photo by: Rachel Lahlum
That's my friend Amanda, isn't she fabulous?
As I become more and more pregnant, and more and more people know, I've noticed that several things take place when someone learns (stranger or not) that you're pregnant.
I'm not sure why this happens. I'm not sure if it's some kind of chemical reaction that people have, but these things consistently happen to me, and my pregnant friends, and really none of us are comfortable with it.
The first thing is the audible "awww" that happens immediately from women and the auto-clam-up from any man who has not been around pregnant women. When I tell you that I'm pregnant, at least for me, I'm not looking for added attention. I'm explaining myself. I'm explaining why seafood for lunch is generally out, or why I think your perfume smells like embalming fluid (don't worry, I'm sure it actually smells quite lovely). But the last thing I need, is for you to cock your head to the side and let out a high pitched aww that makes my stomach cease and my fight or flight syndrome kick in.
The second thing is the question "How are you feeling?" I'm okay with this question, but don't be surprised at my answer. And don't be offended when I tell you that I'm not feeling great, even though I'm in my second trimester which is said to be the honeymoon period. Yes, I feel better than I did at week 10, but do I feel like I'm at 100%? No. It's a struggle every day to get out of bed and I still get sick if I don't eat when I'm hungry. It's just the way it is for me, and I'm okay with this. It's part of the deal.
There's a tie for third, and it's generally a two-part question. "Do you know what you're having?" and "Are you going to nurse?" The first part of this, is a completely sane and normal question, I have no problem telling people that no I don't know, and yes we will find out, and yes, we really want a boy but will be happy either way. The second part, you know the one where people ask about what your future plans for your breasts are? That's not so great for me. I'm not sure I want to breastfeed. In fact, most of the women I've talked to, who have tried to breastfeed, couldn't. Or they had production issues. I'm not sure that's something I want to deal with. I'm not sure Brian is entirely comfortable with me breastfeeding. And I'm also not sure why it's any of your business. 90% of the people I talk to on a daily basis are co-workers or legit strangers. This kind of conversation is something I have with people like my husband, mother, or best friend. Please don't ask a pregnant woman this, she will silently thank you.
The fourth thing that happens is a weird gravitational shift. I mean, that's gotta be it. Because for the life of me, I can not understand why people think it's okay to touch a pregnant woman's belly. If I reached out, and I touched your belly, how would you feel? Weird? Kind of not okay with it? Funny, me too. Another thing I attribute to this gravitational shift is the need to baby pregnant women. Maybe some women like this, and if you do, good for you. Now's your time. I do not need to be babied. I do not need your help making sure I've eaten food. I do not need any additional protection. What I need is for my friends and family to offer support and love. That's it. Otherwise, things can continue as normal for you.
The fifth and final thing is all of the advice you get. People suddenly loose their minds and start spewing advice at rapid intervals. I can't even keep up some times. Right now it's, "Make sure you talk to your baby. That way it'll know your voice." I don't understand this. I talk around my baby all day. As I read this post back, my baby is hearing my voice. It knows me. I know it. Eventually it'll know Brian. But, I'm not going to talk to it, just to talk to it. And I'm certainly not going to tell it "hello" or whatever else people have told me to tell it. Right now, it's my private time with my baby. We get each other. It's fine.
You guys, this might seem like a horribly cynical post...and that's generally because it is. But there's something you need to understand. Brian and I tried forever to get pregnant, and when we started to try again, it was the scariest time of my life. Pregnancy scares the shit of out me. It's not a glowing experience for me. Instead it's been filled with physical and emotional demands and assload of anxiety. Am I excited? Absolutely. I can't wait. But one thing I need, is normalcy. I think a lot more women need this than they are willing to admit.
So the next time someone tells you they're pregnant, get excited and say congratulations, even give them a high five. Then offer the support you can give. If it's a hug, great. If it's running to the cafeteria for breakfast sandwich? Great. If you're uncomfortable with it, that's okay too. Just be normal, she'll likely thank you for it.
PS I am not clever enough to coin the term "glowing experience." This came from my fabulous aunt, who totally gets it.