Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What to expect when you meet an expectant mother

By Karrie McAllister

I know. I do the same thing. I see a woman that I know is expecting, and I ask the same thing: “How are you feeling?”
It is a gut reaction, like asking someone, “how are you?” even though they’ll tell you the same answer no matter how they really are.
“Fine.” “Good.” Something like that.
But now, as my own abdomen grows to unrealistic proportions, I am finally having to deal with the question, “how are you feeling?” on a daily basis.
My family asks me. My husband asks me. Neighbors ask me. Friends ask me. Strangers ask me.
And I tell them the same thing. “Oh, pretty good.”
And it’s a big, fat lie.
Like most other pregnant women, although they’ll never tell you otherwise, I’ve really felt better in my life. Wanna know how I’m really feeling?
I feel big. My clothes are in constant limbo. In my early pregnancy, maternity clothes were far too large to wear, and I promise that I spent entire days thinking “I look like I’m wearing a tablecloth...with a dust ruffle” But with passing time and probably more tomato soup and pineapple than I should have, I’m starting to feel more and more like I’m big enough to wear an actual tablecloth.
Just pull one out of the hutch and drape it on—soon enough, it might be the only thing that fits.
I feel bulbous. For ages, the figure of a pregnant woman, all round and soft, has been regarded as an image of beauty. And I’m all for the roundness in my middle. I love it. But it’s the roundness in other places that is starting to get to me.
I used to have ankles. I swear they were located directly above my feet, right where these puffed-up stumps are now residing.
I also used to be able to smile without feeling all of the roundness around my face scrunch up and squeeze around my eyes. In fact, I’m pretty sure my cheeks have officially doubled in size. I’m just not quite sure how to measure that exactly.
I feel tired. I think it’s mostly because I have to haul this big, bulbous body around on a daily basis. And the one part of my body that hasn’t bloated is my brain, so it still thinks that I can go about my regular life, running errands and kids here, there, and everywhere. Somehow, my brain doesn’t seem to be listening to my back at all, which I can tell you is pretty much screaming, “will you please stop going so fast and just tell the legs to walk over to the couch? Can’t you hear the feet? They need to be propped up before they are completely swallowed by the ankles!”
But even with all of the whining that my mouth is still capable of doing, it still can not and will not answer anything but “pretty good” when someone asks me how I’m feeling.
So the next time I find myself face to face with a beautiful, pregnant woman, I’m going to do my very best to not ask her the age old question, so she won’t have to smile and fib. Instead I’ve come up with a few alternatives:
“So what stage of clothes are you in? I’ve got a nice holiday tablecloth.”
“How long has it been since you’ve had ankles?” (Or, “how long has it been since you’ve SEEN your ankles?”)
“By what percentage do you think your cheeks have increased?”
Or maybe I’ll just lean in to her ear and speak directly to her brain, “you may not realize this, but you should really go put your feet up a little. They need it.”

1 comments:

Tina Telkamp said...

Hey, at least you don't have to wear pantyhose! (Just tryin' to make you feel a bit better 'bout yer bulbous body!)

Love ya lots!

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