Being pregnant is mostly hilarious… and pathetic… and uncomfortable… but I choose to dwell on the hilarious here. There is an over-abundance of information on how to care for oneself while pregnant, how to most effectively deal with the curse of childbearing, and of course, the details of fetal development. BabyCenter.com is one such wellspring of information that upon request will send weekly updates about pregnancy to your e-mail inbox so you don’t even have to try to research anything. You just check your e-mail as usual, and poof, knowledge streams into your eyeballs. I received these updates for both of my pregnancies and sometimes I read them, sometimes I don’t. Mostly I enjoy the reminder of how far along I am (which appears in the subject) because people are always asking me and I never know.
Something funny about these e-mails just occurred to me tonight. The brief informational section always begins by telling you the approximate weight and length of an average fetus at your current week of pregnancy and giving you a practical, non-womb-bound object to compare it to. Some of these things have been fairly common (to me) and therefore useful, such as the length of a banana or carrot, or the weight of a head of cabbage or a cantaloupe… it wasn’t until recently though, that I noticed that the non-womb-bound object has consistently been a fruit or a vegetable. Now, if you ask me, this is not only supposed to be useful for universal comparison purposes, but also to serve as a subliminal message regarding what one should be eating while growing a baby. Pregnant women (if you’ve never been one) are highly suggestible when it comes to eating things you know… so if they compared the fetus length to a bag of M&Ms or a carton of ice cream, that would not be helpful for the nutrition of anyone involved. The thing is, however, choosing to stick with the fruit and veggie theme calls for some very creative thinking. I mean, there are 40 weeks of pregnancy, and very specific sizes and weights to be compared. So this has forced the Baby Center people to do some clever and specific research on produce. Some of my favorite comparisons are:
19 weeks: weight of a large heirloom tomato
25 weeks: length of an average rutabaga
26 weeks: length of an english hothouse cucumber
31 weeks: similar to carrying around 4 navel oranges
37 weeks: length of a swiss chard
38 weeks: length of a leek
Yes, I actually went back through the “trash” folder of my e-mail to compile these… it was that funny to me in the moment of realization.
Perhaps this makes me a poorly nutritioned pregnant person, but I am not automatically familiar with the length of an average rutabaga… and I’m not sure I really know what a swiss chard is. Now, suppose I went to the produce section of my local store and picked up a rutabaga… how am I to know whether it is of average length? Should I measure all the rutabagas and find the mean? What if it was a bad year for rutabagas and they were all smaller than average… or a good year and they were all larger than average? Visions of confused pregnant women in grocery stores, holding up obscure vegetables to their bellies in attempt to understand more about their developing fetuses make me laugh so hard my taut womb, currently bearing a leek-length baby, hurts!
See – all of this veggie talk and now I’m craving salad.