in Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy

Pregnancy Third Degree

  • April 29, 2017
  • By Ashleigh
Pregnancy Third Degree

I’m huge and it’s more than obvious. The appearance of my pregnant belly is inescapable. Besides hating the physicality of being pregnant, the unavoidable conversations related to my pregnancy is worse.

This is my third. The excitement and glow are long gone and replaced with tired eyes to match an overall disheveled appearance. When finding myself in social situations – usually at the playground – conversations can’t help but to revolve around the fetus growing inside of me and anything related to my family dynamic.

I get it. It can be awkward to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, but it can be even more awkward to share the same space for an extended period of time in silence. Enter a huge pregnant belly. Boom! Easy conversation starter. Understandable, but annoying nonetheless.

The following is a basic rundown of how a typical conversation goes. It might deviate slightly, but not by much.

Stranger: When are you due? or How far along are you? (No, “Hi! How are you doing?”. No bullshit or beating around the bush.)

Me: I’m due at the beginning of June. (I’ve lost track of my current pregnancy week and month so I offer up a rough due date as an answer to either of the above questions.)

Stranger: What number baby will this be? Do you have any others? 

Me: This will be my third. I have two other boys.

Stranger: Oh wow! What are their ages? (I like to think their initial shock is because I look too young to have three kids. Self-consciously I know it’s more related to the fact I look like a hot mess who hasn’t slept in days and barely handling the two I have.)

Me: I have a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. (This is where you see the horrifying looks on people’s faces upon realizing I will have three kids aged three and under. Bulging eyes. Obnoxiously wide open mouths. The spectacle can be both annoying and entertaining.)

Enter a pause while they attempt to do the math in their head of how long I waited in between pregnancies creating an awkward silence. They try to collect their thoughts and think of an appropriate response without being rude, but the look on their faces has already ruined any chance of that.

I used to feel an insecurity from their judgmental looks and reactions, causing me to explain why my husband and I chose to have our children so close together so quickly. I felt as if I owed them a reason to my family planning choices.

Why did I feel the need to defend myself? Why was it any of their business? Why did I care what they thought?

The exchange from here on out differs depending on what more invasive information they want to know. Most often they’ll go onto remark how I probably hope it’s a girl knowing I currently have two boys. I don’t think I have it in me to hear another person tell me how I must hope and wish for a girl. I never really understood the ignorant thinking associated with assuming what gendered child one would prefer to birth over another and why. Regardless, I just carry on with the conversation in hopes it’ll end soon.

I always found it interesting how a random person can become so comfortable questioning me in detail about my personal decisions and choices. Besides the typical water cooler chatter of weather, current events, and sports, people usually don’t dig much deeper.

Most people adhere to the unwritten social rules of what is considered acceptable and unacceptable topics when talking to a person they don’t know. But somehow there are no rules when you are carrying a human inside of your uterus. Almost as if your protruding stomach is an invitation, opening the door for the third degree.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy talking and sharing stories with others. Hell, I look forward to as much adult interaction as possible. What I don’t enjoy is people’s uninvited opinions, unfiltered responses and never-ending interrogations. Can we talk about something else, please?

After the hundredth or so time going through this exchange, I stopped caring. Stopped caring what people thought or why they thought it. Deciding on having kids, how many and when is unique to each family. Just as every family is different, so is their situation.

I’ve thought about ways to avoid this all together, but that would involve me never leaving the house or maybe wearing a sandwich board around that included all the important details. Both are equally ridiculous.

Until this baby is born, I’ll just have to endure this routine line of exhaustive questioning. With a smile on my face, I’ll answer the questions and explain our story time and time again.

By Ashleigh, April 29, 2017
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