The running commentary

Written by: Sheri

Has anyone else noticed that when your belly reaches a certain size, complete strangers feel compelled to comment about your body, your pregnancy, and how you plan to raise your unborn child?

It’s uncanny really. There’s something about a woman ready to give birth that compels people to offer commentary and advice. I know a lot of woman who are offended by such comments—after all, it is really none of other people's business. But after hearing enough of these passing statements, I find they become funny. (I figure, there’s no stopping people, so I might as well laugh at the situation.)

These days, I can tell whether a comment or story is going to be a doozy by the way someone looks at me before they even open their mouth. A few weeks ago after a spinning class, someone said to me, “Wow, I thought you were going to go into labor right there on the bike!” (For the record, I’ve been doing some easy cycling through my whole pregnancy, and these days I don’t come anywhere close to breaking a sweat.) Um, thanks? Sorry?
Last week at the pool, a woman told me, “That bathing suit isn’t going to fit you much longer.” Hopefully it won’t have to!

And there are more:

“Are you having twins?” (Nope, this is how big one baby gets.)

“Wow, you’ve still got a long time to go!” (After 37 weeks, three more doesn’t seem that bad lady.)

“What’s the baby’s name going to be?” (I haven’t even told my mom that one!)

My personal favorite experience was in the produce section of the grocery store last week. I was wearing a green wool coat, which is the only outerwear that fits me these days. An older woman with a pierced nose and spiky short hair came up to me. “I just have to tell you,” she said, “that when I was pregnant with my daughter, I wore a green wool shawl all winter. It was the only thing that fit me.” Her initial comment wasn’t bad, but then she launched into a full discourse about her pregnancy, her thoughts on co-sleeping, ideas about how many children you should have, and so on. When I could finally get a word in edgewise, I replied, “Well, green seems to be a good color to wear during pregnancy,” and then promptly headed for the salad greens. Later that night, my husband and I had a good chuckle over it.

On the days when I’m overloaded with winter gear, lugging around a toddler who doesn’t like to walk through deep snow, and generally trying to survive the day, there are some people – often strangers, too – who help remind me that this pregnancy is a blessing.

These are the people who clearly understand what it feels like to be nine months pregnant. They say things like, “You look great!” and “You must be so excited to meet your baby.” They’re the people I’m really grateful for.

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