Monday, September 22, 2014

Confessions of a Childless Wonder: Pregnancy and Stupid People

There must be something in the water, because I am surrounded by pregnant women.  I'm actually starting to think that I might be some kind of Fertility Goddess.  I'm mostly kidding but for the record, what all the pregnant women I know have in common is sex and me.  I'm not claiming ANY credit or responsibility for the pregnancies of the women I know, I'm just saying maybe my refusal to use my reproductive powers has created some kind of rub-off effect and made them more fertile (and yes, being this full of crap hurts sometimes).

Part of knowing so many pregnant ladies at one time is getting to hear their stories and ask stupid questions.  The other day, I literally asked my friend Michelle from Juicebox Confession what it was like to have a wiggly baby in there because all I can imagine is that scene from "Alien vs. Predator".  I like to think that she answers me so graciously because she knows I'm asking out of mostly legitimate fear genuine curiosity and trying to be funny, though at this point I should probably just hope she just thinks I'm a lovable idiot.  Poor Michelle, I've said some seriously stupid things to her and she just keeps talking to me... bless her, she's wonderful.

But for all my stupid questions, I can almost guarantee I'm not the biggest idiot Michelle or any of the expectant woman I know have ever encountered as proven by this post she shared on her Facebook Page recently.


A lot of the Mommy Bloggers I know have been referring to this thing call "Pregnancy Brain" or "Momnesia".  I'm not entirely sure what that is, but apparently it is a real thing.  Not that I doubted them, I just don't know this shit.  There are lots of studies into hormones and pheromones, especially concerning pregnant women.  It is a fact that pregnant women are more apt to seek out people with similar chemical makeup for support during pregnancy, and the fact that pheromones given off by pregnant women can suppress the testosterone in her (male) partner and increase his production of the hormone prolactin.

Basically, hormones are important.  But what I really think needs to be studied is what it is exactly that turns people into entitled fucking idiots when there is a pregnant woman around.

I only briefly touched on this in my first Childless Wonder Confession, but I've rarely encountered a woman who has had a child who doesn't have a story about being approached by a complete stranger and being:
  • 1. Subjected to unsolicited opinions about their pregnancy (up to and including comments about their diet, their size, etc)
  • 2. Asked stupid questions (and yes, my questions are stupid but at least I "know" the people I'm directing my stupid questions to) 
  • 3. Touched

And I'm flabbergasted.  

I will admit that I've said such horrid things in the past like "You're huge".  I'm guilty and I'm sorry.  After being around such honest and forthcoming bloggers, I've learned that like any person who is "bigger" a pregnant woman doesn't need you to point out her size or tell her how huge she is; I'm a failure as a fatty because any fat person should know better than to point out size no matter the reason (even if I think pregnant makes being "large" acceptable and adorable).

When it comes to stupid questions, I've asked my mommy friends and family just about everything.  I'm really lucky and fortunate to have the women in my life that I do because every single one of them either accepts/excepts the inappropriate and generally snarky strands of word turds that come out of me or revels in them... and that includes my stupid questions.  I've also made totally insensitive remarks about aliens and how utterly feckin' creeped out I get when you can see the outline of a heel or a foot pushing outward, but the fact that the ability to create life within your own body is amazing and miraculous isn't completely lost on me.

After admitting my offenses, I have to say even I'm irritated and offended by the things I see and hear people do.

On what planet is it appropriate to walk up to someone and talk about what they're eating?  I would never in a million years walk up to a woman and attempt to talk to her about what she was eating or doing "in her condition".  I mean, maybe if she was doing shots in order to prepare to skydive (which, apparently, might actually not be the most unacceptable to do while pregnant - skydive, not shots).  But I would never attempt to correct a woman for eating mercury-laden fish and chasing it with a cuppa joe so thick the spoon stands.

I don't understand how pregnancy somehow blurs the line of appropriate social interaction.  In Confessions of a Childless Wonder, I confessed that while I really do like kids, especially babies, even kids deserve to have their personal space acknowledged and respected.  I definitely do not touch the children of strangers (though, if we're related all bets are off).  I can't imagine anything more obnoxious than going to the grocery store and having someone you don't know reach out and touch your baby's hands as they sit in their carrier in the cart, which the baby then shoves into their mouth.  This is why I don't have kids, because I would be in Warrior Don't-Touch-My-Effing-Kid mode CONSTANTLY because clearly there is something wrong with people.

