Being pregnant is not fun. There, I said it.
I remember very early on during my pregnancy with my son people would tell me how pregnancy was magical, or to cherish this time because it’s just so special. My personal fave: “My body loves to be pregnant, I just feel so much better while growing a baby.” What I found to be true is that these are all lies. Bold face lies. The fact that my body is capable of producing another human is certainly amazing and I’m extremely grateful for my ability to accomplish this feat, but I’m just not one of those women who enjoy it. What I find the most interesting about this whole entire process is that you sort of lose your identity while with child. People are so excited about your wonderful news that the immediate reaction upon seeing you is to ask 14 questions about your pregnancy but simply forget that there are other details about life worth discussing. I call this the dehumanization of pregnant women. Can I please just be Whitney again?
A girl can only tell you her due date, how she’s feeling, or discuss the gender of her baby so many times in one day while still managing a smile. Naturally, when you’re in an environment where friendly faces are more concentrated the likelihood that you’ll answer these questions 82 times a day is high. I find myself waddling as quickly as possible from point A to point B at work lately trying to avoid this.
Don’t get me wrong, I simply adore all my coworkers and genuinely enjoy being at work, sometimes its just overwhelming when so many people care enough to ask. (This is where I sound like a selfish brat and feel insanely guilty about it. Can I blame the hormones?) Often times the questions are out of great concern and are genuinely appreciated. I am an EMT. While on the scene of a car crash recently I hiked down a steep, rocky embankment to backboard a patient who was ejected from their vehicle. In the process we had law enforcement helping us; bless those guys, love ‘em to pieces. One of the deputies reached over, put his hand on my belly, and asked “Should you be down here doing this? It won’t hurt you or the baby will it?” Half of me laughed and the other half wanted to cry and hug him.
I had forgotten between this pregnancy and the last just how overwhelming it can be. I will NEVER again make any pregnancy-related comments to a stranger, no matter how good the intentions are. Truth is, it will make zero difference in my life to know when they are due or what the gender of their baby is, and maybe they are just plain sick and tired of talking about it. I find that I am 92 percent more willing to talk “baby stuff” after people ask me a few questions about normal stuff rather than jumping right into the “baby stuff” with both feet.
Here’s a collection of things that I don’t love hearing:
- “How are you feeling?” Two thoughts here… First, I am not terminally ill, recovering from a major operation, or fresh out of a traumatic accident; I’m fine. Second, I don’t feel well, but maybe I wasn’t thinking about it and you just reminded me. Thanks!
- “You look like a stick that ate a sandwich” Cool! Thanks, jerk.
- “Do you have a litter in there?” No actually it’s a baby humpback whale.
- “You’re glowing!” Nope, that’s sweat. I’m sweating.
- “Hey man, shes starting to waddle.” My husband’s best friend whispered this to him as I walked in the door. Thank you for whispering for my benefit hun, next time whisper better because I heard you.
I really feel that Chelsea Peretti says it best in a series of hilarious tweets that you should definitely check out next time you’re bored.
One last tip that I’d like to offer in dealing with a pregnant woman: Unless you are a close personal friend, NEVER TOUCH WITHOUT ASKING. Next time a stranger pets my belly I’m going to pet theirs right back. Unless I’m in a bad mood, in which case I will probably swat their hand away and lord only knows what I will say…
To all you pregnant mamas out there smiling and grindin’ on, I salute you. It’s no easy task to make your way through the day puking at the slightest hint of coffee or garlic, answering 92 baby related questions a day, sweating, being petted in the checkout line at the grocery store by a complete stranger, and having to wear anything other than a muumuu. May you be blessed with a punctual baby and the ability to turn your phone off for at least a week prior. In the meantime, I highly suggest this fantastic article that I found on the Wenatchee Midwife Service & Childbirth Center Facebook page: http://thespinoff.co.nz/parenting/31-03-2017/im-going-to-stop-you-there-and-other-conversational-comebacks-to-protect-your-pregnant-soul/