The Bible says you should be ready to give an answer to someone who inquires about your faith. I wonder if the same goes for people who inquire about your stomach. Especially when you’re pregnant.
I have to admit, I wasn’t ready. I was just trying to get some tomato soup. I walked toward the cashier at Panera Bread, and she said all loud, “You look like you’re about to EXPLODE!”
“Thank you.” Yes, that is all I said.
To some degree, it may be better just to stay quiet. You see, I’m a curious soul, and you can tell a lot about a person by how they talk about your bump.
Like with this woman, I could tell the only thing she likes more than a steak panini is drama. I could tell she wanted to stand out. In the row of Panera cashiers, she called out to me. She told me about the summer she was pregnant with her baby and stayed in the pool all day. And when she wasn’t in the pool, she was putting cold towels all over herself.
Yikes. I am not THAT curious. Can I get my baguette to go?
Then there was this duo at the local deli. The guy was nice. He warned me not to buy the turkey on sale because it had been “boiled and mashed together.” After I threw up on my blouse, I thanked him.
Then from around the corner came his partner, Sparkly Eyes. She cocked her head to the side and talked in a raspy voice and had this kid-like sweetness about her. She asked me all kinds of questions about my pregnancy and family and finally told me, “Yeah, you better take a break after this baby.”
Nice Guy told it straight. “Don’t listen to her,” he said. “She has sworn off kids.”
You, Sparkly? You with the innocent, unicorn-like wonder? No chance for kids–ever?
“My kids are horses,” she said and smiled, envisioning my baby’s head in a bridle.
You know what? I just remembered I hate ham.
Then there was Debbie Downer the cashier. You know, the kind who would hate to win the lottery because her parents would make her tithe. The kind who says the sun gives you heat rash and the cold gives you goose pimples.
So we got to talking about my kids being 18 months apart, and I said, “Well, hopefully they’ll keep each other busy one day.”
And Downer says, “Oh, yeah. They will. She’ll be trying to put lipstick on him.”
She continued: “Then she’ll be like, ‘Mommy, he threw my Barbie out the window!’”
After a litany of other disturbing possibilities (aka PERSONAL MEMORIES and EMOTIONAL SCARS), she handed me my bags and said, “Good luck to you,” as in “You’ll need it!”
And there have been others. The car salesman who’d rather talk about his transmission than his feelings. “Good luck with that,” he told me, uncomfortably nodding in the direction of my uterus.
And I can’t forget my kind OB, who has the good fortune of measuring my bump. During one visit, he looked at it, then at Elie Mae, and asked, “How much did she weigh at birth?”
“Eight pounds, two ounces.”
“Wow, pretty big,” he said. Then, silence. He knows better than anyone that the second baby usually weighs more, as do boys. I think I heard him weeping for me in his office as I scheduled my next visit. He is a sensitive soul.
All in all, I’ve found that whether it’s a barista asking if you meant to order DECAF or a sparkly-eyed horse lover sending you a metal bit in the mail, there’s no fun lost in giving an answer for your faith and staying mum on your tum.