truly understand why Israeli maternity fashion etiquette includes letting one's stretch-marked flecked belly hang out for the world to see...its that or wearing a tent!

Speaking of pierced belly buttons - I have one, and the thing I am very much not looking forward to is removing it. My doctor (who I see again on Wednesday) has asked me twice now when I will be taking it out, but I am loathe to do so. See it was always my sort of hidden, sexy thing. No one really sees it (except Bryan) since I don't generally let my belly hang out, but it makes me feel sexy and young and little bit cool - and also it was a present to myself when I finally got a flat belly 3+ years ago. And now, I don't have a flat belly (I know, its a baby), so its gotta go, but with it, I feel, goes some of my sexy young wild thang...and I'm not quite willing to part with that.

Its bad enough I look so matronly now - particularly when I wear maternity clothes, plus I cover my head (Jewish thing - sign I'm married/taken), but to lose even the thing that only Bryan and I could see is like the final nail. I'm thinking I'll pull it out before the doctor's appointment and put it right back in, and hold onto it for one more month at least, without angering the doc (who is honestly - so laid back I can't really see him getting angry).

And my final pregnancy revelation/gripe - the tiredness!! No one told me that being pregnant (particularly the 2nd and 3rd month) would be like walking uphill all the time! There were times when I couldn't stay up past 7:30. Even now, I need a nap or at least a little break to put my feet up, or I will not make it past 9 p.m. I can only imagine how tired I'll be when the little bugger actually comes. Its truly ridiculous...I mean, I suppose making another human being is a pretty big job, and is understandable that it makes one so tired, but how did the women in the field 5,000 years ago keep going and stop for 20 minutes to have another kid, plop it on their back and keep sowing the field??

You know how every once in a while a news story will come up about some women who "didn't know" she was pregnant until the kid popped out? All I can say is "Bullsh*t"! There is *no way* that you could miss this stuff, unless you were on so much drugs or alcohol that would could not notice your body being in a war.

Tonight I'm attempting to stay up and watch the Superbowl with my mom - my hometown team has made it in for the first time in 10 years, and for the first time in about 26 years, actually has a decent of shot of winning! Since the game kicks off at 1:18 a.m. in israel the chances of me staying awake are slim, but I'm gonna give it a go!


Blogger Liza said...

Hi Noa,

Congratulations! Pregnancy is hard - no doubt about it. I don't really remember any part that was easy, though once the morning sickness and the total exhaustion went away, it became more tolerable.

As far as maternity clothes - try ML. They've got a maternity section that's pretty decent (or at least it did when I was pregnant with my 20 month-old). They've got an outlet in the Poleg Ind Zone by Netanya as well (Rami Lee has an outlet in Rosh Haayin, I think). There might be another chain as well, but my mind is drawing a total blank. Good luck!

3:03 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

It's not bullshit, you know. A friend of mine found out when she was 6 months I had seen her the week before and you really couldn't tell, we didn't have a clue. Symptoms vary with all sorts of factors.

Hope it gets easier for you soon.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Looks like you have a job set out for you after this whole thing:

Maternity shops/clothes!

(And you and Bryan both know, I'm sure, that you need no belly ring to be funky and cool.)

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Daily Dog said...

About the morning sickness.

Apparently it helps if you eat some dry crackers before you get out of bed in the morning.

7:37 PM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

When you first become pregnant you think you will have 9 months to adjust before the birth. Ha. It totally takes over your life from day 1.
It will get easier though.
As for maternity. Between my first and second there was an explosion of great clothes. Motherhood sucks, they make everything really small - their clothes suit tiny pregnant Chinese women but noone else. Gap and Old Navy have really nice stuff and Target has a nice line too. They are all online so if you are really stuck for something cute (before you have someone spitting up all over you and you go the old T-shirt route) order them and have someone send them to you. I know you have friends here who can do it for you and if you are really stuck, I will.

Dry cracker thing never worked for me. I had alcohol (got really drunk on my anniversary) and had sushi before I knew I was pregnant and all was fine. I followed British recommendations as they are far more relaxed (1-2 cups coffee OK) than in the US.
I would recommend a large supply of antacids though.
Welcome to the club where everyone and their mother tells you what to do.

Oh, and your brain disappears for a while. (Not to scare you but I was sooo glad someone warned me).

11:42 PM  
Blogger Me said...


B'Sha'ah Tova!
I've been reading your blog for a while... I just wanted to mention something re maternity clothes. I've had no personal experience in that area, but a close school friend of mine runs a business from home in Jerusalem which sells maternity clothes.

No idea what type, style etc - probably leaning more towards the Geulah crowd than the Tel Aviv fashions though. So, good chances of getting maternity stockings.

