I find it interesting that both “Aunt Flo” and my mother-in-law arrived on the same day and are staying for approximately the same amount of time. And notice you never see Aunt Flo and my mother-in-law in the same room at the same time. Hmmm, I wonder if they are the same person…
By day, I work in an office and in the last few months, three women who sit near me have announced their pregnancies. Then yesterday, on my first day back to work after my two week purgatory, I found out two more women are pregnant. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, today, another woman told me she was pregnant. It’s like that scene in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video when the female lead looks around and realizes everyone, including Mr. Jackson, is a zombie. That’s exactly how I feel. The pregnant women are closing in and I’m surrounded. Cue the scary music!
A colleague of mine couldn’t help but remark to me, “I guess there’s something about this office! The women here get pregnant so easily!” Wow. I can’t think of anything I wanted to hear less after my failed IVF and while I’m seriously bleeding. I had no idea the universe was a bitchy-spoiled-thirteen year old that liked to torture me. “Everyone else is doing it! Why can’t you? What’s your problem? *SIGH* Whatever! Talk to the hand!”
I’ve been working towards getting pregnant for over a year. I’ve pulled out all the stops, tried every medical approach available and even after a doctor put three fertilized eggs in me that had nothing to do but implant, I’m still not pregnant. Apparently, whatever water cooler all these ladies at the office are drinking from, I’m not privy to. I’m stuck at the vending machine of infertility.
There is also no one in my very fertile family who has had trouble getting pregnant. It’s just me… but I’ve always been lucky like that. On my thirtieth birthday party, there was “unusually high winds” and on my wedding day (a day that according to the Weather Almanac hadn’t had rain in thirty years), a hurricane blew through my town a mere hour before the ceremony was to start. I suppose if you give a person the gift of humor, you want to make sure you put them in situations where they will need it on a daily basis.
I got married almost two years ago and I know the “Where’s the kid?” questions are only going to increase. I’ve already gotten them from all of my friends and co-workers. I have no doubt that my uncles, aunts, cousins, cousins once removed and relatives I haven’t even met before will soon start hounding me. It wouldn’t shock me in the least if I get a call from some distant relative in Italy that’s like, “Ciao! You don’t know me. I live in a small town near Naples. Listen, all the villagers are wondering… are you pregnant yet??”
Due to the explosion of baby bumps where I work, a co-worker asked me point blank today, “Are you trying to conceive?” I managed to respond with a “Not at the moment because I’m here with you at the office.” She laughed and then I quickly changed the subject to something happier like the recent death of Lynn Redgrave.
There have been times however when I really can’t think of a snappy comeback. For example, we live in a two family brownstone and the family downstairs has a son that has Asperger’s Syndrome. About two months ago, I had gone downstairs to get the mail when I ran into him. He said, “Hi. Getting the mail?” I smiled and said yes. Then, out of nowhere, he said, “You’re not pregnant yet. Have you thought about insemination?” I’m still not clear on how the topic of mail led to getting an IUI but there it was.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I tried to think of some way to respond. If he was someone I knew better or who I felt had some sense of humor, I could have said, “Why? Are you offering?” and laughed it off but this was not an ideal moment for jokes and he was not the ideal candidate for sarcasm. So I stood there frozen trying to think of something, anything to say. After what felt like a good solid minute of awkwardness, we thankfully got interrupted by his dad who came out into the hall and started talking to me about something that didn’t involve sperm.
Obviously, I know this guy has a condition that compromises his social graces but holy crap! I really don’t want to talk to anyone, especially my 26-year-old male neighbor, about my uterus. It may be “uterus” but really, it’s just “uter-me”, thank you very much.
Now that my mother-in-law is here, I can’t imagine she won’t ask while she’s visiting. Sam and I have already had a pre-visit-conference that practically involved power point presentations and spreadsheets in how we plan to handle the topic. I’m hoping we’re able to dodge the subject at least for a little while longer. After everything we’ve been through, I’m just not ready to have this conversation with her. When Sam and I were just dating, my mother-in-law casually mentioned over dinner one night that both her sons have “good swimmers”. I’m still working through that comment with my therapist. I can’t handle another one.
In general though, I don’t understand why people even ask. I never asked anyone. Even when I was single and an immature idiot, I had an awareness that if you asked someone if they were pregnant and they weren’t, it was a super quick way to make that person hate you. I’m truly stunned at how often I get asked and I’m amazed by who asks me.
So far, these are responses I’ve come up with:
- “Not sure. Say, what’s that mole on your arm? You should get that checked out!”
- “I’d rather not talk about it, thanks.”
- “That’s a rather personal question, don’t you think? How would you feel if I asked you if you’ve ever had a horrible yeast infection?”
- “I have no idea so you need to stop asking before I smack you in the face.”
- “I’m waiting to see how your kid turns out first.”