My Apologies To Pregnant Women

I need to publicly apologize to all the pregnant women in the world who have walked by me these last 5 1/2 months. I’m sorry for having so blatantly gawked at you. I should have had better manners, since I am from Texas, but it’s just that I feel like a dog at a kill shelter watching my buddy who’s been in the slammer for 3 1/2 months longer than me, and I know where he’s going is where I’m going.  So yeah, I’m scared. Especially before my bump started to show. Back then I felt like I was in hiding, able to observe from a safe distance. I don’t know how the preggos didn’t sniff me out.  I thought being pregnant was like being gay–if you are one you know who else is. But they never caught on and so I watched with mouth agape as they waddled to their cars, picked out baby room decor and asked for the nearest restroom.

But now I’m here and starting to show and I don’t know if I like that people can tell. Especially since I’m in that weird stage of it, where to some it may look like I’ve been drinking too much beer rather than had sex without protection. As a result, karma’s getting the better of me and I’m getting double gawked at by other incognito mother’s-to-be and the security dude at my office. And I understand it, I’m a walking “Morphing-Into-Something-Else-Being” right now. I’m straddling the two worlds of no baby and yes baby and no one can do anything but watch as I drift into another reality and become one of “them”.

“Them” as in couples with babies. Not that I ever wanted to think of them as “them”, but so many families rip themselves from the rest of us. And I don’t think that has to be the case. When my husband and I visited Barcelona a couple of years ago, families were walking around and hanging out at bars and restaurants filled with drunken singles. They didn’t get all huffy when a person next to their baby started smoking or got wasted. Sure they might have moved the kid, but they moved, they didn’t ask anyone else to. To each his own! As a result, all seemed happy. The parents didn’t even look like parents the way American parents do. Something about parents here; it’s like they lose their identity and end up looking like casual fashion ads from REI where the family is dressed to compliment one another so everyone can see they are of the same unit. While overseas parents were just as dressed up or down as anyone else-very much themselves; by chance they had a little one dangling off their shoulders, but they kept talking away with their friends without their kids interrupting or expecting to be the center of attention.

So why is it that the generation that brought pajamas to office attire and tattoos to the mainstream have somehow or other become more obnoxiously sterile and constrictive about what a family should be than those in the 50’s who propagated the Stepford Wife nuclear family ideal? Aren’t we cooler than that? Do we have to be so uptight like a bad rom-com female protagonist? The strangest part about it all is that some have assumed that I’d like to be one of “them” without ever even asking.

Just because I’m gonna be a mom, please don’t assume I want to go to baby conventions and events (seriously I just found out about some). Just because I’m gonna be a mom, don’t think that being a mom is the number one thing on my mind (well except in my blog). And don’t think because I’m gonna be a mom, I’m as excited about joining the mommy club as you might have been.

Thank God we have friends who somehow balance being parents with being people. I know there are ways to make life’s conventional roles your own. In my marriage, we never assumed that we needed to “settle down” and only hang out with other married couples. We continued to surround ourselves with all different people in all different stages of their lives. Of course, I did feel a similar slip into a different reality when I left the world of singles. It was a little scary then to know I’d no longer get to spend a night with girlfriends partying it up to prove that the guy who dumped me made an obviously major mistake (look at me now!); but the change into married life felt reasonable since many of our friends were in relationships themselves. We may have been the only married people for awhile, but not the only couple, so we never felt too different. But suddenly a baby comes on board and I see it in the eyes of my friends–I’m falling off the life raft and slowly slipping into the abyss. As my stomach grows I see their faces grow more distant. I want to say, please don’t let me fall, but I know they’re just waiting to see if I can swim.

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