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With pregnancy, your body eventually gets to the point where, in spite of what you’ve been told, everyone seems to notice. By the time you get there, though, it’s actually not as bad as the previous stage, which is being cautiously regarded as “Fat or pregnant???” by people who don’t know. It’s at this stage when strangers give you looks, depending on their not so subtly hid opinions.

Older women tend to nod knowingly. Older men look on in cautious fear and wonder. Some are rude enough to speak, assuming your gestation has been just a rainbow of joy and happiness. I normally take great pleasure in shutting down such assumptions, but these days, I’m just trying to get to the bathroom before I pee myself.

I’m at the stage now where everyone has something to say, even the delivery guy bringing me my lunch. Most of the comments are nice, which is great. But then there’s the creepy guy who has the belly fetish giving you the side eye, or the old guy who races you to the bathroom like a sadist, saying he doesn’t want to wait. Me neither, old guy, but I guess I’ll try to get up the flight of stairs to the next floor since I don’t have the luxury of waiting.

Beyond just noticing I’m pregnant, I get comments about everyone’s opinion on the subject. There was one day, walking back from lunch, and a person in my building who I sort of know (but don’t know her actual name or anything) said snippily “No one told me you were pregnant” as if I owed her some sort of explanation. I didn’t send out any kind of press release, so her reaction was truly confusing.

I’d like to reiterate: my pregnancy isn’t anyone’s business but mine. All the tourists enjoying (or not) the roadside view are as incidental to me as bug splatters on my windshield. I’m tired of answering the same four questions, (for the record here’s the answers: Boy, Late October, Planned, and yep, very excited to be a big brother.)

None of these questions help me in any way. They don’t assuage my fears that something will go wrong, that my delivery will be unexpected, bad, or the baby will have problems. They don’t solve the larger issue, which is the woeful state of maternity leave in the United States, in which I will take half of it unpaid (the rest is paid for in time I banked). Nor does it solve the problem of my husband losing his job. It doesn’t put hours of sleep back into my night nor does it make it any easier for my body and mind to bounce back after this ordeal is over. It doesn’t tell me how my labor will begin, where I will be, who will be able to pick up my son or whether I’ll be going it alone.

But none of those issues are convenient for the casual observer, and if I were to bring them up, I’m told to relax and enjoy being pregnant. It’s inconvenient for me to get all my real time fears mixed up with the societal fantasy that being pregnant is all flower crowns and balloons and quirky gender announcements. My bad for getting my real life experience all over your pinterest wall. So, pardon me if my face goes a bit blank when asked some stupid question I’ve answered a million times already. And frankly, try not to get upset if I tell you it’s none of your fucking business. 18

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