Saturday, July 28, 2007

You Don't Say-- Really

Apparently, being pregnant is somehow like running for public office; it enables random people to ask questions and make comments that they never would ordinarily. I don't remember signing up for this...

Tips on Dealing with the Pregnant Woman

Don't touch. I guess it's one thing later on, when there's a cute basketball-belly full of baby; some people can't help themselves. But if your coworker spills the beans that she's 9 weeks pregnant, DO NOT grab her belly. Yes, someone did this to me. I had to grab her hand, push it away, and say, "That's NOT BABY, that's my belly. YOU ARE GRABBING MY BELLY FAT." I explained in graphic detail that the "baby" is at that point the size of a Lima bean, floating in a uterus the size of a grapefruit that is still tucked securely in my pelvis. Anything that is "showing" on me right now is just weight gain due to the excessive hunger and complete cessation of all physical activity. Babies don't start behind the belly button and grow out; they start wayyy down, below the pubic bone, and grow upwards.

On a similar note, how is it appropriate to make comments about someone else's body? Unless my baby is finally showing up front, there is no call for this. My growing ass and boobs are not your concern and it is tacky to mention them.

If someone you know is suffering from ongoing morning sickness, do not do any of the following:

Do not repeatedly exclaim that you never had a day's worth of being sick! Isn't it just funny how some women get sick and some don't! Well, I'm so happy for you, but it sure doesn't make me feel better right now. Misery does not love gloating. I prefer to hear about similar stories from women that are understanding, that remember clearly the relationship that develops between preggers and their toilet bowl. (Or bucket. I heart my bucket.)

Do not imply that worry, ambivalence, or unhappiness with the pregnancy is causing morning sickness. What a toxic, disgusting idea. We've been trying for the better part of a year to make this baby. Had a terrible miscarriage just a few months ago. If I were any happier about being pregnant, I would float into work instead of walking. (Dragging. Whatever.) I know I look miserable, but that's because I feel like shit, not because I'm ambivalent. DO NOT say, "Oh, I never got morning sickness, I think I was just so happy to be pregnant that it just didn't occur to me." Because if I killed you, I think I would be acquitted. Here's the thing: during early pregnancy, the female body is flooded with hormones. Some women react better to that than others; some react as though they are being poisoned by these unfamiliar chemicals that are building up in the liver and kidneys. The body's natural response is to get rid of the 'toxins' the only way it knows how, which is barf. And I'm sure that being on these hormone supplements for the last month is not helping my case. But it doesn't give anyone the right to question how I feel about being pregnant, which last time I checked wasn't even anyone else's business to begin with.

Sharing the news. I had to share my happy news at work much earlier than I intended to, because of the constant illness. Half had already guessed, because let's face it, when you see a woman going to barf several times a day for days on end, it becomes clear that it isn't a virus. But here's the thing; just because you know doesn't give you the right to share that with whomever, whenever. For example. I tell my manager about the Little Bean out of necessity, to explain a sick-day. The next day is a general announcement, congratulations, etc. OK. But why is she telling so many random people that couldn't care less? Our customers do not care. Visiting higher-ups and other managers don't care. Pregnancy only becomes interesting to strangers when it's visible and imminent. First-trimester pregnancy is boring. So please don't go, "And this is Mara, who just told us she's going to be a mother!"

Telling the people I work with every day out of necessity is a bit different than wearing a sandwich board as I walk down the street. I have no desire to share my happy news with random strangers, so could you please stop doing that? When I'm showing, that will be my sandwich board to the world. Until then, why not keep it among those who either need to know, or who care enough about me to find it interesting news?

On the same note, it's silly to ask, "Did you just find out?" No. I just told you. I've known for a month or so. How ignorant do you think I am-- to not realize that I'm pregnant for weeks and weeks? It seems I have more discretion than you realize; I can apparently decide to keep this news from you as long as I deem necessary. Sorry if that hurts your feelings, but managers and coworkers are not the same thing as close friends.

Ahh, labor and birth. Why would you tell me that I'll need the drugs? Is it because you did, so you can't stand the idea of anyone else daring not to? If I heard that you were training to run a triathlon in six months, I would never pat you on the back and say, "Honey, you'll never make that. I'd look into steroids, if I were you. Everybody does it!" Obviously, I don't KNOW what labor will be like for me. Obviously, you don't either. Personally I believe that I was built to give birth, as anyone who's seen me in real life could understand... I have the HIPS, baby. But you know, I can't guarantee that I won't need pain relief, I understand that it's a possibility. I just don't understand why you would try to undermine someones desire to do that "natural thing".