Her name is Sara Schleider. I'm a bit hesitant to post her phone number, but if you want it, feel free to email me at

4:44 AM  
Blogger Emah S said...

As long as you're asking for the warnings..........the thing about losing the Brain Functioning, it gets worse, and it doesn't come back! MOMMY BRAIN is permanent, so do all you can to keep your appearance as is....make lists, write things down, you will NOT remember them otherwise! (and it doesn't regenerate much after they're born either, sorry.)

And as for the sleep.........that's an iffy one too.... It's been 5 years since I was pregnant with my older son. I have had a few really good nights of sleep since. And don't listen to the people who say, "Sleep'll be up all the time when baby comes..."

As if you can 'bank' your sleep! Don't we wish!

Bottom line, enjoy it as much as you can!

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Ilana W. said...


Ilana W. here- ex Ulpan chrony. I have been keeping up with your life from the US for a few weeks now, great reading about what's happening over there and hey, welcome to the club!!!
OK, some ideas. I wore size XL tights from Bazaar Strauss - I just pulled them up over my belly, and you cannot beat the price! There is a shop with some maternity stuff on the street right by the Anglican School which I discovered by chance during a lunchtime break... Basically, I wore the same pants from Rami Lee all the time(I had a few identical ones) and Tamnun long sleeve-Ts in size 3, but I also had a very important item: a band of stretchy material to put on my belly, that would hide my midriff when the top started to get too short (in the US it's called Bella Band and I never looked for it in Israel)...Regarding the belly-ring, sounds sexy and cool, but I would worry about the hole getting really big and stretched out... Could be pretty unsexy next to stretch marks...
Re: morning sickness, I got up everyday, waited to puke before I had my breakfast and then went on with my day. It passed around the 18th week, but that's very individual...I hear you about the tiredness, it's awful! Just hang in there and ENJOY the second trimester. Chances are you will feel much better and yet, not yet too heavy...
Good luck and Beshaáh Tova.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous zahava said...

Hey, Babe! B'Shaah tova! I have some GREAT Old Navy and Gap maternity wear for you! Just come on down! Cute denim skirt, great casual blouses, we are about the same size so it should all fit and be comfortable.

Re: being tired -- when I was pregnant with Ari, I actually fell asleep in the process of getting changed into my pj's! David said he found me asleep on the bed like "my son John" of nursery rhyme fame!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Jeru Guru said...

Great post!

Pregnancy hasn't diminished the quality of your writing.

Was trying to think of a solution for you about losing your piercing and my solution is to get your tongue pierced. It can still be a secret if your don't open your mouth wide when you talk.

12:10 PM  
Blogger WBS said...

Have you seen those replacement rings that you can put in during pregnancy (that grows/stretches out with you) - here's one site that has them:

6:41 PM  
Anonymous LisaB said...

I stumbled upon your blog looking for info on Limonim in Jerusalem (we were taking my MIL out to dinner for her birthday). Let’s say you effectively convinced me to go elsewhere! So to return the favor, here are a mother-of-four-Israeli-born’s top maternity wear tips :)

I’m not sure which single chain you are referring to… RamiLee opened up when I was very prego with my youngest, now almost 2, so it was too late in the game for me to go buying new stuff. But I’ve seen nice things on other pregnant women from there. Even if you find wearable maternity though, it’s still expensive and you might not want to spend so much on clothing you’re only going to wear for a few months (and trust me, there’s a limit to how much you can save for next time – styles change fast). Needless to say
if you have friends to loan you stuff then take advantage – but size and style are not always a match. I always managed to get away with buying very little actual maternity clothing, by converting non-maternity clothes. (ps-I am HUGE while pregnant, so if I can do it anybody can) Look for elastic-top straight skirts in stretchy fabric, usually with lycra added. Straight is the shape you want, otherwise you look like you’re wearing a tent. (You might have something like this in your closet already, that you don’t mind sacrificing, or else there are tons of sales right now.) You rip out the top seam that has the elastic, which is usually sewn into the seam itself, and replace it with “maternity elastic” – fairly wide elastic that has button holes, you can get this at any sewing store. Sew the elastic at one end, but then sew the rest of the seam closed with the elastic in the middle free to move (like a drawstring). Leave plenty of elastic hanging out at the other end so that you can adjust as your belly grows. Then, on the side where you’ve sewn down the elastic, add a button so you can button the elastic at whichever buttonhole is comfortable. I hope I have explained this well enough, but if you’ve ever seen a maternity skirt with adjustable elastic you will understand what I mean. It’s pretty simple and even though I generally don’t sew I was able to do this myself by hand (doesn’t have to be a real professional job because this will be hidden under your shirt anyway). Otherwise just take it to a seamstress, shouldn’t cost too much. That’s the skirt deal, which has the advantage of also being usable after birth. (That’s another thing they don’t tell you: you will NEVER have the same body again. Sorry to be harsh. But I find that mine is actually better now, stronger, because I must make a concerted effort to be fit.)

