Although I'm admittedly very fortunate to have had a stress-free pregnancy thus far, there is one thing that has begun to annoy me tremendously. I have discovered that other people now feel they have carte blanche to freely comment on my increasing girth, like the scarlet P on my forehead prevents me from taking any offense, and instead I should simple chuckle merrily in some round, jolly, Santa-like way and gaily waddle off down the hall. Before you think I am merely being hypersensitive, let me give some examples.
There is a woman who works down the hall as some kind of file clerk/data processor hybrid. She's normally very pleasant, possessing an easy laugh and the ability to call everyone "Mama" - from the mail delivery lady to the deli counter worker - without sounding like a total whackjob. We've always had a friendly rapport, so at 12 weeks into my pregnancy, on the day that I first spread the word about little LOOL, I went by her desk to show off my ultrasound photos and share the news. Without missing a beat, she replied, "Oh, I knew it. Because you have a little belly now."
It was at that moment that our alliance turned sour.
My friends, I can honestly say that, at 12 weeks along and one pound up, there was no belly. My rational brain knew this, and yet I still regret not having the wherewithal to respond, "Well, I notice that you have a little belly too - are you expecting?"
From exactly 1 til 2 pm daily, this woman sits in the lunchroom/kitchen and holds court with a gaggle of other workers. They screech merrily as they nosh on their Lean Cuisine Chicken Piccatas and suck down their Diet Cokes. Their voices echo into the hallway, where yours truly is lucky enough to sit right outside and have every word pound straight into my skull. Everyone on the floor knows to avoid the kitchen area during this hour, lest they be exposed to the grating noise as the group extolls their shrill opinions about everything from politics ("I just don't know about this Obama guy...") to religion ("It wasn't til I found my Lord and savior that I...") to shoe-shopping ("Walmart has great flip-flops!").
Being a brave, frugal soul who brings her lunch to work, I courageously persist in infiltrating their circle on a daily basis to microwave, toast and rinse as needed. Generally, I wander quietly into the cacophony, go about my business, and leave them to their cackles, minimizing interaction where possible.
Monday was just like any other day - I entered, pulled my lunch out of the fridge (homemade organic black bean and cheese quesadilla with kale - mmm), and popped it into the microwave.
Suddenly, I heard a screech - "Oh my GAWD!"
I turn to find The Woman staring at me from across the room - or rather, staring in the general direction of my stomach. Of course, this attracted the attention of the whole herd, and suddenly the room fell silent as eight sets of intrusive eyes barreled down on me, piercing my physique.
"Lookit that BIG BELLY! I can even tell from the BACK now - you're totally straight!"
Once again, I was shocked and annoyed into silence, and found myself at a (rare) loss for words. I babbled, "Yes, well, I've kind of always looked like that from the back, but THANKS for noticing," then escaped as quickly as possible and sat kicking myself at my desk, wondering why I couldn't have come up with a snappier reply.
The same day, I was returning to my desk from another office when I heard it again: "OH MY GOD!"
I turned to face the latest culprit - an IT tech that I've always liked. Looking me over, he said "Wow! Last week you had nothing, and now - BAM! You're huge!"
Appropriate and satisfying response unfortunately not given by me: "So are you! Much like last week!"
Dear readers, I must tell you something: I am not huge. I am aware of this, although frankly, even if I were to be huge, more power to me! I'm five-and-a-half-months PREGNANT, you assholes!
So far I have gained twelve pounds, which is right on track. I embrace my new curves and I am proud of my little tummy - after all, it's where my BABY IS GROWING, you insensitive bitches! Was I just so freakishly thin before that it is somehow INCREDIBLE that I now have a little gut? Or are these people just jackasses who feel that it's some kind of compliment to freely point out the "hugeness" of another person?
Now, I am a firm believer that there are right and wrong ways to comment on a pregnant woman's changing form. Almost everyone else I know gets it right - for instance: "Aww, you're beginning to show! It's so cute!" "Hi Mommy! I love your belly! You look great!" or even "Wow! Can I touch it? You're getting round!" All of these comments are acceptable, and make me want to spontaneously embrace the individual delivering the statement.
The Woman and IT Guy evidently missed the "social etiquette during pregnancy" memo. I am hoping that they will henceforth refrain from further commentary, or at least save it for moments when I'm not holding sharp objects. I fear that they may ellicit some kind of hormone-crazed pregnancy rage, and I really can't be held responsible for my actions.
Walk softly and fear the wild-eyed pregnant lady.