I know there are a lot of women who complain about how annoying people can be when you are pregnant. People tend to take a real interest in the health and well being of pregnant women – even ones they don’t know. But for each horror story you hear about an unwanted touch of the belly and unsolicited diet advice – there are many you don’t hear about how amazing the experience of being pregnant can be. The annoying stuff tends to stand out more, but the day-to-day interactions you have with people during your pregnancy can actually be pretty lovely.
1. More people smile at you.
Don’t ask me why because I can’t explain it, but more people smile at you. It’s amazing. There was a woman in my neighborhood who I had been passing on my morning walk for years. Despite my repeated efforts to lock eyes – she never acknowledged my existence. Enter pregnant belly and that all changed. Smiles galore.
2. People act like you’re important.
Door holding is a touchy subject for me. I do it for everyone – male or female – at all times. Why? Because it’s common courtesy. It’s an action that says, Hey – I see you. You exist and because you exist, I’m not going to slam this door in your face. Somehow, people seem to magically agree that not holding the door for a pregnant woman is rude – but tend to be a little ambivalent when it comes to other members of society. It’s nice to be reminded how pleasant common courtesy is for a couple months.
3. Chivalry is not dead – if you are gestating a human.
The whole “you first” thing may seem archaic to some people, but don’t revoke my feminist membership for saying that I like it. Chivalry is nice. It’s also dead – we all know that. But not if you are gestating a human! It magically returns for those nine months as men are falling over themselves to open doors, offer seats, and almost outwardly thank the heavens that their bodies never have to do such a thing.
4. People feed you.
I know a lot of women complain of getting unsolicited diet advice when they are pregnant, but that never happened to me. People were constantly shoving food at me, making sure I wasn’t hungry and that I was hydrated and cared for. It’s the closest experience to being a toddler you will ever get again. People all of a sudden care if you are eating, when you are eating and whether you are getting enough. It’s nice.
5. People genuinely care about how you are feeling.
Being pregnant reminded me how important it is to express concern for my fellow humans – all of them . When you are pregnant, people start to notice when you look tired, flushed, out-of-it – it is really comforting. They don’t let you stand too long on the train and rush to help you if your hands are full. How much better would life in general be if everyone treated each other like this all the time?
I guess the biggest take away is – enjoy your pregnancy and the attention it brings. I know sometimes it can be annoying, but it happens to be one of the only times in your life when the general public agrees to recognize you as a human and treat you with the love and compassion they don’t usually just willy-nilly dole out to strangers.
Or maybe that’s just because I was pregnant in NYC.