Thursday, August 06, 2009

Everybody's Uterus: Population One

One of the hallmarks of an early thirties urban existence is the frequent and rapid impregnation of one's friends. This means a lot of things that we already knew about: Baby showers. Early bird dinners. Learning how to simultaneously amuse a toddler and chug a beer. Learning that every baby, everywhere, finds the word "herpes" completely hilarious.

But there are the parts that no one tells you about. Or maybe these are the things that only happen to me, because I'm weird. Either way, here are some lessons from years of proximity to The Pregnant:

1. You will always say at least one Wrong Thing. Tuesday night, we were reviewing ultrasound photos at the dinner table (I am an awesome friend and therefore comfortable enough with my girlfriends to learn the complex topography of their wombs). I began to see shapes in the ultrasound clouds, and remarked upon those shapes. Note to self: Don't compare your friend's baby to a dragon's head.

2. Pregnant lady food is awesome. Seriously. There should be an entire restaurant of it! Tater tots, slathered in chili with cheddar cheese and sour cream on top? Awesome in theory, even better in practice. Of course, karmic justice being what it is, I'd probably get preggers and wind up developing a taste for normal food.

3. Pregnancy is a public-private partnership. So much of it, besides the belly, is public. A lot of this is because pregnant ladies will tell you more than you'd ordinarily ever want to know. (Been horking a rainbow of fruit flavors? If you're pregnant, I'll listen with patience and sympathy. Otherwise, ew ew ew gross ick shut up now before I shut you up!) But with all that information Out There, For Everyone to Know, it can be tricky to know what ought to remain private. Some couples don't want to give away the potential names, due date, sex, whatever. When in doubt, don't ask.

4. Have a mentioned that comparing a fetus to an eyeball within the dragon's head of a uterus is completely poor form?

In the comments, tell me the worst thing you ever said to a pregnant woman. Or, tell me if you've ever asked a non-pregnant woman when she's due, and tell me how you survived the incident.

PS - Between this post and the one about nausea, I'm sure there's a bit of suspicion going on...the answer is no, and I'll raise you to a hell no. Why? Because I'd have to be a World Champion Ovulator for that to be even remotely possible.

PPS - My hypothetical baby names? Union Carbide and Enron. They're gonna grow up tougher than that boy named Sue.


Lemmonex said...

"Was it planned?"

Wish I was kidding.

I was 20, in my defense.

Brando said...

I often ask, in front of the husband, "do you know who the father is? Ha ha ha no seriously, do you?"

Shannon said...

Lem - In polite circles, the correct question is, "So, was this an Oops Baby?"

Brando - Even better would be, "If the baby comes out looking like me, I guess I better pony up for child support."

Brett said...

I'm sure it doesn't help that I am somewhat horrified of being pregnant myself. That said, I would do it for the food alone. Mmmmmmmm weird combos...

Erin said...

Those chili-slathered tater tots sure were yummy...and no horking afterwards = victory! Personally, my favorite thing you've said so far is that you're referring to our future child as 'Cletus the Fetus.' Mike and I both found this pretty awesome.

Tina said...

I had someone congratulate me on being pregnant after I had just miscarried. On the "poor choice of things to say" scale its pretty low but on the "bad timing" scale it was stellar. The poor guy was also the one who asked me how my dad was doing three days after he died. Not only does he not speak to me anymore he runs in the other direction when he sees me now.

Shannon said...

Brett - I wonder if you're allergic to ice cream and pickles. Because if you are, you are totally screwed.

Erin - See, that's why y'all will be such good parents. Can we upgrade to Cletus the Slack-Jawed Fetus?

Tina - See, I would just move out of state. He wouldn't happen to be Concussion with an Eight Ball of Coke Guy, would he?

bh said...

Through some miraculous luck, I've never asked a non pregnant person when they are due. Which is surprising, because I'm widely known as "that guy" when it comes to saying totally inappropriate and ackward things.

I did ask a new mommy friend once how motherhood was treating her. Her reply?

"I'm exhausted, but my boobs are amazing."

FoggyDew said...

I once commented to a couple that a friend, who was having trips through IVF, was "thinning the herd." What was supposed to be a lighthearted joke was, instead, greeted by a stony silence.

The next day they announced they were expecting. Twins. A boy and a girl. Now, I'm no rocket surgeon, but the math was pretty easy in this case.

Shannon said...

bh _ I know it's a typo, but "ackward" is my new favorite word.

Foggy - IVF is such a conversational landmine. It should stand for "Inappropriate Verbiage = Fucked."

jo said...

I asked non pregnante person when she was due once. In my defense: it was a new job, another coworker was also pregnant, pregant and non-pregnant coworker have VERY similar names (think Alice and Allison), both coworkers are also from neighboring former soviet union countries...

Yeah, she still thought I was calling her fat...

Hammer said...

A way-large, hugely, massively pregnant friend of mine was wearing this bright red maternity dress one time, and after she had been giving me crap about something (I don't even remember what) I glanced at her and said, "You look like the Kool-Aid Man."

It did not go over well.

kelsi said...

I try not to talk to pregnant women, because I will surely say the wrong thing.
But that whole public-private boundary really creeps me out, because walking around talking about pregnancy is, to me, the same as walking around talking about your most intimate sex moments. Everyone knows you got laid, and approximately when, and now you have a watermelon to show for it.

Shannon said...

Jo - OUCH. Did she smack you, or simply glower at you for the rest of your natural-born life?

Hammer - Did she bust through a wall and say, "Oh, YEAH!"?

kelsi - the hardest thing about my 30s has been discovering that my friends are not, in fact, virgins.

Hammer said...

No, but I keep waiting for someone to do that in real life, at which point I shall worship them as a primitive god for time eternal.

(And yeah, I know the Slim Jim guy came close, but it ain't the same.)

Titania said...

Shortly ago, I told someone "you are about to pop! when are you due" -- her response: I am only 6 months into it (FFFFFFFF**&^%$CK!). I was thoroughly scolded right after by other people around.

Anyhoo, have you noticed that many pregnant woman get this "I am an angel, and didn't do anything" kind of face/expression? It makes me feel like yelling at them to change it since I know they probably did fuck like rabbits to get there. But that's just me.

Lisa said...

I am prone to over-sharing anyway, and pregnancy has perhaps made me more so. Unimaginable, but true. I think so many horrifying things happen to you, and it's just easier to talk about them. Plus all the other already-had-kids women are so cavalier about your body bits and such. So you get knocked up and you get all kinds of previously-unimaginable questions/sharing from your friends.

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