I worked with a girl a long time ago, we'll call her "Kasey", during her second pregnancy.  One Summer day, Kasey had driven across town to get some supplies from the local office store and had stopped at a gas station on the way back.  When she got back to where we worked together, she told me some woman had walked up to her and started rubbing her belly (she was maybe 6 1/2-7 months at the time).  When Kasey asked her if she knew her, she replied "I run the corn stand across the street" (I don't know if they do this everywhere, but in Wisconsin it is not unusual to see trucks with produce from local farmers selling out of parking lots on major roads) as if selling sweet corn out of a rusty pickup somehow qualifies her as someone able to walk around touching complete strangers.

I've heard other, similar stories from other expectant women and moms.  Some who have even taken a step back or said something to the personal bubble trespasser only to be criticized for it...because apparently to some people wanting personal space when it comes to strangers is offensive.

When I was like 23, I went to a Buckcherry concert and pushed my way to the front.  I was 3 people from the front barricade in front of the stage, and I eventually had to turn around and go back because I was being touched by so many people.  I was covered in sweat and it definitely was not all mine (thank god I'm vaccinated against Hepatitis B).  I was so grossed out that I went home, peeled off my clothes and climbed in a scalding hot shower, washing with anti-bacterial soap until the water ran cold... because ew.  Most people know this, but as a general rule I'm not a super touchy/feely person.  I enjoy it, but I'm not usually the person to reach for a hug first... like ever.  I'm usually even less touchable if I'm sweating my balls off  gassy  barfy uncomfortable.  If I reach out to you, it's a serious compliment or comment about how I'm feeling.  I can't imagine what it must be like to have people walking up to me and touching my belly and expecting me to stand there and take it with a smile... especially if I'm feeling any of the way pregnant women sometimes feel (see Michelle's post above).

Being in the "family way" does not make a woman "familiar" and therefore open to being touched by everyone.  I just don't understand it and I can't figure out why people this it is acceptable and appropriate to touch someone so intimately.  I don't like my stomach being touched NOW, I think the addition of carrying/producing such precious cargo might only make such a thing more inappropriate to me.

Maybe I'm way off base here, because we all know I've never been pregnant.  Maybe it makes some women feel great and they aren't offended by it.  But I think if you want to reach out and touch someone... maybe you could do the polite and decent thing, act like you have some home training and ASK.  Then, don't be offended if someone doesn't want your strange mitts all over their lady lumps.

I think the important thing to remember here is something my Mom told me as a kid every time we walked into a store with expensive, breakable things with a "You Break It, You Buy It" Policy:

Look with your eyes, NOT with your hands!

Am I way off base here?  Is there something I don't understand?  Is there anyone out there who isn't offended by strangers walking up and touching them?

13 comments:

  1. i didn't know much about you before this post and now i went to your bio page too. are you the youngest in our blogging group? ah to be young. :) loved the post and your empathy for pregnant women!

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    1. I think I might be, but I'm not 100% sure on that one. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Spot on! What a delightful read!

    I never understood how being pregnant made me somehow the target for some people's need to touch things, mostly me! Or comment on anything.

    One time when I was pregnant with my first I had to ride the bus to my ob appointments with the seniors.

    You never feel quite like your space is being violated till you are the only young thing producing life on a bus full of people who are looking back on life. I felt sure they were trying to drain me like some sweet fountain of youth!

    Loved this post!!

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  3. Could not be more true! I mean honestly! It always made me feel "gross" to have creepy strangers touch my belly or my babies! Like back the eff off, ya know?

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  4. Yeah - it's gross and people feel like they can say ANYTHING. I'm not touchy feely at all. Someone touched me in an elevator once and I slapped her hand. And somehow I was the bad guy. I don't think I've ever been that upset. Not good for the baby to increase your blood pressure like that either.

    Rant over. Good blog. Thanks.

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  5. I did not like anybody touching me, not even the doctors that I had to see on a weekly basis. Not my mom, not my sister, and for damn sure not a stranger. I had only one weirdo try to touch me and one old mothball smelling lady try to touch my son after he was born. I just don't get it.

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  6. I had a lady at an outlet mall reach for my belly to rub it when I was pregnant. My friend jumped in front of me and yelled, "Don't touch her!" It was definitely a weird experience.

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