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what people say when you’re pregnant

November 10, 2008

Lots of people have lots of things to say when you are pregnant. So far, I think I’ve been really lucky. No one has scolded me for drinking coffee (it’s decaf anyhow) and on the rare occasion where I’ve ordered a glass of wine, it’s usually after grilling the waiter on the order of something like this:

“The squid comes with aioli. Does that mean housemade mayo, and if so, does that mean it has raw eggs in it?”

“So I’m pregnant and this is ridiculous but any ham I eat has to be really really cooked. I know that ham is already cooked of course — but there’s this rule. Can you get them to heat up the ham ’til it’s extra hot? Like, recooked?”

And then when they are walking off with my carefully considered order, I might say “Oh and can I have a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc?” and as they raise their eyebrows — really picky about her ham but she’s in quite a hurry for her wine — they generally smile. I think all of the waiters I’ve ordered wine from have been men and perhaps that helps. I suspect that women, after having been subjected to rules and scrutiny themselves, are more likely to believe that other women should undergo the same restrictions they did. Not unlike hazing.

And at one very nice restaurant I told them I wanted the most succulent and delicious glass of white wine ever, and the waiter went way out of his way to figure out the absolute best glass since I could only have one. Which I very much appreciated!

(By the way, I’ve had about 4 glasses of wine total, spread over 8 meals, in 27 weeks of pregnancy. Even my mother, who doesn’t drink at all, thinks that that is fine. Though in her day, people were advised to have a cocktail when they felt stressed. (I am drooling at the thought of it.)

At the opposite end of the spectrum, last night in a gas station I bought a bag of trail mix and the attendant, seeing my belly, fell all over himself in an attempt to be extremely helpful, and wanted to know whether he could open the bag for me, or anything. Not that I’m the most coordinated gal under the best of circumstances, but . . . .

When trying to flag down a cab one day when I wasn’t SO visibly popped, someone did a precarious u-turn to pick me up. “You’re so beautiful and I couldn’t leave you standing there.” I’ve been feeling so bloaty and unattractive that I actually thanked him for telling me that. “I’m pregnant and I don’t feel attractive, so thanks!” He deflated my ego slightly when he responded, “Of course I know you are pregnant lady! Is why I turned around to pick you up!” I thought he was judging me according to the normal person rubric, rather than the pregnant person one. Still, appreciated any sort of compliment at all.

Which was in contract to yesterday when my mother said “Meredith’s getting chubby!” When snapped at, she claims she meant that it was limited to my stomach. Which anyone who’s been pregnant knows that it is not, ahem, limited to your stomach, but rather nothing fits from your bra to your wedding ring to your SOCKS, ladies and gentleman. If my face wore clothes, those would not fit, and all of these facts were the root of my defensiveness. Anyhow. I love my mother dearly, and she meant well, I am sure.

The first mention anyone who I don’t live with ever made of my changing body was my 3 year old niece. One day,  hile laying around with my sister (her mom) and I, she said “You have a tummy!” Another time several weeks later when the t-shirt I wore to sleep in wasn’t covering my stomach, she looked at it and said, “Uh, can you put your tummy down?,” meaning, could I cover it. No, I cannot. Now she’s aware that there’s a baby in there and says “your tummy is big. i mean REALLY big. can i see it?” Like people who are three, though, she’s guileless and everything she does delights me.

But my favorite comment comes from my sister’s mother-in-law, whom I see every few weeks. She’s 80 and German and has a very small build and sort of prances through life having coffee and cake every day at 4 and singing the children songs in German and making sure that everything is very, very clean, and she is delighted that I am going to have a baby. And every time she sees me, her comment is always the same. “Aren’t you blooming so nice?”

And I think that’s basically the perfect thing to say.

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