I assumed, as an INTJ, that I would probably not react to pregnancy with the typical mentality of “expectant mothers” – in part because I am so uninvested in maintaining societal norms that I won’t force myself to conform to some expected set of behaviors, and also because my mind does not work in the same way as the “typical” female’s. A quick summary of my mental state going in: I have long assumed I would have children, because I would look back as an old lady and regret not doing so (or at least not trying), and my husband and I have gone through the progression of “worst thing that could happen!” to “not ideal but we would deal with it” to “it would be okay if it happened” to “let’s make this happen” during our decade+ together. The last was as much a rational decision as an emotional one; certainly I have never yet experienced the “omg i need baby now!” emotion that some women report. Eh. No. If we tried and it didn’t happen, then that would be that, and we would go on living our rich lives with just each other.
I am nearing the end of trimester one, and so far I am progressing typically on physical symptoms and getting annoyed by the tone of baby and mommy blogs, that, frankly, have piss-all to do with my mentality or lifestyle. So, since I seem to attract so many other INTJ ladies (and possibly also the gentlemen who love them), I thought I would offer as a public service a series of articles on being pregnant (and presumably a new mother) as an INTJ woman.
So here we go:
Early Pregnancy Fucking Sucks (Especially for INTJs)
1. Work n shit
I assume because you are an INTJ that you are employed, and possibly also investing gobs of your free time into projects that fulfill you and might, with luck and dedication, lead to self-employment. Prepare to have your productivity decimated.
You will feel like shit for weeks to months on end (7 weeks straight for me, and going strong!). At first your discomfort will distract you at work so that you can hardly do your job. Then you will realize that your tolerance for other people’s bullshit is now zero, and your uncontrollable annoyance with your coworkers will ruin your ability to focus instead.
It won’t matter, though, because you quickly realize underpinning the short temper is a vast and unquenchable need for sleep. You will be so exhausted you can’t do anything besides eat dinner and go to bed because you have that job to go to so early in the morning. Your creativity will disappear. Your life will narrow to work, sleep, and a few stolen hours with partner and friends because you just can’t stand doing nothing but working and sleeping. Any side projects will sit untouched. Your self-esteem will plummet because you are being unproductive and inefficient. You will feel like a failure because you cannot force yourself to ignore the physical needs of your body the way you normally can. Sure, you can force your body to get up an hour early, but you can’t force your brain to think straight if it’s not ready to be awake. You will try anyway, repeatedly. Maybe you will succeed where I could not.
Forget trying to be the super employee or the woman who proves that pregnancy takes no toll at work. When your employers find out you are pregnant, they will expect you to take extra sick days and leave early sometimes. Take advantage of this to keep your mood and health (or just mental health) up. This is one time you can convincingly pretend to be a normal female, because your body will be doing all the normal pregnancy stuff, and regardless of your mental state, your physical state will be typical and beyond your control. So let yourself act like a normal woman and puss out. When every Wednesday feels like Friday of hell week, standards and pride become remarkably hard to find.
Be prepared for all of your friends and co-workers to be more excited than you are about your baby. First, your rational mind will be considering the statistics of malfunction in the process, so you might not be willing to invest emotion into a probability as quickly as they do. Second, you probably do not experience a rush of emotion at the mere word “baby.” Nope. Does nothing for me, even now. Third, even if you feel very deep and real emotion about your condition, you are probably not used to flaunting it or sharing it with non-intimates. Your friends will understand that your understated reaction in no way reflects your actual emotions (or perhaps I mean state of mind. I am glad of my fecundity but still have no effervescent emotions about it).
Your coworkers hopefully already find you a little cold, so they will not expect you to cry when you break the news. They might. They might also try to hug you. It will be weird. Just smile and let them project the emotions they think you should be feeling onto you. For the reasons above, I recommend waiting until you are in a really good mood to tell your work. Do it all in one day (go hierarchically, top down) and get it over with.
Whom do you tell when? I did it based on whom I would cry to if I miscarried – those friends were told almost immediately. Everyone else was top down importance to me – parents, wider friends, family, then work, over about a 3-week period after my first visit to the doctor to make sure it was really there and in the right place and an expected outcome rather than merely a probable one.
You will find yourself wanting to read at least enough articles/progression descriptions to know you are progressing normally and to be able to plan for what is coming. Systems evaluation and all that. Most of the resources out there will have an insufferable tone. The self-important privilege of mommy bloggers who can dole out advice like “take naps as often as you need to!” (in what fucking employment utopia can that happen between 8 and 5?!) and recommend combatting your physical discomfort “with happy thoughts of holding your baby!” will make you feel like a man who mysteriously got pregnant. Seriously. Where the fuck do they come up with that drivel? How is that remotely fucking helpful to me when I am waking up shaking with exhaustion every morning and feeling nauseated for 10 of my 12 waking hours? There is no actual advice to help you through this trying time, only the feeling of walking on the beach alone as rain falls in icy sheets around you. Complain to your friends until you get paranoid that they will think you are an asshole for never saying anything else, and them do your best not to mention it unless they bring it up. Wallow in the paranoia of becoming That Crazy Pregnant Bitch Who Doesn’t Talk About Anything Else, because you always swore you would not become that person. Constant Vigilance!
Make yourself some obscure motivational posters that only you know are about your pregnancy. Use them to remind yourself of who you are, that person you do not want to lose to the state of motherhood, that person you like who you thought would make a good mother without compromising herself.
- Keep Your Eye on the Prize.
- To Thine Own Self Be True.
- You’re Only Saying Never Because No One Ever Has!
- Constant Vigilance!
- Ow! My Balls!
- The Problem with You, Locke Fucking Lamora, Is that You Have No Circumspection.
- Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints
That sort of shit.
4. The Dos and Don’ts
Oh, God, the restrictions of what you aren’t supposed to do and eat and be around! Get on the internet and see if anyone debunks them…or if common sense does. Some of the restrictions are legit, some are quackery, some are risk-benefit ratios no one but you can calibrate.
Start educating yourself now about what you want from your birth experience. My impression of most hospitals is that they infantalize women giving birth and take their agency away – informed consent is a joke in the delivery room – and they do so with the permission of most patients who either don’t know better or want to stay above the whole barbaric process and be “too posh to push.” I am hardly one to judge choices, I just expect other women like me to want to make an informed choice, whatever it is, and not be told what to do like a child because doctor knows best.
A final word on that – doctor may or may not. If I were not actively participating in my health, and only followed doctor’s advice, I would likely have lost this baby or be on the verge of it. I have a slow thyroid, supplemented with meds, and this is in my chart at my OB’s. Nonetheless, *I* had to ask for a TSH test with my initial bloodwork because she didn’t think to. Her dose increase when my level came back elevated was double what I actually needed it to increase. Her monitoring suggestion was every 3 months – not monthly as is SOP according to my regular physician. Had I not researched my condition and consulted with the doc who had been treating the condition (she had assumed OB would want to take control of thyroid during pregnancy – I promptly gave it back to her!), then I might have taken wrongful advice from my OB in any of three places that could have caused me to miscarry. So trust, but verify. No doctor will ever know your entire medical state as intimately as you will. Their advice might be well-informed and exactly what you should do…but it might not. With something this important you want to take no chances.
I mean, just think of how horrible it would be to go through this misery only to lose the baby because of someone else’s mistake. Intolerable! The height of inefficiency! If I fuck it up, so be it. But no one else is allowed to.
6. Any other pregnant INTJs out there?
We can commiserate about the puke-inducing state of mommy blogs and other people’s enthusiasm for this most selfish of all possible undertakings.
…you had so much sex you win a trophy!