Do people ever love a pregnant woman! And do I ever love experiencing the world as a pregnant woman! Strangers and acquaintances soften in my presence, smile, strike up conversation. In an urban environment where looking through people is the polite thing to do, women who presumably have been pregnant themselves look at right at me–my belly, my face–with compassion and excitement in their eyes.
Last week, I was at a favourite Ethiopian restaurant with A waiting for our food to arrive. The harried waitress noticed my belly and stopped in her tracks. “Are you pregnant?” she asked, gently and sweetly, suddenly not in a hurry at all. When I said yes, her shoulders relaxes as she sighed into an “aww” and she bid us congratulations before continuing on her way. I smiled for the rest of the day.
A few days later, a contractor who is doing some construction on a property adjacent to mine, with whom I typically exchange pleasant but brief greetings, said hello and asked when I’m due. I told him, and he asked a few more questions, before proudly telling me about his four-month-old daughter who is his third child. He kindly and sincerely told me everything is about to change for us. For an intimate moment, we connected over this shared human experience that, I’m learning, transcends social norms that are invisible and ubiquitous. I smiled for the rest of the day.
Just today, I was purchasing some Go Max Go bars, and the cashier looked at my belly as her face lit up. We joked around that the chocolate bars were for the baby. She asked if it’s a boy or a girl, and when I said boy she closed her eyes and sighed. “Ohhhh,” she said, smiling softly and expansively. “Congratulations.” I’m still smiling myself.
An Ethiopian, an Iranian, a Chinese. Men and women. All classes, occupations, stress and busyness levels. When it comes to babies, we’re just humans, mere mortals, held hostage by this thing that’s so huge our brains can’t even wrap around it so we just smile dumbly at each other and nod through our words that can’t possibly capture what’s really being said.
So, 25 weeks. Mondo belly! I love it. My back and hips, on the other hand, not so much: