Pregnancy in the North and South

Even though several people warned me that once you hit the Masson/Dixon line it’s like a different world, when I was preparing to move to Ohio, I never really thought there would be much of a difference between it and Kentucky. After all, they are only separated by a little water. I have lived south of Kentucky in Tennessee, Florida, and Gorgia. Those 4 states are simular enough, how different could one state up be? Was I in for an awakening? Heck even living in foreign countries is more like living in Kentucky when compared to Ohio. Things that are considered normal or kind in the south (and many other parts of the word) are invasions of privacy and rude here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. There are some things that are definitely better in Ohio. Here are my major comparisons, keep in mind this is only the items that stand out for pregnancy. The girls were born in the south, and the boys either were or will soon be born in the north.

Touching. In the South people were always touching my pregnant self. Most generally in my belly region.  I have to say, it would get annoying sometimes. When pregnant with Atlantis, I was washing my hands in a public restroom when an older women put her arms around me from behind to rub my belly. NOT FUN! On the other hand, in the North, pregnant or not it is extremely rare anyone touches me period. Even my closest friends up here wouldn’t dare put their hand on my pregnant belly. If you would have told me this after the hand washing incident, I would have been thrilled. A few nights ago I actually found myself crying about the lack of touching though. I got used to people touching me when pregnant with the girls. The people doing the touching are always thrilled and have a big smile. Being pregnant is stressful, constant happy touching helps a lot with that.

Advice. There is just something about pregnancy that seems to encourage even the most timid people to give you their opinion. On parenting. On sex. On what you should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. You get the idea. It still happens up here in the North, just not as much. Also, if your really obvious about not wanting to hear an opinion, a northerner will generally shut up about it. A southerner, well, they are going to give you their opinion until they think you have adopted it.

Heat. It’s a lot hotter in the south. The girls were born in Tennessee and Kentucky. Where we lived in Kentucky is generally about 20 degrees warmer than where we live now in Ohio. Pregnancy and heat don’t mix. Although, it does make watermelon taste so much better.

Hospitality. The south is known the world over for hospitality, people just do things for you. If your pregnant they do even more. I never carried anything, opened a door for myself in public, or had to look for a spot to sit in the south while pregnant. Here, I’ve carried groceries into the house while my neighbor sat on his front porch. A simular situation in the south would have had a neighbor griping at me for going to the grocery alone in my condition while he carried in all the groceries for me.

Tea. You can get a fabulas glass of iced tea in the south anywhere you go. It’s the easiest thing in world to make, Petra can do it and I’d bet with a little help even little Troy could manage the task. But somehow, it just doesn’t seem to work out for the restaurants that try to make tea up here. With the gestational diabetes I don’t get it sweetened, but a southern girl REALLY needs her tea if she goes out to eat.

Men. Men in south are not expected to do much. My friends always considered me really lucky because John does do stuff. He feels he should do an equal amount being half the parental unit. This isn’t always the case down south. Many men don’t do much if anything at all at home and laugh at the guys that do. In the North this would be really frowned upon. People get divorced for this up here.

Free Stuff. There is so much free stuff for pregnant women in the south it’s crazy. I have to wonder if it’s because the south has a much higher poverty level. Birthing classes, always free. If you show up, more free stuff. From car seats, to diapers, to high chairs, if you need something for your coming baby in the south, you can probably find an organization or state funded entity giving it away. Not the case up here in the north. Enfamil and similac will each send you a free sample. Huggies and pampers, 1 free diaper and 10 wipes each. That’s about it when it comes to freebees in the North.

Visiting. People have a tendency to just pop in down South. If someone drove by your house and you were home. Instant company. This really doesn’t happen in the North. People don’t go out their way to drive by your house and most wouldn’t dare dropping by without calling first. Funny, in the south it can be considered rude not to drop by someone’s house if your in their neck of the woods where the opposite it true here. I wouldn’t have known about this etiquette rule had I not had a friend with a northern mother growing up. People popping in for no reason, without calling drove her crazy and I did it all of the time.

Medical Care. With Atlantis, I’m fairly sure now I had gestational diabetes. I gained about 90 pounds and was over the top moody. I was never tested for it though.  Otherwise, I have to at least say the doctor was nice. With Petra’s pregnancy I remember handing my mid-wife a birthing plan. She laughed at me. Also with Petra, I was told I asked way to many questions and if I wanted to talk about an idea, a procedure, or a treatment I had read about, I generally got a eye roll before being told that it just didn’t happen outside the big city.  I would have happily went elsewhere, but the next nearest doctor or mid-wife was another 45 minutes away (which put them about 75 minutes from my house). In the North with Troy and my current pregnancy, my OB (his website) is fabulas! He asks me at least once each visit if I have questions and is more than happy to answer them. He also always makes sure I have all the information I could possibly want or need. He and everyone in his office is also very nice, caring, and supportive.

Delivery. With both the girls, I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed once I got to the hospital. With Petra, there were even tie downs attached the bed when I arrived and I was told that if I got to out of hand, they would be used. When the girls came out, I got one look and they were whisked away to the nursery for measuring, testing, and cleaning. With Troy, much different experience. As far as deliveries go, I would even describe it as enjoyable. There was a large tub, exercise ball, and anything else I could have possibly wanted to use while in labor or during the birth. I was encouraged to get out of bed. I had three nurses and one was with me nearly the entire time just incase I wanted to send her to get something for me. One nurse seemed to be there just to massage my back, help me relax through the contractions, and give me words of encouragement. I held troy for 3 hours before I decided to have him cleaned up. Which happened in the delivery room and then John got to hold him.

So, to sum it up, through this pregnancy and Troy’s I was really homesick. More so with this one. It feels a little lonely being pregnant up here to me. However, the difference in care from the medical community during pregnancy, delivery, and after has been worth the loneliness.