First, thanks for all your guesses on our baby pool! I’m so curious to see who wins. (I hope it’s Selina, who was the only person to guess a March birthday.) If you haven’t ventured a guess yet feel free to leave a comment there letting me know when you think the baby will arrive!

Anyway, almost as soon as I got pregnant, I was bombarded with emails and flyers from Johnson & Johnson, Target, Babies R Us, Huggies and Pampers about all things baby-related. Each of them purported to have the answers to all my questions — specifically to any questions I had about what I needed to survive my pregnancy. Apparently I would be unable to make it through all nine months without handing over my salary to the Baby Industrial Complex.

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I unsubscribed from the BabyCenter and What To Expect emails almost as soon as I started receiving them — they freaked me out. Like with wedding planning, I found the sheer amount of information and endless lists of to-dos and must-haves overwhelming. (Likewise, I stay away from pregnancy and parenting magazines — but they seem to have found me as issues of Parenting magazine have started showing up at my house!) However, I have discovered throughout my pregnancy — and especially during my third trimester — that there are a few essentials that I really can’t do without. I’m living more for comfort and ease than presentability these days, but (at least for now) I have no fear that Stacy and Clinton are going to come after me. Here are the things I have come to rely on a lot in the last few months:

1. Uggs. Look, I’m sorry. I wear Uggs. I have worn these almost every day all winter and they have served me well. Now that I’m too unwieldy for boots and it’s often too cold for flats, my Uggs are both easy to shove onto my feet and comfortable to wear all day. Plus I don’t have to fuss with trying to wrangle socks onto my feet. Win/win/win. I may look like an astronaut when I wear them, but I sure am a comfortable astronaut.

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2. My yoga mat. I won’t go on and on and on proselytizing on the wonders of yoga this time, but this thing has been a godsend to me. No matter how achy and uncomfortable I am lugging this beach ball around on my abdomen, I always feel so good after yoga. It’s been really wonderful!

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(I’m really glad I was able to upgrade from my Target mat. This thing is awesome.)

3. A big weird body pillow.

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These all have such strange names, but mine is called the “snoogle”. Combined with three or four other pillows placed strategically around the bed, it’s the only thing that helps me to sleep comfortably through the night. I still wake up a lot — with a lot of pain in my hips if I’m sleeping on them the wrong way — but I hate to think how I would be sleeping if I didn’t have this. Yikes.

4. Yoga pants. I live in these. I don’t even care anymore. They are the epitome of comfort and they go with everything (heh. Especially Uggs). (Mine aren’t even maternity, meaning I won’t have a complete meltdown if I’m still wearing them four months after the birth.) I don’t have a great love for maternity pants — I find they either fall down a lot or are too tight around my belly — but yoga pants are consistently comfortable, and as a bonus, I could always go straight from work to class without missing a beat. (My standards have changed so much with pregnancy …)

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Go on. Get some. You don’t even have to be pregnant. Old Navy is waiting.

But while all these things are important to me, there is one thing I have come to call on — and rely on — during my third trimester more than anything else. And that is …

5. A thick skin. I don’t know why this is, but when presented with a pregnant woman people seem to feel free to share with her their exact and frank opinions on her appearance. (And I don’t mean whether or not she’s completely abandoned looking presentable wearing yoga pants and Uggs.) I mean that I have lost track of how many times a day I hear a variation on you’re huge.

I hate to break it to people but I am just not going to get any smaller. (Although the stripes might not be helping me out here.)

But seriously: I have had to learn to just take these comments in stride. I don’t know what it is about pregnancy but everywhere I go, people seem shocked that I don’t look like this anymore:

but rather, I look like this:

And yet, every day I am asked whether my doctor has told me the baby is oversized, or if my sister had big babies, or if I am, in fact, sure that I still have an entire month to go. I’ve started pointing out to people that I am 35 weeks along and thus am supposed to be huge. But really I am just surprised by people’s candor! It seems that when you’re pregnant, your body becomes public property and thus others are free to point out how much weight it looks like you’ve gained (or, if you’re carrying small, haven’t gained) and where all that weight has been distributed. I find it so weird, honestly. It’s too weird to really be offensive, but it certainly is inappropriate and annoying, and I’m doubly glad that I won’t be at work around my due date because apparently people will just recoil in shock and disbelief at my enormity. I will just have to stay sequestered in my house, hiding my girth from the horrified world.

(And on a related note, I also have to call upon this thick skin whenever I hear anyone smugly talking about how they didn’t even show until their fifth month and only had to wear a belly band in their third trimester. That’s helpful, ladies.)

How did any of you moms handle hearing these comments day in and day out? Did I miss any other third-trimester essentials, material or otherwise? And what’s a good comeback for the next time someone points out how huge I am?

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