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Leave the Pregnant Lady Alone, Please

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Guest blogger Ronda Kaysen: It's Monday morning. I'm 37 weeks pregnant. I just dropped my unbearably cranky 3-year-old off at preschool after enduring two tantrums, one that involved him needing to clutch his dirty socks at the breakfast table. I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions and a backache for a week. I'm very cranky myself.

pregnant woman

I am now standing in a long line at Dunkin' Donuts with all the other commuters waiting for our early-morning caffeine fix. I make my way to the front. I give the cashier my order: a small coffee with milk, no sugar.

He responds, "Regular or decaf?"

I hadn't mentioned decaf. Why on earth would I go to all this trouble for decaf? "Regular," I say.

"Are you sure?" he says with a smirk.

He has to be kidding. He must be kidding. There is no way this middle-aged man working at Dunkin' Donuts -- which, I must say, sells terrible, weak coffee, despite its sizeable fan base -- knows what's best for me. "Why wouldn't I want regular?" I ask.

He glances at my enormous belly and shrugs. I grab my coffee and leave. I am now seething. Did I mention I'm very cranky?

Ten minutes later, at my now-weekly prenatal visit, I tell my midwife of my recent encounter. "Next time, tell him the baby's tired," she suggests.

If my Dunkin' Donuts encounter was the first time a stranger had weighed in on the needs of a fetus he'll never know, I wouldn't have been so angry. But it wasn't. It happens with surprising frequency. I've had waiters question whether or not I should order a regular coffee with my dessert, even though one to two cups of coffee is considered fine while pregnant. I've had a neighbor's friend ask me if it was smart to jump on a trampoline with my toddler, who barely jumps at all. And I've been denied half a glass of champagne at a friend's wedding before I had to give the toast as the Matron of Honor. (If there's ever a time that a pregnant woman needs a sip of bubbly, it's when she's about to make a speech in front of 200 strangers.)

For some reason, when you're pregnant, your bump becomes public domain. Perfect strangers feel the need to offer advice on matters that are none of their business. People feel the urge to comment. And as my bump gets larger and begins to resemble a large beach ball protruding from my overstretched maternity shirt, the comments and unsolicited advice seem to only increase.

Pregnancy is a period wherein your body becomes a subject of public speculation and conversation. People guess the baby's sex based on how fat your face looks or how oblong your abdomen happens to be. People comment on how tired you look or whether you're carrying "big" or "small." And then they comment on the things you do and the foods you eat.

It's hard enough being pregnant. Your body is being held hostage, your clothes don't fit, you can't tie your own shoes -- and that's before you even consider the heartburn, insomnia, nausea and exhaustion.

Add to that the meddling comments from the guy at Dunkin' Donuts, and a girl could scream. If I could have one wish for pregnancy, it would be that strangers would look at me, smile and say, "Congratulations, you look lovely," if they are compelled to say anything at all.


next: Brains vs. Batteries
13 comments so far | Post a comment now
KS November 9, 2010, 3:22 PM

If you were like me and so inclined you could screw with this guys head in a way that would leave him scarred for life.

Go get yourself one of those little bottles of liquor from any source. Dump it out then put in a liquid sweetener you have colored at home so that this clerk doesn’t know the difference.

The next time he or anyone else makes a comment about your coffee consumption pull out your modified sweetener and tell them it can’t be any worse than a double shot of bourbon and dump in the entire bottle. HA the look on their face would be worth all the trouble.

Jilly November 10, 2010, 6:50 AM

While I can appreciate that is really is none of their business, at least they are people who give a damn about a human life, right? They should not judge someone without all the details, but since you don’t know them either, shrug it off! Like I said, at least they appear to be decent folks if they have concern.

Kristin November 10, 2010, 8:13 AM

KS—I love you! hahahaha

Christina November 10, 2010, 8:20 AM

Jilly,

I have to disagree. These aren’t decent people, they are judgmental and uninformed. I can’t tell you the number of times I pulled out bottles for my twin boys in a public setting and was told “you know, breast is best”. Excuse me!?!?!? Breast milk can be pumped. Hello? The kind of behavior the writer describes is obnoxious and intrusive and flat out rude.

Mom in Ohio November 10, 2010, 10:31 AM

Just another nosy judgemental PITA. When DD was a baby, an old man at the store said I shouldn’t use a pacifier b/c she’ll never learn to talk. I told him to go get bent and I didn’t intend to let her talk to nasty strangers like him anyway.

Tow Ratings For Trucks November 25, 2010, 12:08 AM

The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.

mrktlr December 1, 2010, 9:08 PM

Once my gf was pregnant she didnt really have time for me anymore and spent most of her time with her friends, she didnt want to spend any time with me. We did split up. But later on in her pregnancy she started talking to me more and we got on a lot better and ended up getting back together. After our daughter was born she went off the rails with PPD and that was a nightmare. I think hormones can do crazy things! My gf couldnt bond with our daughter and she ended up hitting me and I had to throw her out. But she got help and we are back together now and shes great with our little girl. Was your baby planned? She may be feeling scared of becoming a mother, and with you being the closest to her, lashing out at you. I think the only way to sort things out is to sit her down and talk everything through, from how she feels about the pregnancy, to why shes lashing out at you so much.
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robinbolt December 10, 2010, 4:45 AM

The next time he or anyone abroad makes a animadversion about your coffee burning cull out your adapted aspartame and acquaint them it be any worse than a bifold attempt of bourbon and dump in the absolute bottle. HA the attending on their face would be account all the trouble.
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