The first thing I learnt when I found out I was pregnant was that growing a human in my tummy apparently automatically means that I am willing and waiting to receive a lot of comments and opinions, from family, friends and complete strangers.
- I take the tram to work everyday, which makes for excellent people watching, but was horrendous when I had bad morning sickness. The other day I was reaching up to pull the cord to get off at the next stop, and one woman leaned over and frantically said “Don’t put your arms above your head! The cord will wrap around the baby’s neck and IT WILL DIE!” Thanks for that advice, lady. I’m just going to walk around with my arms pinned to my sides for the next six months.
- The anti-abortion protesters who I unknowingly walked past thought it would be a lovely idea to congratulate me for ‘keeping my baby’. I saw red, went mental and opened a can of verbal whoop-ass. Since when does being pregnant mean that I am pro-life?
- People with opinions on our baby names. One of the first questions people ask is whether we’ve started thinking of names. Before I knew better, I would reel off a few from the (long) shortlist, and what followed is a relentless critique from every angle, including clangers such as ‘I knew a Jack once, but he was an asshole’. I’m pretty sure that your opinion on the name of my future offspring is not relevant, Random Colleague, but thanks anyway.
- “You can’t eat that!” has got to be the overall most common offering. Sure, there are some dietary restrictions while you are up the duff – no runny eggs, no soft-cheese, no alcohol, no raw fish, no soft-serve ice-cream. (I have in fact eaten all of the above at some point in the last five months, with no ill effects. Mr Whippy has NEVER come down my street before, and when I heard that tinkly music last weekend I couldn’t grab my purse fast enough). But to the stranger who insisted on telling me off for eating a can of tuna and the sandwich shop lady who refused to put ham in my salad sandwich, I’d like to point that women have been doing this for a long, long time, often whilst drinking scotch and smoking a pack of fags a day.
- “You are SO BIG! Are you having twins?” This was from a midwife. Um, no, just one baby here. One enormous, overgrown baby. And I still have four months to go…