I’m due in three weeks, and my lab coat still snaps over my belly. I can’t even begin to explain to you how happy that makes me. Normally, I wouldn’t care – I’m pregnant, I’m supposed to get big, and the coat’s only a medium. But after several months of coworkers looking me over and joking about how I’m going to need a bigger lab coat, I’m planning on taking a photo of myself in that coat every day so that later I can point to the one immediately before I went into labor and laugh because it still fit me at the end, you chuckleheads!
They mean well, of course. They’re not trying to be jerks. I’m the first pregnant employee this lab has ever seen, and I’m a novelty. Only a couple of my coworkers have kids, and I get the feeling that pregnancy is pretty foreign to most of them. So they say all sorts of things, trying to be friendly and funny. And at first it was kind of funny, because I was getting round enough in the middle to start bumping up against counters. I laughed with them. But after a while, the same joke gets old even if it’s a good joke.
I’ve been told I look tired, but maybe the days I’m told I look “less tired than yesterday” are supposed to make up for those? I’ve been told I’m getting huge, and I’ve had people stand comically far away and suck in their guts to “make room for mama” in the doorway. I was told my face is really starting to fill out – because what young woman doesn’t want a nice filled-out face, am I right, ladies? And the dark patches on my face didn’t go without notice, either. Unfortunately, the first person to point them out thought they were a sunburn and told me they looked like tire treads and asked if I’d been run over by a Segway. He got DEATH EYES (and a quick lesson on skin hyperpigmentation in pregnancy) for that. And then I cried in the bathroom for 15 minutes.
I’ve had equipment taken out of my hands because I’m not supposed to “overdo it,” but I get teased for moving too slow. I’m repeatedly told to put my feet up, but then I’m told I sit too much. I’ve been judged on my carbohydrate intake, my artificial sweetener intake, and my regular cup of coffee at break time.
They tell me to enjoy my time now and bank some sleep for later. I can do that? I can, like, sleep extra, and put those sleeps on a shelf, and just grab one later when I need it? WHY DOES SCIENCE NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?
I’ve been asked whether I’m dilated, whether I’m planning on an epidural, and whether we’ll circumcise. When I replied “oh, just a normal prenatal appointment” after being asked about leaving early, someone wished me good luck with “Dr. Jellyfingers.” Took me about an hour to realize just how wildly inappropriate that one was. Or is it just me?
I’m sure nobody is trying to be mean or inappropriate. They’ve said some sweet things too, and they threw me a lovely surprise baby shower last week, with Baby Jeopardy questions they wrote themselves, and a fabulous cake and thoughtful gifts.
So, really, I’m probably just overreacting because I’m hormonal. I should relax. High blood pressure is bad for pregnancy, so I should put my feet up. While exercising. With a big smile on my filled-out pregnant face.
(I know of you from SD, and the Simpsons thread) I’m sorry to hear you’re having a rough time. I hope you feel better soon – I know you will once you have the baby, it’ll make it all worthwhile, I’m sure.
Some of the stories you mention do seem well-meaning, if a little misguided – people do love to judge, don’t they?! But that Dr Jellyfingers thing was just *way* off base. Was that from a woman or a man?!! Not that either would make it better. I work with all women, all mothers, and I wouldn’t expect that comment from *any* of them. I also hated those people who advised me to get sleep now while I could – thanks ever so for being so helpful.
That last month was my least favourite time of all the pregnancy, and I had seizures during my pregnancy! But that last month was horrible – hot, awkward, clumsy, boring, mindless, and frustrating. I think even my husband was tip-toeing around me, let alone my co-workers.
Next month, after you have the baby – it’ll be 100% different from this month, and is miraculous, awe-inspiring, challenging, scary, and wonderful. So hang in there, grit your teeth, and just get through this last uncomfortable month.