Exploiting My Baby* *Because It's Exploiting Me

Other Pregnant Ladies Kind of Ignore Me

General StuffTeresa Strasser62 Comments

Getting all self-reflective and shit.

Hey other pregnant ladies, quit avoiding my gaze.

All I want to do is chat you up, and find out how many weeks pregnant you are and maybe talk some shop – you know, where you’re delivering, what you take for heartburn, what you think of cord blood banking and the new iPhone app that times contractions.  I just want to be friends, pregnant strangers.

I’ve never done this baby thing before, and I’m always hoping we’re going to see each other and do a secret handshake, and have a moment.

However, it seems you gestational types aren’t that into me. For a while, I tried to smile at you when I saw you in line at the movies, or feeding your meter, or buying groceries. I tried to look welcoming, but you looked right past me, and off I went with my tail between my crampy legs.

It’s not like you don’t see me. Yeah, I’m the one that looks like a physics problem, like I shouldn’t be able to stand upright without toppling over. At first, I wanted to assure you that I wasn’t just carrying my weight in a very unfortunate manner, make sure you knew I was really pregnant, so I would rub my stomach in that ginger way only pregnant women do, but no dice. You and your fetus snub my fetus and me. The truth is, I’ve been a social disaster most of my life, so I’m not unfamiliar with the sensation, I just can’t figure out why this dismissal is so pronounced.

Honestly, if we ran into each other wearing the same shoes or handbag, we would probably at least look at each other and chuckle and maybe say, “Nice purse,” or “You have great taste.” A richly hued and hilarious interaction it would not be, but a human connection, yes. If I were walking a mini-schnauzer and so were you, we would stop and have a chat about our doggies, compare schnauzer notes. Arguably, an entire friendship could spring forth from this one, shared characteristic. If we were both wearing Phillies hats, or driving Mini-Coopers, or reading “Eat, Pray, Love” at The Coffee Bean, there would be a warm interaction, but both heading into child birth (big deal) and motherhood (biggest deal ever) and nada. Nada?

Important point: this pregnant girl snubbing only pertains to complete strangers.

I have now made three new friends, simply because we are all pregnant at the same time and mutual acquaintances hooked us up. I love these moms-to-be and seeing them feels so right and comfortable that even when we don’t get together, we end up texting and emailing all day. I’m more pregnant than two of the girls, giving me a few extra weeks of wisdom, which is a luxury in a situation that is so new I mainly feel like a bloated dunce who is constantly faced with decisions she can’t understand. That’s right, I’m 33 weeks pregnant and have yet to choose a hospital, a name for the baby boy or even a brand of nipple pads. I’m lost, and sometimes euphoric, and 40 pounds heavier and three cup sizes bigger and 20 degrees hotter than I ever was.

Pregnant ladies who walk right by me on the sidewalk and turn away like I’m about to make you sign a petition about saving marine life, I know you can relate.

So I can only imagine there is some sort of animal kingdom thing at play here.

When I see you out and about, I sense you getting protective about your personal space and your baby. Maybe this is insane, but it’s almost like I represent a threat, another mother bear that might somehow compromise your safety or shrink your available resources. Is there something evolutionary going on, as in, that lady better not get more shelter, berries, attention or protection from strong males in the tribe?

Alternatively, this could be endemic to the Hollywood, Los Feliz, Hancock Park areas where I live and write in various coffee shops and drop off dry cleaning and wander. Last week, I was in the Valley and struck up a conversation with a lady who was nine days overdue and she was perfectly genial. The Valley could be a less competitive and more family-friendly place. Maybe it’s just more relaxed in the 818.

Or, both of these theories could be bogus. In the classic horror movie, “When a Stranger Calls,” the most chilling moment is when cops tell the terrorized babysitter, “The call is coming from inside the house.” There is a decent chance that this call is coming from inside the house, the house being my own haunted mind. Either I am unknowingly giving off a cold vibe that freaks out the women I’m trying to befriend, or I’m reading into this parade of pregnant girls some animosity that doesn’t exist.

Like I said, my social skills have never been great.

In the end, this could all be solved with an ice-breaking secret handshake. Or if that’s too intimate, maybe we just throw up a sign, one finger per trimester, sideways, OG style, and know for a sly, passing moment that we’re in the same crew.