Your Experience is Different from My Experience and I Don’t Like That

The other day at work a woman asked me how it feels to “never be alone.” I didn’t understand and asked her to clarify. She said “When you’re pregnant, you’re never alone. Isn’t it nice to always feel like you’re not alone?”

I don’t have that feeling at all. I don’t exactly feel like I’m always alone, but I also don’t feel like I never am. I also enjoy being alone on a regular basis. In fact, I’m trying to really treasure these last few weeks of anonymity before my relationship goes from couple to family, and my life goes from capable-of-being-alone to never-ever-alone-again. I said something like this to her, and she gave me a horrified look and said, “Oh, that’s really sad.”

I don’t feel like this is “really sad.” Even though I’m carrying around a person that’s almost 5 pounds and the size of a cantaloupe, and it just so happens to beat me up internally throughout the day, I guess I just haven’t had that extreme maternal bonding with the fetus that many women do. I’m not worried about this and I don’t feel like it makes me less of a “mom” (it’s kinda hard to be a mom without an actual, physical child in your arms) or less female. I expect to bond significantly when it/she is born.

We have one more ultrasound that will probably be about two or three weeks from today. At that point, I’m hoping to have a definitive, 100% specification of gender. The more time that passes since the 20-week ultrasound, the less sure I am of the sex. Especially since I have so many people telling me every day that I’m for sure having a boy. Of course, now I want it to be a girl, just to prove those people wrong for using such silly old wives’ tales to determine the sex of my baby.

“Oh, you’re carrying low.”
“Are you having heartburn? It’s going to be a really hairy baby.”
“It’s definitely a boy because your stomach looks like a watermelon.”
The ridiculous thing is, when I look up the old wives’ tales, the things people are telling me are frequently turned around. Someone once said that since I’m carrying my weight all out in the front, it’s a boy. But, according to the legends, that means it’s a girl. And some people have said that I’m carrying high, so it must be a boy. But that, too, is the opposite of the tale. I can’t believe some of the observations made about me, or how different and, occasionally, personal, everything is: you’re narrow, you’re wide, your skin is good, your skin is bad, your hair is darker, your hair looks dry, are your nipples really dark?, do you want to have sex a lot or not at all?

Like it’s their business anyway.

Two other things that have surprised me since becoming visibly pregnant: one, people are not actually coming up to me in droves to touch my stomach, which I was really worried about. Two, people are really offended when they discover how far along I am and I never told them. I’m talking customers at the coffeeshop. People who I see, maybe, once or twice a week. I had no idea that anyone would think I was intentionally hiding the Peanut from them. I wear an apron at work everyday, and I’m 5’1″. It’s pretty difficult for anyone to peer down behind the cash register or espresso bar to get a full view of my tummy. Some people give me the impression that I must be ashamed of it, or else I would have told them a long time ago.

I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have printed up an announcement to keep by the drink bar months ago. Would that have made them happy? Probably not.


5 thoughts on “Your Experience is Different from My Experience and I Don’t Like That

  1. Okay, I’m not a mother, but I don’t get this. You are alone, when you are alone. A fetus doesn’t count as company.

    I can just imagine some M-K housewife saying that she bonded with her fetus 2 weeks before her friend, and that makes her a better mother. Whatever. Both of my sisters have told me that it’s not that weird not to bond until the baby is born. But again, I’m a guy, so what do I really know about this stuff?

    I still don’t think you’re weird.

  2. I used to try to talk to Simone all the time when she was in my belly, and I always felt like I was just going through the motions. Sometimes I was annoyed when she’d kick me or have the hiccups. She was interrupting me, breaking my concentration. Then I felt guilty for being annoyed and for not feeling like she was a real person. Honestly, I didn’t feel like she was real until well after her birth. I’m not sure we even started to bond until she was more than 9 weeks old.

    I think the “never alone” comment is creepy, and it makes me wonder about that woman’s emotional stability. I cherish my alone time, and I think that’s healthy. Now that I’m a mom I get far too little of it. I didn’t have a baby so that I’d never be alone. I have friends for when I feel lonely.

  3. I was just going to comment that I question that woman’s motivation for having a child… was she 16 and got knocked up so she would “always have someone to love her?” Ewww.

    Hmph. People can suck it.

    Your baby, your way!

  4. I thought it was cool being pregnant about half the time. The other half I just wanted to sleep or move without being uncomfortable! When my son was born I had to do like five double takes because he didn’t at all look like what I thought he would (not even sure what I thought).

    People feel pregnant women are fair game. I’m not sure why. I got asked personal questions all the time (including if I was having twins and triplets–despite only gaining 35 pounds). People randomly told me their horrific pregnancy tales. My students walked up and touched my stomach all the time. I don’t know why people feel they have an instant bond with all mothers just because they themselves are one. It is obnoxious.

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