Thursday, March 21, 2013

Putting the coat away (or why I'm not having more babies)

A friend of mine - mother of one of my daughter's classmates - said hello to me at a school function a few weeks ago.  After pleasantries were exchanged, knowing we weren't going to have a long conversation - she was sitting, I was on my way somewhere with one of the kids in tow - she asked a seemingly harmless question.

"Hi."

"Oh, hi.  How are you?"

"Great.  Busy.  How are you?"

"Me too.  Always.  Oh my gosh, are you pregnant?"

Before you are outraged for me, before you rake my innocent acquaintance over the coals, read my level-headed reply.

"Hell no!"

At this point I looked down at my belly to wonder at her confusion.  I'm not fat.  Chubby, maybe.  Zaftig, yes I would appreciate that label very much, thank you.  But pregnant?  My new Target pea coat hits at hip level, bringing the pockets to my waist.  The coat is boxy.  I thought it stylish when I bought it.  Even a little daring because I usually hide my ass.  Not in this coat.  Then I noticed that I had shoved my suede mittens deep into the pockets, inflating the coat and giving it a rather roundish appearance.

"Must be the gloves," I said, removing them so there would be no doubt.

My friend was immediately embarrassed and said something like,

"I know better than to ask that.  I'm so sorry."

The funny thing about this interaction is not that I was offended or that anyone thought I was pregnant at 44 (which is entirely conceivable *ha!  pun* although rare).  The funny thing (at least to me, anyway) was that I reacted as if someone were suggesting I get pregnant again.


"Hell no!"  This response says so much, doesn't it?  I had two relatively uneventful pregnancies, but I lived in constant fear that something would go wrong because I have a chronic illness and because I refused to believe my doctor when she said everything was fine.  When you know as many people as I do who have had traumatic miscarriages or diabetes or high blood pressure, you tend to worry.  Aside from the worry, I was crazy uncomfortable.  Not just the swelling and itching and waddling and not being able to tie shoes.  Not just the exhaustion or weird cravings or irritability.  No, I was nauseous every waking moment of both pregnancies.  At the baby shower my mother-in-law threw for me, when I was just entering my third trimester, I spent half of my time throwing up in the bathroom.  At work, I yelled up the stairs hoping my friend Leslie would hear me and grab a trash can as I threw up on the landing.  I threw up so much that I was losing weight instead of gaining.  My ob-gyn prescribed me two milkshakes a week to  reverse the weight-loss trend.  The sweet lady at the McDonald's drive-through became my friend.  I miss her.

"Hell no!" also suggests that I am done having babies.  I had two planned C-sections so I can't complain about the birth.  I can complain that my son inhaled his meconium and was rushed to the NICU.  I didn't get to see him for six hours!  I can complain that both of my kids had trouble nursing and I ended up supplementing so much (under the care of two different lactation consultants) that I gave up and switched to the bottle.

But I love my kids and wouldn't trade them or the hardships of our early days for anything.  I'm just ready to keep moving forward.  I love experiencing every age with them.  Right now they are six and nine and loads of fun.  Another baby would take me away from them.  Another baby might send me over a cliff.  My husband is the one having baby lust.  He keeps teasing me with the question, "Come on.  Just one more?"

To that I must answer, "Hell no!"

Thank goodness spring is here.  I'm putting that coat away for a long time.


19 comments:

  1. Oh, if only I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me if I'm pregnant. I could go out for sushi. And get two rolls. And a salad. It's such an inappropriate question!

    Sorry your hubs has the baby fever. I think mine might be trending that way. He's still in grad school. But once that big-boy jobs rolls around and gets comfortable, I'm pretty sure that the fever will set in for him. I'm with you. Hell no, I won't go..... for like 4 years.

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    1. Once you have a baby, you won't be going out for sushi anymore. I suggest you fine every person who asks you such a stupid question so that sushi is on them.

      Also, you are young. Tell Carter to hold his horses. Four years is smart. You have this mother's endorsement.

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  2. After my son, I still looked pregnant FOREVER! I now have this neurotic fixation on how my waist looks in clothes.

    And by the way, doesn't EVERYONE know you don't ask a woman if she's pregnant unless she's actually crowning.

    Even then, tread lightly.

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    1. I may start quoting you with the "crowning" comment. That's genius.

      Delete
    2. This is hilarious! I'm so using this "crowning" comment in the future.

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    3. Quick! I need a top ten list of comebacks! And . . . go!

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    4. Let's see. Start with a plaintiff, "Please don't tell my husband." OR you could drop to the ground and pretend to give birth to the gloves.

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  3. I would clobber someone who asked me that. I'd also laugh. I'll be 49 this year. Getting pregnant would be a horrible cosmic joke. My 17-year-old daughter has also warned me this would be a bad thing. Funny, I tell her that too. ;)

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    1. I found it completely hilarious. No offense taken at all. Good advice to the teenager! I tell my nine-year-old that all of the time ;)

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  4. i don't know amy, auntie bev needs another baby to look after. you look like you're 30 in the tiny picture so don't be afraid to give it a go.
    if not, would you like me to speak to that women for you, or perhaps sew a little "not knocked up patch" on your coat for next fall. xxx

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Bev. Folks tell me I don't look my age. I don't feel it either, but I've heard from 80 year olds that they don't feel their age either.

      Yes to the patch. Could you please cross-stitch a cute baby with a red slash through it?

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  5. I used to own a yarn store, so old ladies would come in all the time and ask me if I was "expecting" ("Expecting what?" I once asked). Or one time a lady asked if I was "on the nest" (which took me a full minute to figure out what the hell she was talking about). So in my time, I did come up with some pretty snazzy comebacks. My favorite is, "No, but the night is young." Or there is the more rude, but hilarious, "No, are you?" (Really throws those octogenarians off balance!)

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    1. Hi Kristin,
      I was a customer in your yarn shop and no, I still cannot knit. I blame the ADD.

      I'll keep your comebacks on hand. Maybe I'll start a notebook list to have handy the next time I wear the coat. Which is today because Louisville hasn't recognized spring yet. Thanks for checking out my blog!

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  6. Darn. Tootin. When the obgyn asked for the fourth time if I was sure I wanted my tubes tied, I said "give me scalpel, I'll do it myself!"

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  7. Amy this is verbatim the response I gave when someone just yesterday asked me if I was going to have any more kiddos. (3 has already sent me over the edge...several times.)

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  8. I think about it. At 41 ( next week) I guess I still could, but my youngest is nine and starting over with everything seems like it would take so much of my (not so free) time. I love the three I have and i will gladly take some more in if I meet any stragglers. But, babies? i am done!

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    1. Jodi,
      I feel like I've already entered grandma territory. (I know some grandmothers my age!) I love seeing my younger friends' babies, holding them, cooing over them, and handing them back. It's a lovely, freeing moment.

      Yep, the two I have are wonderful and plenty.

      Delete

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