Tops are easier to find, look for tunic length so it will cover your belly. Either t-shirts in aforementioned stretchy fabric (which are popular and easy to find in Israel) or button-down shirts in a slightly larger size. Not too big, so you don’t get the tent thing going. Some shirt styles that are flattering to pregnant figures are empire waist, v-neck, and wrap shirts. As long as they have enough length.

As for underthings – buy undershirts or tank tops with Lycra (pregnant girl’s best friend) and they will stretch over your belly. If the shirt is long enough so it doesn’t matter if the undershirt is too short. If it’s just to make a v-neck wearable, you could even make yourself what my grandmother calls a “dicky” – cut the bottom off so that you just have half a shirt that serves the purpose of a neckline.

I never bought maternity tights or underwear because they are outrageously expensive. I mainly wear opaque cotton/lycra tights, and I would cut two slits in the top on either side of my belly. Make the slits very small and then see if you need to cut more. What you want is enough give to be comfortable, but not too loose that they won’t stay put. Bikini underwear is a good style for pregnancy; but I will tell you a secret: men’s briefs are great for pregnant bellies! The elastic is so much more comfortable and all around the cut is more generous. My husband is pretty skinny so I used to borrow his :)

Now that you have been oh-so-thrifty you can feel good about splurging on a few good maternity pieces to round out your wardrobe. In anglo neighborhoods there is always somebody who brings American brands to sell from her machsan. Ask around. The Mashbir sells the Mothercare line (used to anyway), and I found a really cute shift dress there for a small fortune – but it made me feel great every time I wore it.

In general, stay away from patterns unless they are small, or maybe delicate horizontal stripes (not an entire outfit, just one piece). Solid colors and monochromatic outfits are your best bet. Note which colors flatter you and go with those. Bottom line, it’s worth taking the effort to find stuff you feel good in, it gives an enormous emotional boost at a time when you’re, um, not at your most emotionally stable (btw Mommy Brain is real!). Find some things that makes you feel pretty/hip/whatever and go for it.

Also… about the What to Expect series. Take the preg book with a big fat hunk o’salt. I got a few worthwhile tips from there (chewing mint gum to help nausea, one foot on a stepstool while washing dishes) but on the whole it’s just one big stressor. DO NOT buy the First Year volume. It is 10 times worse, and I hold the authors personally responsible for my oldest daughter’s food pickiness. There are so many other good baby books out there. I will defend their diet, though. I think it’s basically good, you just have to take it in proportion. The portion sizes are actually small so it’s less food that it sounds like. And 4 grain servings are enough – pay more attention to protein, calcium and fruit and vegetables. I started eating whole grain during my pregnancy, and have continued since, to their credit. I also ate less sugar (though I think the whole apple-juice concentrate thing is hogwash, glucose is glucose to your body). One think that ticks me off though is how they give you such a guilt trip about everything. Just ignore it – take the good and leave the bad. (And how about how you MUST feed your unborn whole grains only, but breastfeeding is a “lifestyle” choice? Hello! Breast milk is like a bazillion times more essential for development than wheat germ!)

I hope I have been a help here. Sorry so long!

B’shaah tova, and I wish you a great pregnancy. It’s a very special (albeit really weird) time in your life!

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Little Alex said...

Pregnancy is definitly tough. I have been feeling tired since day one, except for some sudden bursts, when I felt I had all of my energy... ohh so rare! One thing I wanted to say about clothing, is that being 6 months now, I haven't dared buying a single piece of maternity clothing. The main reason is because I also got myself a Bella Band. The thing is really fantastic, as long as you're the kind who won't change shape anywhere else than your belly. So if you can still slide into your trousers and just can't get the zipper up, a Bella Band might be for you. I got mine on internet (from US), but behold, when I got it, I noticed it was made here in Israel! I have no idea if it's actually sold here, but I didnt have time to be looking it up either, since I'm quite dependent on it. Little advice, I would go straight to size 2. I bought size one and could only wear it for 2 months or so... and I'm very petite (still quite handy).
Good luck to you! :-)

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for all your fab advice. I am coming to Israel at Pesach time and am hoping to sort out maternity clothes for the next few months as shopping in England is pretty rubbish especially on the skirt front.
Thanks so much for all the tips!
B'shaa tova to all!

6:46 PM  

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