How OLD are you? Are you married? Was this planned? Wow, could you be any ruder? Did you parents forget to teach you manners? Were you brought up in a barn? Sorry, I forgot that turnabout isn't fair play. I am 26 year old. Yes, I realize that I look younger than my age; five extra years so far of getting carded doesn't let me forget. Guesses tend to range from 19-24, average about 22. I know full well that if I were ten years older (or looked ten years older) you wouldn't dare to ask these impertinent questions, nor would you even care. My story is pretty boring: 26, married, very much planned. A long time trying, actually. Does that excuse your asking? No. What the HELL. If I WERE 21, single and completely surprised by this, would that justify you? Would that make it OK to ask these kinds of things? My being young (or young-looking) does not somehow give you the right to ask me questions you'd never ask a 36 year-old matronly type. I do not like seeing you prepare to judge me, and then change your mind because I have the right statistics. You have no right to judge in the first place; my answers are irrelevant.

This lesson brought to you by one grumpy-assed pregnant lady!

9 comments:

Kim said...

I have seen your posts on mothering and have been reading your blog since... i have so far not had so many problems with people grabbing the belly, but the folks who do drive me nuts. at the beginning i just felt like telling them if they wanted to feel the baby they'd need to put on rubber gloves ;)

as for the horrible people telling you they never got sick, i think you should just throw up on them so they can more fully experience pregnancy. really! it's an experience they should have had, you'd be doing them a favor.

hang in there, it will be over, and if you're really having a hard time keeping food down, talk to your provider about the drugs.

and it's so hard not to spoil the harry, now that i've finished i want my husband to get on with reading it so I can talk about it with him!

ayla said...

At the beginning, having people touch my belly bothered me, too. And the sick! I was "lucky" enough to be unemployed through most of my first trimester so I missed most of the fun work stuff. I couldn't imagine trying to work through it. More power to you.

Bella said...

Oh Mara...you remember reading all my posts don't you?? The stupid women who go through the whole "I was too happy to be sick while I was pregnant" will also be the ones who gloat at how their baby never threw up constantly, said their first word at 3 months and could crawl before they were 6 months.

Being preggers and dealing with those idiots is one game...dealing with them as moms is another one all together. The fact that you will find yourself (much to my surprise) leaning over to your husband and whispering in shock that his cousins' baby is already crawling and can turn back over...why isn't our son doing that? Ours is a week older dammit! Never mind that this is their third kid and any experienced mom will tell you that second children and on tend to develop faster because they are learning from, and trying to keep up with, their siblings. But still...your baby is the best and dammit, should not be surpassed in anyway shape or form!

It just keeps getting better :)
...and yes, I barfed so much they had to put me on medication. I went everywhere with a bucket at work and I even had a "barf cup" for the car...you know, one of those big, ugly, yellow cups from Dickey's BBQ. :)

Aunt Sally said...

OOOOOOH....somebody's on a bit of a rant today. Sorry I ever told you I didn't have morning sickness. But,please,please...don't throw up on me! As for the "tummy-touching" problem,just get yourself a T-shirt made that says"HANDS OFF!!" That should do it. I'm pleased to know things are progressing normaly, but sorry that you're not feeling well just now. Your friends are right in suggesting you ask your doctor about some medication to get you through the rough patches. Take care and keep us updated. And we promise, we won't touch your tummy!!!!!

Mara said...

Thanks you guys! And Aunt Sally I totally wasn't thinking of you when I wrote that! Just customers at work and a few co-workers...

Ayla, I daydream about being unemployed...

Lauren W. said...

Amen.

And if one more Mom tries to give me a "reality check" and tell me I could be this sick for maybe 2 more months, I WILL KILL. I feel like I'm DYING and don't need any more reasons to CRY, THANK YOU.

Benjamin said...

I plan to take a plane ride up there just so I can rub your belly!

Although, I must say, it might be a waste of time and money to come all that way just to get my ass kicked.

Bella said...

I was re-reading your last paragraph and it struck me as ironic. Oh..lets' say roughly 100 years ago, even later than that really, it would have been perfectly natural and EXPECTED for you to be pregnant at 21. Hell, you were considered an old maid by then anyway and it would have been shocking that you waited that long! Funny how times change, and yet how they always stay the same....

erin said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I'm bookmarking it to read as this pregnancy progresses.