When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend started to congratulate me and then stopped.
“Wait, am I allowed to do that?” she asked.
“Sure, why not?” I replied, adjusting my handy pelvic girdle.
So we know that, especially in the Jewish faith, it’s considered presumptuous to say “mazel tov” for an event that hasn’t happened yet and that the preferred sentiment is b’sha’ah tovah, basically translated to “everything will progress at the right time” (in other words: slo-o-o-wly). I didn’t much care; I had a baby shower and completely laid out the nursery like the Type A person that I am, but some people are cautious. I respect that. I appreciate that.
In fact, if only more people were cautious! Somehow, with my second pregnancy, all bets are off. People say anything and everything to me, from the deli worker who told me I was carrying “high and big” to the valet who bellowed “Stand back!” as I waddled out of a restaurant. And I’ve heard from so many friends who have dealt with the exact same thing: totally out-of-nowhere comments about their pregnant bodies.
I’m not one of those gushy people who thinks my pregnant form is beautiful and mystical. I look like Dumbo the elephant and my stretch marks resemble Mick Jagger’s skin. I ain’t ashamed. But I don’t need friendly reminders every day either. I get to make fun of my tree-trunk ankles. The guy ahead of me at Target does not.
Here are a few choice tidbits:
“Are you sure you’re not having twins?”
How does one respond to this? “Actually, wow. Thanks for bringing it up. I’m totally unsure. In fact, I refuse to look at the ultrasound photos, but now that you mention it, I do think I saw multiple heads bobbing around in there! Should I ask more questions? Maybe not? You know what, I’d rather be surprised by a litter of children in the delivery room!” This is not 1952, nor am I re-enacting a scene from “Monty Python.” I know what’s going on in there. Thanks.
“Aw, are you sad that you’re having a [insert unsavory gender here]?”
This happened to me on vacation. A waitress told me I must be “so sad” that I’m having another boy, approximately the 20th time this has happened to me during this pregnancy. Normally I chirp something about being grateful to have a healthy child, but this time I glared at her over my pancakes. Who says this? Why say this? Do you expect the person to open up to you, sobbing, about how depressed they are that their little girl isn’t actually a burly man named Frank? I do not understand.
“Don’t have this baby right here!”
I find that older jokesters tend to do this, sometimes gesticulating as if they’re about to actually deliver the baby themselves, such as the wizened gent I ran into at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. OK, dude! No problem! I’ll just keep doing my Kegels so you don’t have to change out of your bathing suit to grab some anesthesia at CVS. On second thought…meet you at the lifeguard stand?
“You must be due any minute now!”
I’m sorry, this is just a quasi-polite way of calling someone gigantic. One woman I know started lying wildly about her due date, telling cashiers, friendly bank tellers and other nosy types that her due date was actually six weeks sooner than the actual one, in between grunts.
“You’re having an epidural…right?”
The implication being that your mega-baby will clearly snap your body in half upon arrival. I’ve taken to just smiling and saying, “I am right now, in fact!” in a melodious voice. People will back away, confused.
“Wow, you’re actually out and about! More power to you!”
I appreciate that you think it’s a Herculean task for me to heave my Rubenesque form from car to grocery store to playground to work, or that the very act of standing upright makes me Serena Williams. But, really, what am I supposed to do? Luxuriate on my divan while my son feeds me Tylenol PM? Fetch me my smelling salts!
“That baby is coming early. You’ll never make it to your due date.”
Hey, thanks for the prediction! Wanna come over and clean my house, organize my nursery, find my old baby bottles, buy me a new carseat, disinfect my warped old Jumperoo and feed me a Xanax?
“Can I touch it?”
I have no problem with close friends or family wanting to feel a kick. What’s weird is when a stranger locks eyes with you, then looks at your belly, then looks back at you and says, somewhat timidly, “Can I…feel it?” as if their mere grip will turn you radioactive. And really, what can you say except OK? Then they awkwardly place a palm on your belly for an interminable amount of time while you will your spawn to do something, anything, a cartwheel in utero, simply to make this exercise worthwhile. Of course, nothing ever happens, and the person just smiles meekly at you as if you’re actually lying about your pregnancy and just had a big lunch.
These are just a few that I’ve heard in the past month or so. I’m sure there are more, and I’d love to hear from other women in similar predicaments. What’s the worst/strangest/nosiest thing something has ever said to you while pregnant?
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