I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant (IDKIWP) is a reality show that airs on TLC. Not a reality show in the “stick 8 strangers in a house” sense but a reality show in that they reenact things that actually happened and then interview the people involved. So it’s more like a documentary. A documentary about women who didn’t know they were pregnant and who more times than not give birth to their babies while on the toilet.
Each episode features a few different stories of these unexpected expectant mothers. Not all of them are overweight. Surprisingly. One of the girls featured even showed a picture of herself in a bikini that hid nothing except for an incubating fetus.
During our 9-month pregnancy where we knew we were pregnant my wife and I would often watch this show. Pregnancy hormones will do that to you. It was a topical guilty pleasure.
The program was interspersed with pregnancy advice from various medical professionals. This was good until one of said professionals showed a diagram of widening concentric circles that represented vaginal dilation. We didn’t need that visual. My wife especially. She broke down. In between her sobs she said, “Look at how big those circles are.”
It was difficult for me to relate. I’ve never been pregnant so I don’t claim to know how it feels. However at times my diet has lacked fiber. Most segments of this show seem to end with women confusing their pregnancy with constipation and giving birth into a toilet. So I guess I sort of know how it feels.
Even though IDKIWP is on TLC and features interviews with the actual women, women never believe these stories. They always bring up their little monthly friend and claim that, “they would know.” “They would know.”
In high school a teacher of mine went through this exact experience. She could easily be featured on the show. She wasn’t a small woman but was by no means obese. I saw her a week before she gave birth and she simply looked a little heavier. She did not look pregnant at all.
The next week she went to the hospital with back spasms. The doctors informed her that she was pregnant and in labour. She was shocked and then shocked again. Her immediate thought went to all the inappropriate pregnancy behaviours she may have partaken in the last 9 months. Drinking? Smoking? Freebasing drugs while eating runny cheeses? I’m only guessing.
She gave birth half an hour later.
Most women hate this story. Not knowing you have a baby and then just giving birth in the time it takes to watch Friends. Skipping 9 months of pregnancy related headaches and foot swelling. Women who went through that get slightly miffed.
I asked about her cycle. Yes. I did. And let me tell you, that’s not a conversation you want to have with your teacher. Especially in high school. Unless the baby might be yours. She said her cycle was never reliable and always spotty at best. Unfortunate pun was unintended.
So it happens. Sometimes you just don’t know you’re pregnant.
Now that we’re no longer pregnant (as far as we know) we no longer watch I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant. After you’ve seen a few episodes the program becomes formulaic. Woman doesn’t know she is pregnant, woman unexpectedly gives birth, woman is pleased to have child. We’ve moved on to better reality programming like Jersey Shore.