Autumn is a subdued, settled season for me. The slide from red to orange to brown and then the slump into gray mellows me into contemplative, introverted, creative solitude. How apropos that I should be having my first child during this season as it affords me the luxury of misty mornings, crisp afternoons, subtle evenings; I relax and rest and quietly nest and wait in our little abode on the hill.
The other day I snuck off to run errands while Ian recuperated from his previous night’s shift. Since I was in the old town historical part of the city, I couldn’t resist dropping by a favorite cafe for something fally & yummy.
Obviously, I’m not opposed to an occasional caffeinated beverage or to gluten goodies. Those are two myths of pregnancy, in my opinion, that should be dispelled if you like to enjoy a treat now & then. In saying that, I’m referencing some stats and explanations that come from the book Expecting Better by economist Emily Oster. Just as with alcohol, if your body is normally accustomed to the process of digesting and filtering the substance, it will continue to do the same during pregnancy; there are various opinions about whether or not a woman should drink caffeine or alcohol or eat sugar or gluten when she’s pregnant. I made an informed decision about such choices regarding my own health and the health of my baby with provided information from my care provider and through discussions & research with my husband. I encourage others to do the same. In any case, the other day I nestled into the oversized cushions and enjoyed my mid-afternoon snack. And I thought about some things …
You know those shirts with printed quips such as “$1 to rub the belly”, “Private Property”, “If you didn’t put it here then don’t touch it”? I think they’re hysterical! My friends who’d been pregnant before used to tell me that strangers would come up to them in the grocery store or at the mall and pat their bellies, just because. I, having never been pregnant, responded with dismay and claimed that would never happen to me when I got a swollen belly. But they all said, “Yes it will! It happens to everyone when they’re pregnant.”
Well, I just got to thinking about that the other day. Here I am in my third trimester of pregnancy, and I admit that I didn’t really look pregnant until I was 30 weeks along in the process. Maybe that fact maintained my anonymity. Up to this point, I have not had any strangers initiate a belly rub for good luck and, fortunately, even close family & friends have been respectful enough to keep their distance or to cautiously, sweetly ask to touch my property.
Reflecting on that, I realize that I feel preserved as the woman I was before becoming a mother; I feel protected as the wife of my husband; I feel decent and respectable as a person who’s given up her body image sacrificially.
So, if most women experience some mild violation of their mid drift, why have I been exempt from that? I just wonder about these things since I have a BA in Psychology; I think about human behavior and its consequences …
I’m not exactly sure the reasons. I think there are various factors in my case being that I’m unusually tall, I have short hair and a sturdy stance, and I haven’t looked very pregnant. But I also wonder if random people haven’t approached me because I exude a confidence that communicates respect; meaning that, I don’t look or seem vulnerable.
I don’t know that most of my friends who’ve had their bellies rubbed look vulnerable, in a sense, but I wonder if they appear more tangible or innocent. I do recall mentioning to a friend of mine who’s had 7 children that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be approached by a stranger just because I was pregnant and that being due to the fact that I’m tall, and she agreed that might be the case. I guess it has been, but I just wonder why. This is all theorizing and speculation, of course.
So, if you’ve been pregnant, have you had that experience before? How did you handle it? If you’re never been pregnant, how would you like to handle privacy and protect your belly?
Maybe I’m simply overly self-protective, but I always thought my friends’ incidences were weird. And even though I think those T-shirts are so funny, I refuse to wear one, because I don’t want to attract any attention to the belly! Haha.
I’ll just wear bright yellow galoshes instead as I traipse about the garden center hoisting potted plants and dribbling water stains down my belly …