It is amazing how much attention you get when you’re pregnant. People hold doors for you or offer their seats in the bus and that’s nice. People also stare a lot and that’s not quite as nice especially when you feel like a big whale and have been forced to give up on wearing anything fashionable for the past few months or when they focus on your chest rather than your bump - yes perverts also target pregnant women. And very often, complete strangers feel the compulsive need to talk to you. Now that I look unmistakably pregnant, this is a conversation I find myself having pretty much everyday with random people, in shops, at bus stops, everywhere!
- Stranger: So ... when are you due? (favourite opening line, works better than "are you pregnant or just really fat?")
- Pepette: (in auto pilot) December.
- Stranger: Oh a Christmas baby, how lovely … (yes, people tend to forget there are 30 other days in December)
- Pepette: Well actually, I’m having twins so it’ll probably be late November.
- Stranger: Oh twins, what a great surprise! (surprise, yes, that’s one word for it, try “the news that’s going to turn your world upside down forever and make you weep in an uncontrollable panic”). Do they run in the family? (what they really want to ask is : did you conceive naturally or did you have fertility treatment? Fortunately, most people are a bit too polite for asking such a personal question at a bus shelter but a lady at my antenatal class asked me the question – must have been the hospital surroundings or the pregnancy hormones ...)
- Pepette: No they do not run in the family, neither on my side or my partner’s but I guess it has to start somewhere … (I normally leave it there and don’t tell people that they might be identical twins, which is just a joke from Mother Nature and has nothing to do with genetics. Unless I really want to get rid of the person, in which case I start using words like monozygotic, dichorionic and diamniotic. It normally does the trick and ends the conversation here and then.)
- Stranger: Well, you must be pretty pleased. And do you know what you’re having/what are you hoping for?
- Pepette: (At this point, I’m generally tempted to say we’re expecting a couple of giraffes – they start walking and feeding themselves within 24 hours of birth, how great is that ? – but I guess people might not get the joke and just think I’m being rude. And they would probably be right.) No, we don’t know yet, we’ve decided to keep it a surprise…
- Stranger: Oh, a surprise, that’s the best way! (Which is a lie. Studies have shown that more than 75% of couples expecting a child want to know the sex of their child before it’s born.)
At this point, most people have satisfied their curiosity and just leave me get on with whatever it is I’m trying to do at the time. Some people though don’t seem to know when to stop and proceed to tell me ‘horror stories’ about twins being born at 28 weeks or to remind me how lucky I am because their daughter/sister has been trying for a baby for years. I once had to get in the wrong bus just to get rid of a lady who had started telling me about her own childbirth experience in rather graphic details.
I guess I’d better get used to all the attention, I have been warned by twin mums that it’s only going to get worse when I start walking around with my double pram…