Monday, July 18, 2011

Side effects may include...

This is a pregnancy post.  

RiverWalker at 8 Months
©RiverWalker Arts 
At eight months pregnant I look like I’ve swallowed a full sized watermelon whole.  When people in the community look at me I get knowing smiles, from folks with twitching hands, and even the men ask me when I’m due  -  “it must be any day now”  they say.  I don’t mind the stares, and most folks are good about keeping their hands in their own personal space and off of the domed surface of my t-shirt stretched taught over my burgeoning belly.   However what I don’t understand is what people want to hear when they ask how pregnancy is treating me??  

Pregnancy is a bodily function.  Like most bodily functions it is not really the type of thing that is fit for decent company let alone casual conversation with a stranger over the grocery cart.  I’m really not sure what they want to hear?

 Is this like asking someone “how are you?”  where you should answer “I’m fine”.  

-          - “how is pregnancy treating you?”
I am convinced they don’t want a list of bodily symptoms.  I.e. “My pelvis is slowing separating, it hurts”  or  maybe  “Oh pregnancy is good to me, I’ve managed to get my retching mostly under control, my ankles are only moderately swollen, and my fingers are too fat to wear my rings but it’s really cool... like having my own personal parasitological experiment growing inside me

Really... pregnancy comes will all sort of gastrointestinal delights and a series of discomforts the websites call “symptoms of pregnancy”  - many of the lists read like the nasty quickly hurried through side effects listed on television pharmaceutical advertisements - things like – "Ask your doctor if Pregnancy is right for you... Side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, water weight gain, lower back pain, hairloss, tight itchy chafing clothing, high blood pressure, blood clots, uneven tire wear, urinary incontinence, increased attention from your in-laws, mild to severe discomfort, constipation,  diabetes, cluttered drawers, low resale value on your home, anxiety, sleeplessness, poor gas mileage, tooth decay, split ends, chest pains, clogged drains, hemorrhoids, dry heaving, and baby brain .'

Or maybe the answer is:

-        -    “how is pregnancy treating you?”
-        -  “not too shabby – How is your GI tract these days? “

But all silliness aside... please clarify for me.. what on earth are these people after when they try to initiate small talk about my obvious “Condition” ???

If men were equally at risk from this condition - if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains - then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease.

  ~Barbara Ehrenreich

1 comment:

  1. ha ha, this is perfect! I was always slightly uncomfortable with answering that question.