Culture of Death,  pregnancy

Blinded by the Life

I’m a little bit spoiled in that I have 4 younger sisters (and 2 little brothers, but I’ll kindly leave them out of this) and while two of them are out of town working the family business of racking up dolla dolla bills at FUS (to be paid back over a lifetime of SAHM-ing), 2 live very conveniently close to me.

Okay, full disclosure: one just took up temporary residence in my basement with her brood of blonde offspring. The other is a blushing bride-to-be with a knack for taming nephews into gentlemen of sorts, or at least getting them to bed in a reasonably efficient fashion.

Bridal sister was kind enough to have mercy on a desperate, waddling woman and snuck me out of the house mid-morning today for a little third trimester pedicure action, which you long-term readers might recognize as a cry of desperation/induction method round these parts. Such is not yet the case as I am but a tender 35 weeks ripe (poor, poor choice of verbiage there) but the pampering was glorious, nonetheless. And I must say, I think I’m getting a thicker (perhaps it’s all the water retention?) skin, because when my petite and beautiful pedicurist leaned back and eyed up mount midsection and proclaimed “you huge, you have big baby in there!” I merely batted my puffy eyes and smiled indulgently down at her whilst she scrubbed my calloused heels.

“Yes, I make large children. It’s my specialty.”

I folded my hands serenely over my massive girth and settled deeper into my massage chair, sighing in relaxation. I snuck a glance over at Hillary and saw that all was not well with her soul, however.

Mouth agog, the future Mrs. blinked at me in horror, a flush creeping over her face and neck on my behalf. I leaned over and patted her dear arm and assured her that this was not all that unusual and yes, strangers say this kind of shit to pregnant women all.the.time. Sometimes it’s nice stuff, sometimes it’s not so nice stuff, and sometimes it’s just a straight up cultural collision of inappropriate-to-say-to-your-best-friend-let-alone-your-customer/a-complete-stranger.

We continued our sisterly date over lunch, reflecting on the utter weirdness of hearing people’s internal monologues vomited on of the sidewalk in front of you, thanks to a simple biological process known as procreation. I reminded her that in a culture of death like the one we inhabit, new life is always a little bit shocking and a little bit in your face, so to speak.

I honestly think people can’t help but blurt in front of pregnant women because, frankly, it isn’t every day you see a human growing out of the front of somebody. Maybe in some areas of the world it is, but in medium-sized-metropolis USA, it sure ain’t the norm.

On good days I think of these little encounters as opportunities for evangelization, or at least much-needed doses of humility. On bad days I stare morosely into the freezer at 11 pm and think about eating the rest of whatever ice cream flavor is currently growing a layer of ice crystals.

While I can’t promise I won’t pen weekly odes to gestational obesity from here on out, I can only assume that this is going to become a somewhat regular theme for me to touch on here as I increase and my sense of dignity decreases. Or something like that.

At any rate, my toes look amazing, and it turns out I chose a super appropriately named shade of pink:

11 Comments

  • Beth (A Mom's Life)

    You never know what the ladies are going to say at the nail salon. And typically it’s in a foreign language so I don’t even know what they are saying….although I’m always pretty certain it’s something about me!

  • motheringspirit

    Love this point that seeing pregnant women is no longer as common in the U.S. as it is elsewhere, and thus people feel the need to remark upon this “strange! bizarre! phenomenon!” I hope this helps me be a wee bit more forgiving once strangers start again to ask me mid-grocery shopping whether I’m sure I’m not having twins.

  • KaeBee

    I loved this post and it really got me to thinking about how one of the biggest “compliments” given to pregnant women in our culture is, “You’re x weeks along! You don’t look like it at all- you’re so tiny!” or “You don’t even look like you’re pregnant! I can’t even tell from the back!” Not that I was on the receiving end of these gems during pregnancy. Or at least not after the first trimester. 🙂 But I had chalked it up to the screwed up way we look at weight/thinness in our culture. After reading your post, I’m starting to think this has more to do with our culture of death. We’re complimenting women for looking like they don’t actually have a life growing in them. “Good for you! You aren’t fully giving yourself over/getting your body and life screwed up by your children!” And I’m just going to say it goes the same for the post partum side. Because as much as I love hearing people say how I don’t look like I’ve had 6 kids, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with looking like I’ve had six kids. (Even though, the joke’s on them. Five are adopted, so…only one actually stretched me out and left his marks/battle scars.)

  • [email protected] Catholic Mama

    Well, as someone who constantly gets the “you’re so tiny”, “you don’t even look like you are pregnant”, “you don’t look that far along” stuff, even with my 4th baby I would much rather hear that I’m huge, than that I’ve “don’t even look pregnant”, when I am in fact 8 months pregnant and have gained 30 pounds. Really…people should just not comment about what a pregnant women looks like at all, other than a simple “you look great”

  • Charlene McGuckin

    I feel you on the big babies. My husband is 6’4 and EVERY time I went grocery shopping the cashier insisted I was having twins. I told her I wasn’t and she simply sighed and said…”you’ll see, sweetie. you’ll see.” Needless to say, only one came out…

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