Guest Post: Almost Everyone who Interacts with a Pregnant Woman is Drunk
I’m pregnant, due in February with my third child. That’s all I feel comfortable telling you, although the chances are good, if you’re like the majority of people I interact with these days, you’ll want to know more. Much more. And you’ll probably ask in the rudest, most intrusive way possible.
When exactly are you due?
Are you sure you’re not having twins?
Did you get pregnant on purpose?
I’m an introvert and I realize that I’m more sensitive than most about being the focus of attention when I walk in the room. I don’t like discussing private concerns with most of my friends, let alone complete strangers. And yet, I know I’m not unique in my frustration with the lack of privacy pregnant women receive. The hands on the belly, the constant comments about body size, the unfiltered questions—every pregnant woman I’ve ever talked with is bothered by these impositions.
I recently came up with a strategy for dealing with this behavior. I imagine that everyone I talk to is a little (or a lot) drunk. Alcohol consumption is the only other social situation, besides pregnancy, in which we’re all expected to have patience with the total lack of inhibition or politeness from strangers. It’s not their fault. They’re just drunk.
So when I’m walking down the sidewalk and a stranger shouts from the other side of the street, “When are you due? You look like you’re going to burst!” I don’t get annoyed. I just imagine that they’ve just left the ballpark and are randomly shouting “Let’s go Orioles!” because they had a few too many. When the librarian checking out my books asks for my due date and then says, “Are you sure you got just one baby in there?” I think, “Poor woman. Tipsy at work. She’ll sober up when I leave.” I think of my swollen belly as radiating some kind of fermented radio waves that make everyone feel just a bit sloshed. It’s not their fault. They can’t resist the effects of pregnancy drunkenness.
A friend of mine had a due date of December 20. When a patient of hers asked when she was due and she told him, he responded, “Well that was certainly poor planning!” Pregnancy plastered.
The produce guy at the grocery store looked at me disbelievingly and said, “Are you pregnant again?! How many kids are you going to have?” Pregnancy bombed.
While shopping for a crib, a friend of mine was approached by a complete stranger and asked, without any preface, whether she was planning on “delivering vaginally or by C-section.” Pregnancy smashed.
What’s your best inappropriate question/comment you’ve received about pregnancy?
I’ll start. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was horribly sick and in graduate school. I regularly had to leave class to throw up and sometimes I didn’t make it to the bathroom. Once one of my classmates walked out of class and saw me throwing up in a trash can in the hallway. I know I looked terrible and he regarded me with a kind of horror. Worried that he thought I was infecting everyone with the flu, I said weakly, “It’s okay. I’m not sick. I’m just pregnant.” If anything, the look of horror deepened. Finally he said, “Are you going to keep it?”
It wasn’t his fault. I was the one throwing up, but he was the one who was drunk.