Yesterday morning, after another round of steam mopping and sanitizing, I thought I’d treat myself to a breakfast sandwich and cherry pastry at a well-known bakery-café. “And a medium coffee, please,” I said. The employee cheerfully handed me an empty to-go cup.
As I turned toward the coffee carafes, the patron behind me gaped at my belly. “Are you sure?” she asked with raised eyebrows. It was a woman about my age, holding a toddler by the hand.
“Oh, it’s just for a half-caff,” I reassured her, as if I owed this stranger some explanation. I slunk away and pulled the decaf lever, guilt slowly melting into irritation. My eyes were narrowed by the time I topped off my cup with regular light roast, just as I always do.
I was annoyed with her, yes, but I was also annoyed with myself, and with a society that treats pregnant women as if they are everybody’s business. If you have ever been with child, you could probably tell us countless tales about all the strangers who reached out to rub your stomach or offered (sometimes inappropriate) unsolicited advice. I once had a parent sit down at conferences and say, “Hi, my child loves your class. Are you planning to breastfeed?” Why, hello. Nice to meet you.
With Peaches, I read everything I could find about The Pregnancy Rules, and I did my best to follow everything to the letter — but all the contradictory research gradually rendered that impossible. This time around, I figured I should just stick to what my doctor recommends. I don’t smoke (never have), I don’t drink (um, REALLY miss it), and I don’t eat raw fish (really miss that, too). For the record, my OB has also mentioned that I prooobably shouldn’t be in a crouched position scrubbing floors, and that I’m supposed to be avoiding stress.
Whoops. I’m really trying to get better about that, Doc.
But there are some behaviors she thinks are just fine, even though I’m not sure that the general public — at least according to the Interweb and random women in a bakery — would approve. These are my pregnancy confessions. Continue reading