Friday, June 01, 2007

Things Nobody Tells You About Being Pregnant, Part 6: The Loaded Question

I've come to the conclusion that there is one question you will be asked about a gazillion times while you are pregnant. It's not a bad question. In fact, you've probably been asked the same question several times a day for your entire life. But when you're pregnant, it's different. It comes with different emphasis, and certainly different connotation.

"How YOU doin'?" It is a phrase made famous by Joey Tribbiani from Friends. Everybody knew what Joey meant when he asked that question. He wasn't asking how you were doing, as much as he was asking if you would go out with him. It was his opening line. It was accompanied by a raised eyebrow and backward head nod. The women he asked knew what he meant, even though most of them had never met him before. And the same is true with the question the pregnant woman gets.

"How are you DOING?" This is the phrase that a pregnant woman hears over and over. It comes with the slight pause and usually a head-tilt. This is no casual, "How are you?" that you can get away with answering with a quick, "Fine, thanks." No. For some reason, once you become an incubator for a wiggly little kid, this answer is no longer acceptable. Certainly you can't be "fine," and if you are, there must be something wrong with you. Therefore, the follow-up question comes: "Are you feeling ok?" And when you answer the second question with "Yeah, doing just fine," it is usually received with a look of dissatisfaction and realization that you are not going to stand there and spill your guts. A few refuse to believe your first two answers and go on to a third question, "So everything is ok, then?" It makes you want to scream, "YES! Now leave me alone!"

Here's the deal. Nobody wants to hear that you have a headache, you didn't get much sleep the night before, your hips ache, you have to pee every 37 1/2 seconds, your contacts are so dry they are about to fall out of your eyes, that your horse-pill sized prenatal vitamins are giving you heartburn, and you don't know which freaks you out more - the thought of natural childbirth or the giant needle that comes before an epidural. And if they do think that they want to hear that stuff, you certainly don't want to rehash it for everyone who asks. You'd never get to take more than two steps at a time.

Most of these people are well meaning and have genuine concern. Others are just nosy. The folks with genuine concern will respond with a smile, be glad you are "fine," and move on. The nosy people are usually the same people that think that they should be able to 'reach out and touch someone' whenever you get close, wanting to rub your belly like a statue of Buddha. These are also usually the people who tell you to enjoy life now, because it all ends when the kid arrives.

Let me tell you how it is, here. Unless you are a close personal friend of the pregnant woman, don't expect her to whine, complain, or otherwise spill her guts to you whenever you ask how she's doing. She doesn't want to tell you any more than she wants you to pet her stomach every time you see her. She gets the same head-tilt question eight thousand times a day from the same type of nosy people who want to know the same things that happen to be none of their business. Keep your smart-alec comments about how they won't ever be able to "insert activity here" once the kid arrives to yourself, accept her "I'm fine" reply and move on with your life.

Thanks for asking, thanks for your concern; but if she wanted to complain to you, believe me, she would.

Entire What Nobody Tells You Series:

Part 1: You Always Have To Pee
Part 2: Snot and Boogers
Part 3: Weight Gain
Part 4: Clothes and Fashion
Part 5: The Ugly Baby
Part 6: The Loaded Question
Part 7: The Gear
Part 8: Your Crazy Mind

And then:

Some Pregnancy Advice
Some MORE Pregnancy Advice Pin It

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