Being pregnant, in my experience, is kinda like being part of an extremely trippy science experiment for the better part of a year. Suddenly, the body with which you have been intimately familiar for thirty-some-odd years changes drastically, turning you into a pod person for an ever-growing alien life form. It’s terrifying. There is a lot of poking and prodding, and I’m not just talking about what happens in the doctor’s office. I’m getting advice bombs lobbed at me from all angles, usually from people I don’t know all that well. I love talking to friends and family about every aspect of my pregnancy but the comments and questions I get from co-workers or strangers on the train have ranged from mildly odd to just plain uncomfortable. Here are some of the many things I will NOT miss hearing once my baby is born.
“Oh my God, you’re HUGE!”
Yes. Yes I am. Remember Maya Rudolph’s character in the movie “Away We Go”? You probably do not as I think I’m one of two people who saw that movie but one of the running jokes of the film is that people keep saying things to her like “Wow, you’re having that baby any day now, huh?” even though she’s only six months pregnant. When I saw the movie I remember thinking to myself that this gag, while funny, rang false to me because pregnant women don’t get that big that fast and, even if they did, no one would dare comment on it, right? Well, that has been happening to me at least once a week since my second trimester and now happens multiple times a day. I am, indeed, huge. I am one of those women who “popped” overnight…and not in the way that Hollywood starlets do when they go on The View, say “look, I popped!”, then reveal a baby bump so small you find yourself yelling at the television “Bitch, please, that’s what I look like after two slices of pepperoni pizza!” Oh, no. Around month six, I went from flat stomach to looking about eight months pregnant (on a good day) and I have just gotten bigger. So I probably won’t miss hearing about it constantly.
“No alcohol for you! Ha, ha!”
Why oh why do people delight in reminding me that I cannot drink? Sadists! I had a birthday over the summer and a surprising number of people felt the need to inform me that any celebratory activities should not include alcohol. This is all mostly gentle ribbing but every now and then the tone of these reminders gets a little severe, as if people are genuinely concerned that after two sips of sauvignon blanc I’ll turn into Leo McGarry from The West Wing and lock myself in a hotel room with nothing but a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue and my shame. Believe it or not, I am capable of self-restraint. I can have a glass of wine without going on a bender. Bonus point comment: “I mean, if you can’t go nine months without a drink, you have a problem.” Thanks for that.
“You HAVE to…/You CANNOT…/Don’t even THINK about…/Are you INSANE??”
Did you know that I am not capable of making logical decisions about what is best for me and my baby? I didn’t know that either but apparently I’m not capable! Who knew?!
“No more (fill in the blank here) for you!”
I love this one. Sleep, sex, travel, going to the bathroom alone, watching tv, listening to music that’s not recorded by the Wiggles, reading, eating at restaurants, fitting into my old clothes, going out with friends; I’ve heard it all, people. And my answer to all of it is “Yeah, maybe.” I realize that I have no frame of reference for being a parent but I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the only people I have not heard a line like this from are the parents I admire, the ones who look happy and seem to have a life outside their kids. So we’ll see.
“I hope that’s decaf!”
You’ll never know, will you?
“You’ll never love your husband the same way again.”
This fascinates me. I was prepared for the “get your sleep while you can!” and “you’re eating for two, now!” comments but this one has really taken me by surprise. The connotation is that, right now, my husband may be my sun and stars but, once I hold our baby in my arms for the first time, my husband will look like dog crap on a hot sidewalk “because you can never love anything more than you love your baby.” Uh, is it a competition? “It’s just a completely different type of love.” Well, I should hope so! Why do we categorize and rank the love we feel? It’s odd to me that people feel the need to pre-suppose some sort of weird Sophie’s Choice on you where you have to choose between your children and your spouse. That said, my husband is one of those amazing people who turns out to be preternaturally talented at everything he tries (Jessica Biel, I now get what it must be like to live with Justin and my heart goes out to you, girl) so I’m certain he’s going to be a natural at this parenting thing, which is going to get really annoying, really fast.
“This (meaning motherhood) is the most important thing you’ll ever do.”
Is it? Is it really? Look, I know that building a family is the most important thing I’ll ever do, I just don’t like the implication that it’s the most important thing that anyone could ever do. Lots of people choose never to have children and yet they manage to do incredibly important things every day. I’ll never discover the cure for cancer but someone will some day and that will be pretty darn important.
“Is your husband going to be in the delivery room with you?”
Uh, none of our business?
“Were you trying for a long time?”
So, so, SO none of your business! Thank you for delivering my takeout, sir, but I don’t actually know you so I’m gonna choose not to answer that.
And, finally, my favorite comment, possibly ever:
“Are you looking forward to your time off?” (Meaning maternity leave.)
Yes, very much. I can’t wait to sleep in each morning while Masha the wet nurse tends to my baby, then stroll over to my daily ashtanga yoga class. Maybe I’ll try that new espresso bar afterwards and get my nails done. Or maybe a massage! Man, my time off is gonna rock so hard!
This is the only comment I get that annoys me a little. I’m not going on vacation, folks! Would you be looking forward to being woken up every two hours by a screaming newborn? I’m very much looking forward to my time with my baby. I’m psyched. But I’m also pretty sure it won’t be “time off.”
Ladies (and dudes, for that matter), did I miss anything? I’d love to know what little gems you heard while expecting!
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