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Coffee-Induced Self-Editing (Four Weeks)

Coffee-Induced Self-Editing (Four Weeks)

My big plans of keeping all of this a secret until later lasted not even six weeks. I suck. Anyway, this week I’ll be catching you up on the stuff I’ve been writing about the antics of the devil spawn parasite tiny little miracle that is currently growing in my belly. I promise the coming weeks won’t be so breeder-oriented. Bear with me.

This morning I was getting a cup of coffee from the woman at the gym, as is my habit, and she asked how Mini was doing, as is hers. Naturally, I felt the burning compulsion I have felt since getting a positive pregnancy test last week to TELL EVERYONE about the fact that I’m pregnant, whether it is relevant or not — a compulsion that I indulged with Mini’s pregnancy, despite the ever-present possibility of something going wrong.

Even at only four weeks, it somehow feels relevant to tell people about this. I wish I understood why: do I think they will treat me differently? Do I honestly think the woman at the coffee place gives a shit if I’m pregnant? A month or so from now, when I get into that phase where I look fat but you cannot really tell that it’s from pregnancy or just me eating too much — now in that case, it might make sense, e.g. “I know, I look like a cow, don’t I? It’s actually pregnancy, though.”

It always feels like something I should be talking about, even with people I hardly know. But then I looked at the coffee cup in my hand and realized, maybe I haven’t fully explored the reasons that not having to tell people provides. Maybe let people find out a little bit later, when I don’t have a choice about telling them? Because as soon as you start telling, the bullshit starts.

The thing about being pregnant is that once you’re showing, everybody on earth feels compelled to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Sure, I could explain to the woman working at the coffee place that most doctors say one cup of coffee per day is no big deal and in any case, at 29 days the baby and I are not yet sharing a bloodstream, so this is kind of a bonus time, where I can get in a few last jolts of caffeine before a workout (what?! You’re working out while pregnant?! Have you checked with your OB?!) without worrying about anything.

Or, maybe the woman wouldn’t even care, given the fact that I’m buying coffee from her and contributing to her livlihood.

But when you’re pregnant, the CYA culture is so strong, that you do feel like you have to edit yourself. All of a sudden the “it takes a village” maxim is actually in effect, and strangers are patting your belly and asking if it’s a boy or a girl, as if it is any of their goddamn business, and why are you touching me, anyway?

So all at once I feel compelled to tell everyone, but my experience the first time around is reminding me that sometimes, it’s good to be able to hide, even if it’s just for a little while.

Comments (14)

  1. Feb 8, 2011

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I made a bet with a coworker that I could go the entire pregnancy without having my belly rubbed, using only evil looks and frostiness as a deterrent (i.e. not actually saying, “Don’t touch me”).

    I won.

  2. Feb 8, 2011

    I don’t know if it’s because I run in mostly gay circles, or because I have relatively few friends, or if I’m an anti-social hermit and don’t know it, but I have yet to get advice of any sort, and I am showing FOR SURE. People mostly want to know what if it’s a boy or a girl, and vacillate between gleeful and horrified when I tell them we don’t know. Maybe I have to be to the “almost falling over from the weight of my belly” stage?

  3. Feb 8, 2011

    Oh lord! The unsolicited advice is definitely not a fun part of being pregnant. I can’t say the worst part or even ONE OF the worst parts because there are so many of those. But yeah, good call on not telling the coffee lady.

  4. Feb 8, 2011

    I have a friend who didn’t tell anybody about her first pregnancy until she was 5 months along, for those exact reasons. FIVE MONTHS. Not even her parents.

    I must have appeared really intimidating, or maybe I was just so blissfully self-involved, because I didn’t notice a lot of unsolicited advice and not one single person touched my pregnant belly. I feel like I’m missing out on war stories, somehow.

  5. Feb 8, 2011

    I didn’t get unsolicited advice or belly rubs, myself. No one tried to tell me what or what not to eat or drink, apart from the authors of “What to Expect” (to which I was devoted during my first pregnancy but largely ignored throughout my second) and my OB. I also advocate a frosty demeanor. And it helps to be 5’11”, if you can manage it. 😉

  6. Feb 8, 2011

    What IS it about pregnancy that makes it impossible not to talk about? I literally have to figh the urge to tell EVERYONE, and that includes people I’d rather not talk to at all under normal circumstances! WHY?

  7. Feb 8, 2011

    I know this feeling! Before I was showing, I had to HOLD MYSELF BACK from running up to every visibly pregnant woman I saw and shouting “Me too! Me too!” at her.

  8. Feb 8, 2011

    Ok, I don’t know where I was when you announced this, but yeah!! Congratulations, I am soooo happy for you!! 🙂

    Oh, and I am sure you will deal with all those who need to touch preggo people and offer unsolicited (read-stupid) advice with an appropriate amount of necessary sarcasm!! ;0)

  9. Michelle
    Feb 8, 2011

    I didn’t hold myself back at all – and still got offered alcoholic beverages at family gatherings. And crankiness about needing to go rest.

    I’ll take the unsolicited advice! At least that I can counter with knowledge or ignore as needed.

    (First belly pat of my pregnancy was two days ago and I’m 22 weeks in)

  10. Michelle
    Feb 8, 2011

    And also, CONGRATS! I wish you an uneventful pregnancy.

  11. Feb 8, 2011

    I missed the bit where you announced so : Congrats!

    The whole thing is odd because on the one hand being pregnant, a vessel for this other human, is suddenly all you are about, so it seems natural to tell everyone you encounter. On other hand, then it starts. Somehow you are then public domain. With all that in mind…whatever! Do what you want, when you want. Goddess knows that being under constant scrutiny only just begins when you are pregnant and continues as long as you parent, pretty much forever.

  12. Feb 8, 2011

    It’s so totally universal among the about-to-be-a-mother community, this compulsion. I would tell this one particular employee at Kinkos whenever I came in what I was doing, as if he cared. (eg., “Need to copy this document from the State Department saying we’re approved to bring one child into the country! Look — Condoleezza Rice signed it!” or “Have to fax this signature off to our agency so they can charge our credit card even if we’re not in the country!”) I’m sure part of it was defensive overcompensation for not actually being pregnant, but I felt certain I could brighten the day of a complete stranger with the minutiae of my family building.

  13. Feb 8, 2011

    Warmest congratulations, Anna. I am very happy for you and I wish you a healthy, happy pregnancy. 🙂

  14. Feb 8, 2011

    I got ONE belly-rub my entire pregnancy, and it was from a woman who works at a deli across the street from my office that I frequent daily. I was so shocked that she had actually done it that I just stood there with my mouth open. I wish you (and every pregnant woman everywhere) a stranger-touching-you-free pregnancy.

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