Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Delicate State

I'd just like to take a moment to sincerely thank all of those folks out there who have treated me like a delicate, if not somewhat mysterious, phenomenon since I announced I was pregnant. Being in certain realms of one's world are variably protective and also a bit entertaining.

The first realm was the world of the elementary school, filled with an abundance of women who have already had children. The encouragement and interest was overwhelming. "Have you picked a name yet?" "Have you felt any flutters yet?" "Will you find out if it's a boy or a girl?" "How have you been feeling today?" "How are you coping in this heat?" "Have you felt any flutters yet?" "When do you go for your first ultrasound?" "How is the baby treating Mark?" "Have you felt any flutters YET?"

And my neighbours' interest in me has peaked considerably. Eric calls across the road to me every time he sees me to remind me I'm going to be a Mommy. Brenda makes lists of local obstetricians and comes over with strawberries on the day of my ultrasound so she can see the picture. Sharon tells a few of her veteran pregnancy stories. When walking down the sidewalk, people stop their lawnmowers momentarily as I go by.

But some of the sweetest reactions are from the people who aren't, at first, sure what to make of it. The T-bay crowd of friends met at Dan's camp this weekend. I was nervous at first at the prospect of hanging out at a drinking fest and staying up late with a bunch of rowdies. But it was touching how, without knowing exactly what to do with a pregnant woman, they over-compensated: carrying my overnight bag to and from the car, ensuring I had the best bed in the place, asking frequently if I needed to rest, chatting it up with Mark about baby names around the camp fire, lovingly nicknaming me "the pregnant wife", razzing Mark whenever I did anything even remotely strenuous such as carrying water in a pail or unpacking groceries. They even sweetly debated what type of ball I must be carrying around inside me (too small to be a basketball, they all decided, possibly a volleyball.) But the most memorable comment came from Dan (or Danderson as we sometimes call him), a guy who a week earlier had said to Mark "I'm not sure I really GET this whole BREEDING thing", around two in the morning, as I was getting ready to pack it in and everyone else had had more than their fair share of beer. Keeping in mind that Dan's camp has no electricity, the running water isn't working and the indoor toilet has a broken pipe, so we were using the outhouse. Dan smiled at me with a drunken grin of satisfaction and said "YOU can use the inside toilet." I said, "Isn't it broken?" And still with the drunken grin, he said, "Yup." His fiancé looked up from what she was doing and asked, "Can I use the inside toilet?" He looked at her and without pausing to think said, "Nope. YOU'RE not pregnant!"

Not being sure that his liquid-soaked mind had fully thought the offer through, I opted not to use the inside toilet. However, being OFFERED that privilege by a man so practical as Dan was the ultimate gesture of sweetness.

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