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Triathlete Blog

Things People Say

By February 2, 2010July 20th, 2015No Comments

The other night I had a dream that I had a baby boy. And a two-year old girl.

Analyze that one.

Everyone keeps asking me what I am having. I can confirm that it is human. Beyond that, I do not yet know. I have a doctor’s appointment in one more week. There might be an ultrasound involved. There might not. They just don’t tell you. Not only do they make you wait 4 weeks between appointments (isn’t there something you need to tell me? Don’t you want to keep an eye on me? Aren’t there things I shouldn’t be doing right now that you need to remind me about?), but they don’t tell you what is coming up at the next one.

It was Saturday evening that I was at Aubrey’s first birthday. As far as first year birthday’s go, it was off the hook. Halfway through it, she stripped half her clothes and donned a poofy pink party hat. Yes, there was the token cake all over the face photo. There was also a lot of asking about what am I having. Really, I don’t know. But that didn’t mean people didn’t want to take a guess.

My gut instinct says it’s a boy. There are plenty of old wives tales for me to refer to but I am going with the gut which suspects boy. Oddly enough, Chris’ aunt whom I never see also thinks it is going to be a boy. Going through the buffet line, I learned why:

She is having a boy because she is getting prettier.

Wow. To think that if it had gone the other way, it would have gone really, really bad.

This is not really about gender, though. It’s about the things that people say to you when you’re pregnant (first example, above). There must be a scarlet P on my head because it seems like everyone has something to say about me being pregnant and uses it as permission to say and do things you don’t normally do. Do you know how many people touched my stomach at Aubrey’s party? But it’s my stomach. It’s not technically a private part but imagine if you went up to one of your relatives and just touched their stomach.

Kind of, sort of…awkward?

Tummy touched, told I was – THANKFULLY – getting prettier – and then came the comments surrounding food. Now, I don’t know if it is because I am getting bigger that I am sensitive about food comments because they are usually so closely tied to body image OR if I have become a complete chow box deserving of the comments. Though I will say I avoided sweets all week so I could have a damn piece of ice cream birthday cake. And I did. It was a big piece. It was filled with cake batter ice cream and I loved every bite of it. I was carrying the plate of it to the family room when someone said to me:

Every time I see you, you are eating something sweet.

Ok, that – for the record – was a lie because it was the FIRST sweet thing I had eaten all night. But it got under my hopefully not to stretch marky skin. And honestly I wanted to throw the cake away because I thought – maybe they are right. Maybe I should put the cake down because the only place that cake is going is straight to my rear end which is getting fluffier WITHOUT my help.

It gets better. I was at masters on Sunday. While the rest of the team dove off the blocks, I was put into the lane of those pushing off the wall. Nothing more needs to be said about that. While waiting for my heat to go off, here’s what someone said to me:

This is kind of a risky question, but, are you by any chance pregnant? Because you are usually so small.

What if I had said no. What if it was a really bad winter and I just ate myself into happiness. Of course, I said yes and if the masters team mascot was a whale I would step up and represent because that is how I am starting to feel in a swimsuit (and as a side note, I need to get a new swimsuit before I start showing ass crack because the damn thing is getting TOO SMALL!). But it got me to thinking – I am only 4 months into this. If people are saying things like that now, where will they go? What is next?

If you keep running, that baby will fall right out of you.

No, they haven’t said that yet, but I was already warned that it is coming.

Someone else on the team made a public display of my chest. YES it is getting bigger. But objects are not bigger than they appear. It’s all an illusion! That is what happens when you go from nothing to something! Anyhow, the person told my fellow swimmers that to know that I am truly pregnant they need not look at my stomach (and I missing something here, it is sticking out right now like I just ate 10 bowls of pasta) but they DO need to look at my chest. LOOK AT THE CHEST they shouted! For god’s sake, please don’t! This is swim practice, not the Playboy Mansion!

I take all of this – touching and commentary, with mixed feelings. It depends on my mood and how hormonal I am. Some days the slightest thing sets me off. Other days I am crying at commercials. Maybe I am a little sensitive right now. All right, I know I am. I got teary-eyed while watching the end of Miss America. AND WHY WAS I WATCHING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! But it just seems like people let their guards down – way down – with pregnant women. Things you wouldn’t say, shouldn’t say seem to easily come rolling out of their mouth.

Case in point:

How do you think you will manage your business and motherhood.

Depending on the level of hormones pumping through your body, a question like this might explode you into gender-inequity laced fury or straight into tears of perhaps I am doomed for failure. But you realize that a question like this has nothing to do with you but everything to do with the person who asked the question. It only reflects their insecurity, their discomfort with multitasking, with managing more than one role, with keeping balanced in a chaos. And so you realize when pregnant that a lot of what people say to you or ask you is only what they fear themselves – about themselves of for themselves.

Of all the things on sale at BuyBuyBaby, the one thing I didn’t see were…pregnancy ear muffs.

I would definitely like a pair.

Forget all of those other comments and questions, here is my favorite:

How much weight have you gained?

Is there any right answer to this one? Because no matter what you say, it is too much. You can see their heads doing the math after you tell them – and the result is oh, you are screwed. You might as well call yourself Captain Liz because your body is going to be a barge any day now. And then we’re going to need one of those cranes to get you out of bed.

Speaking of things people say and ask, I ask myself a lot of questions. Like how many times can I pee during a 60 minute workout (answer: every 15 minutes – note that tempting fate by seeing if you can make it 20 is a good way to pee yourself while running like mad to the bathroom). How much longer will I fit into my regular jeans (I know that any day now I will be in a wardrobe that consists entirely of elastic pants). How much will my baby weigh (I draw the line at giving birth to anything that weighs more than my dog). How many times can you wake up during the night and still call it sleep. When will I feel the baby move?

I’m pretty sure I’ve felt fluttering or maybe that was just gas. It’s hard to say.

I walked into masters the other day and my usual swimming friend A.N. was there. She was asking me how far along I was and then said: Elizabeth, you look great. It’s funny, becuase of all the things people say to you when pregnant, few make you feel good or confident about yourself. At best, they make you feel awkward and ridiculous. But like any other time in life, a simple compliment goes a long way.

As for everything else, it is just part of the pregnancy experience. The comments, the looks, the touching. Oh yes, I am now learning first hand. There is no right answer to any of the questions you are asked. Even if there was, it would change day to day. That is the nature of pregnancy. It is unpredictable just like the things people say.