“Geez, got enough kids there?!”

img_8052When you’re pregnant, you’re subject to all kinds of interesting comments and curiosity from complete strangers. While I was pregnant with Willow, an officer asked me if I was trying to smuggle a watermelon into the courthouse while I completed my name change. *Ba dum tss* I laughed politely.

This summer, an older boy with special needs asked me how the baby got into my body and how it was going to get out. Had it been my own child, I’d have gotten rather scientific with him; instead, crickets.

Once baby arrives, the comments and curiosity don’t stop. Today I’ll share with you some of the most memorable comments I received during my parental leave this summer, mostly for entertainment sake, but also because the array of commentary and questioning depicts well trends in our communities.

“Don’t have that baby right here!”

“Don’t have that baby right here!” a stranger demanded after he asked and I answered how far along I was in my pregnancy. “I’ll do my best,” I replied sarcastically.

Interpretation: People are generally afraid of and disgusted by birth. Those feelings are often compelled by the media’s representation of birth. Sometimes people just don’t know what to say. Well then, I say, don’t say anything at all!

“Geez, got enough kids there?!”

It was one of those days that I left the house without my coffee. We made a detour to the closest coffee shop. Anyone with children knows that it must have been an emergency; no one unpacks and repacks three children under five into their vehicle for no good reason. I digress. The four of us entered the shop in perfect fashion. No one wailed, no one side stepped. Everyone was pleasant. It was to my surprise then when an older gentleman–except he wasn’t a gentleman– exclaimed disgustedly, “Geez, got enough kids there?!” I turned to look if there was a larger family behind me. When I realized he was indeed addressing me, I replied, “Hmm, no, not quite yet.” I wished I had thought of something more sharp!

Interpretation: Some people are jerks. That man’s thoughtless comment was relatively harmless, but his face and jerkiness remain burned into my mind. Especially in the early weeks postpartum, moms can be impressionable, so be kind.

“That’s really good for them.”

We’re having our hardscapes completed this autumn, so we’ve been spending a lot of time with concrete workers. One of them noticed that I wear George everywhere I go. “That’s really good for them, wearing the baby like that. It keeps them warm and they can hear your heartbeat. There was a special about it on TV,” he enlightened me. “That’s right,” I replied rather impressed. “And my hands are free!” I added.

Interpretation: Normal mammalian behaviors, like keeping our babies close, are being recognized and applauded. Yay!

“That’s kind of embarrassing!”

We’re also having some touch ups done inside our new home, so the contractors get an unfiltered view of what goes on in our house, like George nursing incessantly. One evening, as I stirred the chicken soup and nursed George in the carrier, Mitch and Jim chatted with me about their next projects. Before they left, they asked how “the little guy” was doing, both peeking their heads into the carrier. “Great,” I replied. “He’s nursing right now.” They both started apologizing profusely, giggling uncontrollably, faces flushed red. “That’s kind of embarrassing!” Mitch exclaimed. “No, it’s not really,” Jim answered. “Hey, a baby’s gotta eat,” I said. Jim shared that his wife nursed their son whenever and wherever. The rouge drained from their cheeks, and we all went about our evenings.

Interpretation: A baby’s gotta eat; there’s no shame in that.

“Where’s the bottle?”

During Iris’s sports class, Willow, George and I hang out at the nearby playground. Willow’s met a friend who also has a sister in Iris’s class. One morning, I got ready to feed George. “Can I watch you feed him?” Willow’s friend asked. “Sure,” I agreed. George latched. I looked at her and smiled. “That’s about it,” I said. “Where’s the bottle?” she wondered. “He doesn’t eat from a bottle,” I explained. “He drinks milk from my body.” At that, she went sprinting over to her uncle– who according to her was supposed to be watching her but was on his phone instead– presumably to tell him that I was feeding my baby from my body.
Interpretation: I introduced breastfeeding to a little girl!

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