Being a mom is one of the more revealing occupations on the planet. Sink or swim every single day. Being a PREGNANT mom is even more revealing. It’s hard to explain to someone who has yet to experience it, but a few months ago when I was pregnant with the newest little I was asked by a male friend about whether or not strangers ever try to come and touch my belly. Heh heh heh…
It probably sent me into a longer rant than he was expecting, but seriously- people do not know what to do with a pregnant woman. While people tend to be nice and helpful with doors, shopping carts, and chores, once they find out when you’re due, it’s all downhill from there. It’s as though there’s no grey area. Either they feel REALLY uncomfortable looking you in the eye, they say something really stupid directed at your appearance, or they feel the need to touch you. Why touching?! Why can’t there just be eye-contact and no comments about physical appearances without touching?! That’s rhetorical.
It got me thinking about the things people do and say. Young unattached people crack me up the most because they’re the ones who have the most intense blunders. My personal favorite being when they try to act completely natural, but all the while they have no capacity to relate to a pregnant woman with any semblance of normalcy, so they nervously giggle out offensive comments intended jokingly, but it comes out so insulting that you can’t help but laugh out of pure shock that they did in fact just say that.
“W’oh! Are you sure you’re not having TWINS?!” or “Dude, you’re HUGE!” are two comments I’ve been at the receiving end of on more than two occasions each. Don’t worry, I’m an incredibly stalwart individual when it comes to self-esteem. And thankfully, all of my preoccupation with my appearance issues were long settled before ever becoming a mom.
Now, thankfully I have only had my belly touched by a stranger once in 3 pregnancies, and have only been a very distant observer to the horrifying stories some women have about people rubbing their bellies “for good luck,” or worse ones that I don’t have the heart to tell you about because remembering that they actually happened to people I know sends me into a tizzy of total embarrassment on their behalf.
Reactions to such moments are inevitable, and during pregnancy you have the Achilles’ heel of hormones, removing the usual filter of grace you may normally possess. So not only do you get a barrage of weird comments about how you look, but you also have to use an incredible amount of restraint not to be a loose cannon. On top of which no one wants to know anything about you when you’re pregnant except for how you “feel”.
Um… If I thought about how I was feeling as many times as I was asked that question, I’d probably have been even more grumpy. There are times when I had to shut my yapper before saying things like, “What do you THINK?! I’m the size of a HOUSE! My joints have mutinied, my head perpetually feels like it’s in a VICE, none of my clothes fit but it’s too late in the game to buy even bigger ones, and everyone who said ‘once you get past the first trimester you feel grrrrreat’ is a vicious LIAR!”
That’s what I never said. I’d bite my tongue, say something about how excited I am to meet my baby, and then redirect the conversation. And you know what? It worked every time. The point is, all of the attention gets overwhelming and you feel like you just crash landed on earth from a distant planet and people are talking to you like they do in those Sci-Fi flicks from the 60’s-
“Greetings! We are a peeeacccceful planet. Frrrrrriiiiieeeeennnnnddddsssss???????” they say, or at least it sounds that way when they talk to you sometimes, all the while eye-balling you as if any minute you’re going to explode. Side note: the phrase “you look like you’re going to pop” is gross. And birth is gross, but seriously? Pop?? Ew.
But in all of the awkwardness of words many people think are acceptable to string together in a sentence directed at you (especially the super young and blissfully unaware tacky types), you have to know something true- you are stunning. You’re not only gorgeous, but you’re one powerhouse of a human. You are being entrusted by God with a beautiful gift of a little tiny person whom He is forging inside of you, and that person will have your eyes. That little person will have their own uniqueness, but it will feel so familiar that you won’t remember what life was like without them when you finally see them face-to-face. That little person will consider you their universe (until they turn 13, at which point you get initiated into a WHOLE DIFFERENT UNIVERSE… but that’s another post for another day).
So maybe this is just a pregger pep talk, but if nothing else, remember that the good and the bad of pregnancy is not going to last forever. The days are long, but the season is short (though it barely ever feels short in any way). And you know what? The one in your womb is blessed to have you as their Mama.
So pregnant friends, I salute you.