As I sat waiting to catch a bus this afternoon, replying to a text message in a very obviously minding-my-own-business-& certainly-not-looking-for-a-conversation-after-the-day-I've-had way, the woman sharing the cold metal bench with me, who sported a blue anorak & a slightly vacant look & who I had hardly even noticed until now (so consumed was I in the task of sending said message) asked me how long it would be until the next bus. I became instantly annoyed. On the side of the bus currently in front of us (that is too full for us to fit on due to obscene amounts of lary school children) it says quite clearly EVERY 7 MINUTES.
"Well, they're supposed to be every seven minutes.." I reply politely, with a sweet smile that I reserve mainly for customers I dislike & crazy people "so that usually means between 5 & 10 minutes."
She thanks me & I return my avid concentration to my iPhone. Deliberately making it look as though I am sending some sort of urgent email to someone very important in a way that means I cannot be disturbed. I knew by the vacant look that this was not a simple question rather a way into a conversation that I did not want to have. I covered my baby bump with my coat.
"Do they not run school buses anymore?" she says rolling her eyes. Obviously not.
"I don't know!" I say with a cheery but clipped chuckle, once again reserved mainly for the crazies.
I go back to my intense emailing of the Dalai Lama Re: Enlightenment of the masses.
"...When's your baby due?"
GODDAMNIT WOMAN! Can you not see that the Dalai Lama need my urgent assistance?! At least think of something original to ask me!
"19th of Novermber. Not long to go now." I reply automatically, with a curt smile.
"Ooh, well you're hiding it well!"
OBVIOUSLY NOT BLOODY WELL ENOUGH!!
This conversation continues in a perfunctory manner until I manage to flee onto the bus & take up a double seat for myself.
When you become pregnant you quickly find out that all the social norms suddenly change. During the early stages of starting to show in my first pregnancy I was utterly chuffed to bits every time some stranger asked me "Oh, how long to go?" or "Boy or a girl? Or is it a surprise!?". This soon wore off. Now, in my second pregnancy I knew what to expect & soon learned to make my replies to such intrusions of privacy polite but curt.
I just wish that people could ask something different or even just say what they are really thinking, for example:
"Have you got any piles yet?"
"Goodness me, is that a bump or have you just eaten lots of cake?"
"Well, you look like shit but it'll all be worth it in the end."
"Good luck with that..."
I'm sick of hearing the same conversations. Go back to talking about the weather! Please! At least that changes every day!
The other thing people think it's acceptable to do when you are pregnant is to touch your bump - without asking.
This is not acceptable unless you are a close friend & even so, only if you have requested formal permission.
Strangers, do not lay your grubby mitts on me.
I am a pregnant woman therefore I am much more likely to be grumpy & reclusive. It just makes no sense to go round being all in-my-face/on-my-bump!
No, the better effect comes when the baby is born. Sure, you still get all the cooing idiots following you around whenever you step out of your front door but these cooing idiots have a plus side: the belief that it is lucky to cross the baby's palm with silver.
First time around I genuinely started out putting all the coins & notes my daughter received in a little piggy jar, especially for her. This time, I shall not be so foolish. Oh no! This time I shall be pocketing said proceeds & spend the next 18 years ticking off all the things he or she breaks/wees on/pukes on/steals/generally destoys/kills & taking it off the bill I send them on their 18th birthday.
All in all, I think that I have a love/hate relationship with pregnancy & similarly with mootherhood.
It's totally worth all the bloodshed, tears & crazy people, but just don't expect to be sane at the end of the day yourself.
& please don't invade my personal space.