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The first part of pregnancy is the slow fattening. You gain weight and the people in your life’s periphery don’t really know why, so you get some looks but no one really says anything. People can’t comment, unless they’re totally rude, so they just figure you’re off the wagon. One person during my first pregnancy noticed my chest was larger and assumed I got plastic surgery done.

Then, around the halfway mark, the bump begins to make itself known. What used to pass for plausible deniability as fatness is now a neon sign blinking “pregnant lady” for all to see. Most of the time, it’s nice, well-wishers who knew you wanted another baby are overjoyed and happy for you. But then the rumors spread and people stop by the office like you’re a zoo animal, trying to get a peek at your bump from behind your desk without spooking the cranky pregnant lady.

You wait in line to pick up your lunch and the fetus kicks hard, and you wince and rub your hand over the soreness. The older man behind you gives a knowing look and smiles. You figure he must be a dad, or even a grandfather, but one that couldn’t possibly know what you really are feeling. Still, you politely smile back. People hold the door for you, it’s mostly pleasant. But living in a world where being pregnant takes you up to a new level of vulnerability that is a pain to endure. I’d rather not get all that extra attention. I’d rather just go about my day, and not be bothered.

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