So, we’re about six and a half months into this pregnancy, everyone. WHOO! Time certainly flies when you’re having fun shopping for larger maternity clothes, am I right, ladies? At this point, I no longer just look fat, but am now obviously pregnant. I’m also not that cute kind of pregnant you get to be when it’s your first baby; I’m the less-cute kind of pregnant that you get to be the second and third time around. Instead of your body acting all surprised by what’s going on, it just gives up, resignedly inviting every spare carbohydrate and fat cell to hang out for the next nine months wherever it wants. “Yeah, just get comfortable. Seriously, you’re not going to have to leave until waaaay after the baby’s born, so relax. You want a Hot Pocket?”
Having a desk job also means that many of my more regular patrons at the library may not have noticed my pregnancy up until now. I do look less pregnant sitting down than standing up, but even now, it’s hard not to notice. This means all of the more enjoyable comments and questions are starting to arise. Most people are very nice and sweet, saying things like, “Congratulations!” and “You look so cute!” and “How are you feeling?” These are, surprisingly, usually my younger students, the ones that still have a healthy fear and respect for those people in a quasi-authoritative role (i.e., they know who has the power to add a $55.00 fine to their library account).
However, I’ve noticed that the older a person gets, the less tactful and more downright rude their observations become. In general, this phenomenon where old people say whatever the hell they want appeals to me, and is one of the things I actually like about old people. In the following cases, though, I would prefer that they actually just shut the fuck up and go pet their cats or use their Jitterbug to call Ethel and share their awesome comment with her. In addition, some of the comments below came from professors; people who presumably have a certain level of education that might have taught them to pause and consider their thoughts and actions before speaking and acting. This goes to prove my husband’s cherished and time-proven theorem: higher education is bullshit, and often makes you dumber.
1) “So, you’re due pretty soon, right? No? Then why are you showing so soon?” Wow, just went straight for the jugular on that one, huh? Didn’t want to just be subtle? Had to make sure I realized that what you really wanted to say was, “Boy, you’re fucking huge!” Also, what kind of answer was this person looking for here? “I don’t know, I guess I’m just really fat! You win!”
2) “Are you having twins?” Dude. You’re aware that twins are not a common event, right? What are the odds that you’re correct? Do you just not care that your potential for insulting me is about 97%, or are you outright trying to insult me? This is often the only conclusion I can come to with most of these questions — for some reason, they want to see how far they can push a pregnant woman before she goes crazy and tears their face off. Also, FYI, this question came from a man. I have to wonder whether or not he suffers from that fetish where dudes like to be kicked in the balls by women.
4) “Whoa, this is your THIRD?!?! You’re done after this one, right?” Oh, snap! I’m SO SORRY my huge flock of children are constantly disturbing and inconveniencing you! I really didn’t realize what kind of a problem it was for you personally that I have more than one child! I know, having them all up in your face all the time must be so annoying…oh wait, they’re not*. SO WHY DO YOU CARE HOW MANY I HAVE? Let me run down the list for you: I’m gainfully employed, have my own health insurance, am married, and I do not currently live in someone’s basement. You have absolutely no reason to be concerned about how many children I choose to have. Also, what if I wasn’t finished? What if I wanted to have another three, or five, or try to get up in the TLC reality-show range? Go back to the list, and read it again. Until my kids are asking YOU for juice sixty-three times a day in YOUR house, back off.
*unless you happen to be one of the family members that cares for our children while we work. You guys get a free pass on this one. Oh, and a hug.
5) “Oh, another girl, huh? That’s too bad (or a variation of this)“. Let’s step back from how tactless and inconsiderate this remark is, and set aside the obvious fact that it doesn’t matter as long as the baby is healthy, and even ignore the question’s ultimate (crazy) insinuation that this baby has somehow “disappointed” you in some way. I think my husband summed it up best when I asked him if he wanted a boy or a girl this time around: “At this point, what does it matter?”
That guy. He’s like Cranky Buddha: more grumpy, but just as wise.
Cranky Buddha meant this two ways: first, you have no say over the matter. It was decided for you before you even knew it was happening, so why waste your time “hoping” for one or the other? It is what it is. Does that change the fact that I spent 18 weeks praying there was another vagina up inside my vagina (or “buhgina, as Phaedra pronounces it, to Rob’s utter dismay and my complete delight)? No. But I knew at the end of the day, it would be fine, and that I had no control over it either way.
Second, it doesn’t matter if you have a boy or a girl when you reach baby #3, because you’re just as busy and losing just as much of your sanity either way. Things won’t really be easier because I’m having another girl; every baby is just as different from the last one, boy or girl. I have two wildly different kids already, and they’re both the same gender. Bella would have still been an insane child to care for if she was a boy; she just let me dress her in Phaedra’s old wardrobe (a perk, I won’t lie). In addition, once you have three, you no longer have “a baby”, or “two babies”; you HAVE KIDS. The general theory, routine, and tasks behind HAVING KIDS is the same, despite the gender(s) you’re caring for. Girls and boys give slight variations, and sure, their personalities are different, but the main idea behind caring for them is essentially the same: Feed. Bathe. Sleep. Repeat. Sometimes they go places with you; sometimes they go places without you. The rest takes care of itself.
So, dearest students and faculty, please consider yourself warned. From this point on in my pregnancy, I am only accepting flattering and polite comments regarding my current condition. All other remarks will be met with a smile, a deceptively nice response, and a $300 library book that was mysteriously checked out by you on the same day, never returned, and thus charged to your student account/paycheck.
Choose your words carefully.