Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me


General Stuff, PreggersTeresa Strasser26 Comments

Me at 13 Weeks

Why Exploiting My Baby Seems Like a Good Idea

Like it’s so special having a baby. Britney Spears did it twice, so there you go.

Yet, we’ve all seen these spooky, lost smother mothers with their sippy cups full of self-absorption and their non-stop, mind-numbing prattle about the relative merits of organic baby food. These are the souls who update their Facebook status to reflect little Jackson’s latest bowel movement. This is not okay. This is haunting.

There are so many nerve-wracking things about being pregnant for the first time. Just when you think you can handle nausea, ravenous hunger, precipitous weight gain, and the abject fear about your baby's health, you come in contact with one of these mothers and you think, not that I'm so great, but I hope I don't become her.

Frankly, it has never been very comfortable being me, but it’s all I know.

I would like to think I’m in no danger of becoming an uptight asshole who won’t let you touch my child without Purell-ing your hands, lest you pass infection to my precious baby Jesus, but the truth is: I have no idea.

I have no idea about any of this.

Maybe everything has already been said about the experience of pregnancy, but it’s new to me and I have found myself consuming any information I can, from Nancy O’Dell’s book (beautiful lady, but her memoir about extra-glowing pregnancy skin and lack of any unpleasant symptoms when carrying Baby Ashby can suck it) to Jenny McCarthy (you want to dismiss “Belly Laughs,” but you can’t, because it really does make you feel normal and though her style makes you want to say, “I get it, you’re edgy,” she really is entertaining and likeable). As long as there are pregnant girls up in the middle of the night wondering if it’s a cramp or gas or a disaster, as long as there are newcomers to this world as confused and terrified as I am, this crap is always going to seem relevant and new to us. I am grateful for all the books and blogs that tell the truth, and I don’t mean syrupy wannabe disclosures like, “I haven’t washed my hair in weeks, but it’s all worth it because of the magic of motherhood.” I mean, the real stuff.

There is no precedent for us first-timers. I don’t understand any of the sensations happening in my body, which all seem like they must mean imminent miscarriage, a phrase I have Googled no fewer than 17 times.

I don’t have any idea what nipple salve or nasal aspirators do. I don’t know anything about babies, except I am having one. Moreover, I don’t know how to write about any of this without conjuring images of poor, kicked around Kathie Lee Gifford, who seems like an alright gal but who took so much shit for trotting out little Cody and little what’s-her-face just to make America love her.

I guess it seemed like she was just exploiting her babies.

Now that I think about it, as a writer, I guess I’ve “exploited” all of my subjects: my step-parents, my boyfriends, my beat up cars, my jacked up apartments, my landlords, my Hebrew school teachers, my grandfather, my girlfriends, the dude at the dry cleaner’s, my therapist(s), the guy I met on Myspace, my dermatologist, everyone.

Sometimes, when you’re scared about how something is going to be perceived, you have to look the bogeyman right in the face.

So when I randomly searched for the domain name Exploiting My Baby.com and it was free, I grabbed it.

And after all, the kid is exploiting me.