Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Unexpected Trials of Being Pregnant

I'm 13 weeks pregnant, and due in October.  Jack and I are super excited, and so are our friends, family, and neighbors.  Which is great... For the most part.  While I was prepared for morning sickness, I was NOT prepared for some of the other trials of being pregnant.

Unexpected Trial #1: People Who Grill You On Every Single Physical Symptom. 

Now that the word is out that I'm pregnant, everybody immediately asks me how I'm feeling.  Which is cool, but when I respond that I'm fine, they immediately start grilling me hardcore about every physical symptom I may or may not be having.  Evading the question is not an option.  Treating anything as personal and not for public consumption is ALSO (apparently) not an option.  

What the heck?  I know these people (100% of whom are women) just want to bond and/or sympathize with the physical aches and pains that come with being pregnant, but it's definitely treated as something I MUST discuss, whether I want to or not.  

In America, physical issues are normally considered private.  If you call in sick to the office with food poisoning, nobody is going to ask you the next day "So, were you barfing everywhere?  Did you have diarrhea?"  Nope.  Those details are personal.  Not only that, but our culture is so uncomfortable with these bodily functions we have a ton of euphemisms for them: tossing your cookies, barfing, hurling, praying to the porcelain god, etc.  

But when you're pregnant, suddenly the right to privacy is just GONE.  Which brings me to the next issue:

Unexpected Trial #2: People Who Touch Your Stomach. 

At 13 weeks I'm not showing very much at all - I just look like I have a tiny beer belly.  So strangers aren't doing this (YET)....  Just friends and family so far.

I personally find it uncomfortable and don't want people coming up and just rubbing my abdomen whenever they feel like it.  I can totally get that some other pregnant women would be ok with it.  The problem is that, again, people apparently feel like this is non-negotiable and nothing I say or do dissuades them.

I went to a dinner that included two elderly ladies.They were super sweet, and dinner was a blast.  Afterwards we're all standing around, and one of them reaches out her hand to rub my stomach, and I (trying to be non-confrontational and subtle) simply put my hands in front of my body.  She darts around my blocking hand, and touches me anyway.

They make some comment about how people will be wanting to touch me, and I say "Yeah, I'm not really comfortable with that."  At that point the second lady proceeds to try and touch me.  At this point I've tried both physical and verbal means to prevent this, and neither worked.  They treated it like a joke - 'haha, you can't be serious about us not touching you!'  I think the only thing I could have done at that point to get them to stop would have been to wave a gun around.

Also, if I press the point then I'm put in the position of being the 'bad guy' when people obviously mean well and are just happy for us.  But that boils down to having to put up with unwanted physical contact by anybody who wants to reach out and grab me.  

I'm still working on how to gracefully deal with this one.

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