A lot of people have big problems with particular sights or smells. When I was young, my dad had a huge problem with an errant hair lying in the bathroom sink, smiling up at him. We could hear him gag. I really don’t know what it was about a hair in the sink, but it troubled my dad to no end. I would always blow dry my hair in front of the sink after my shower, so it’s not like it was dirty or anything. But, it never failed. Gag.
I, on the other hand, always had a problem with smells. Sights of gross or yucky things really never bothered me. When I was in fourth grade I would sit and watch a kid pick scabs off of his arms or legs and eat them. He was a booger eater too. As I got older, sight still never bothered me. When I had my wisdom teeth taken out, I asked to watch the procedure by looking through overhead mirrors. But, smells were a completely different animal. Completely different.
I can’t handle smells. I never could. I think the first smell that really bothered me was the smell of someone’s feet when they took off tennis shoes that were worn without socks. Just really bad. But, it really hit me hard when I was pregnant with both of my kids. Why do smells bother pregnant women so badly?
Women in their first trimester usually notice a heightened sense of smell. Bodies are changing and doing weird things to us. We have morning sickness, we crave crazy food, and we gag with smells. What fun!
I went around my school and asked a few people what smells bothered them when they were pregnant. One said “coffee.” Another said, “boiled chicken.” Mine were “pork chops,” among a hundred other smells. It then made me think of my friend, Jeanie.
When Jeanie was pregnant, she got very very sick while watching tv. It was a Karl Malden commercial for the American Express commercial, “Don’t leave home without it.” She wasn’t sure if there was a particular trigger to one of her senses that sent her running for the bathroom, but she told me that after that, every time that damn commercial came on during her pregnancy, she would vomit.
When I was a pregnant, smells drove me crazy. It didn’t just last the first trimester. It lasted until, well, today. But, I especially remember one day in particular.
I was standing in line at the grocery store. It was busy that hot, July day. I was standing in a line with about six people and their filled carts. I had two people in front of me and two behind me. There were just as many people in the aisles to the right and to the left of me. And dear God, someone smelled.
I was stuck. I could have lost my mind and asked people behind me to back up a bit, but I thought I would just breathe through my mouth. I could do that and not smell a thing. Well, except that I had a lovely summer cold and couldn’t breathe out of my nose that well. I was stuffed up. So, I had to smell the smell. So, I put index finger under my nose, which does not help whatsoever. My eyes started watering. My stomach started churning. I was ready to start gagging. The man in front of me kept looking at me. He was probably worried that I was going to throw up on him. Surely he could smell the smell.
I finally made it to the conveyor belt and was seriously considering bolting out the door. The body odor was that bad. As I was putting my grocery items on the belt, I just happened to glance out of the window into the parking lot. The man who was in front of me was putting his items in his car, when all of a sudden, he looked around, as if he was looking to see if anyone was in the parking lot. He then raised his right arm and smelled his armpit. He did the same thing to this left arm.
That poor man thought he was the culprit. It made me laugh. I finally made it out the door and on to my next smell.
I haven’t had a cold in a long long time, so whenever a bad smell comes at me, I can just breathe through my mouth. I only have time for the great smells out there. Like the smell of the wild garlic/onion grass after the grass is cut. Like the smell of homemade bread, waiting for me. And like the smell of hazelnut cream candle. Good smells.
So, pregnant or soon to be pregnant women, prepare to smell like you’ve never smelled before.
And may you never see a Karl Malden commercial.