Without Which

2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, which explains why roughly 1/4-1/3 of the people on my Facebook friends list have spawned or announced a pregnancy since February. In case you happen to be pregnant or know someone who is or who is trying to get themselves up the stick (and best of luck to you! I wish you expediently expanding embryos), here’s the list of things that have made the last 35 weeks bearable for me. We’ll see how they hold up during the last five.

1. Lush massage bars in Therapy and Mange Too

When I was pregnant with Maggie I used some special pregnant-lady skin cream for the first half on my belly, then relied on genetics and luck to spare myself of the bane of stretch marks. This plan was…not successful.

Those slashes that are meant to be a 3? Yeah. I looked like I had been touched by a raptor underneath my belly button. Fortunately they’ve faded over time but they’ll never really go away, meaning that even though I dropped the baby weight quite quickly I’m going to be shopping for high-cut bikini bottoms or Land’s End tankinis until I die. This time around? Thrice-daily applications from either of these massage bars–the ingredients in Therapy are supposed to help skin elasticity and Tom just likes the smell of the Mange Too bar–and a stockpile of $2 Old Navy camisoles to layer under my shirts to keep the oils from staining my good clothes have kept me mark-free this time around. No new taxes marks!

It could also just be that my skin has given up and is permanently loosened from the last time, but do give me my dreams, will you?

2. L’Occitane Immortelle Eye Balm

I found myself with an empty house and nothing to do one Saturday, so I went wandering downtown to the newly opened L’Occitane store where I told the clerk “I’m seven months pregnant, I have a two year old, and I look it.” She hooked me up with this eye cream and even though most days I feel like I’ve programmed my brain to autopilot, I don’t look like it. At least, not nearly as much.

3. Peppermint tea

The nausea. Dear God, the nausea. The morning sickness (that and the crippling expense of raising a child in the first world) is what is going to keep me off the baby-go-round for a third time. (Probably.) (Note from Tom: “Definitely.”) Mint tea did help on the mild-to-moderate days; it also helped as an after-meal digestive aid to make sure what I ate actually stayed down. Most importantly, the mere belief that drinking tea would help caused me to drink several mugs a day even on the worst days when it was clear that nothing short of a .375 Magnum was going to touch my misery. This occasionally misguided faith is probably what kept my gray-faced, nauseous ass from needing to be hospitalized for dehydration. Seriously. I was that sick (and then I got heartburn). Even if it didn’t always help the nausea, at least I was keeping down liquid. I’m told mint tea is also a diuretic, so it helped with the early bloat of the first weeks, which is nice. Nothing worse than not being able to eat anything and still not being able to put on your pants.

4. Vitamin D

I thought in Hawaii that I was just fantastically in love with life and my family and the beauty of the world. Turns out that’s how high on life you get when you’re getting several hours of vitamin D from the equatorial sun every day (coupled with balmy breezes and low humidity). I’m still happy and appreciative of my life, but without a vitamin D supplement I’m not quite so obnoxiously Pollyanna about it.

So that’s what I needed to get me by for the last eight and a half or so months. Sneak any of these to a pregnant woman and you’ll be totally popular, I swear. Sometime this week I’ll come back with baby shower gifts that will get you loved/respected/gifted with muffins. Promise.