Wednesday, August 13, 2014

People Are Rude: Pregnancy Edition, Part 2

As promised, I’m continuing with my list of the rude questions and unprompted rude things people said to me while I was pregnant. Today’s list of items aren't overtly rude (people’s intentions were polite conversation), but they are technically rude according to the official definition of rude and they all made me want to scream. These questions also had the tendency to come all at the same time which made me more tired of answering these questions than I was tired of having hiccups all the time. You’ll note that I’ve also continued rating the comments on how obnoxious I found them using the Stupica Obnoxiousness Scale (SOS).

4. What are you having?

I understand that basically everyone would consider this a perfectly polite question—one that shows interest—but it’s rude if you consider how obnoxious it is to a pregnant lady who gets asked this question ‘bout fifty-eleven times (Raymond, Dupri, & Cox, 2004). I feel like it was extra annoying because it really didn’t flipping matter to me whether I had a boy or girl and everyone would follow-up with, “As long as the baby’s healthy, right?” to which I would be obliged to respond in the affirmative or else I looked like an asshole about to birth a future asshole. Of course I wanted a healthy baby but I fail to see how this was linked to the baby's sex. This conversational dialogue made it seem like I had decided to opt out of knowing baby’s sex so that I could have a better chance of having a healthy baby, which was obnoxious.

I was also peeved when people thought it was weird that I didn’t want to know baby’s sex because I didn’t want people to start sex-typing him or her in utero. I just didn’t want to relegate my possible boy fetus to being thought of as strong and emotionally distant or to doom my possible girl fetus to being thought of as sensitive and bad at math. I thought the baby deserved the full nine months of not being stereotyped to which he or she was entitled before my mom bought every f’ing sports-themed item of clothing available for purchase in America. I’ve rated this question only a three on the SOS due to its polite intentions and low probability of any mean comment being made to my face.

5. Do you have a name picked out?

This question got rude when people reacted unkindly to the names I had picked out.  I named my boy Francis and we call him Frankie (I’m not telling you my girl name because I don’t want it stolen). Many thought the name was adorbs, because it is, but others (especially family) thought it was appropriate to stop their fork in mid-air with their mouth hanging open upon me saying the name and then, out of nowhere, ask without introduction 45-minutes later, “Is that a family name?” BTW, it was a family name and it was that person’s family. Insert smug-faced emoticon.

My beef with this question and clearly rude response was that if they were going to ask what name I had carefully chosen for my baby, they should have acted as if that name was the cutest ever uttered. Otherwise, they should have shut their face. In retrospect, I wish I would have done what one of my friends in grad school did, which was refuse to tell the name so they didn’t have to deal with the part where people got rude. Overall, I’d give this line of questioning a four considering that most responded kindly but I got really tired of answering this question too.

6. Do you have the baby’s room ready?

Again, not a rude question, but I personally found it obnoxious because I’m a weird parent who does things a bit unconventional at times and that lead to people judging my parenting before I’d even done any. Specifically, I didn’t set up a nursery because I planned on having the baby sleep in our room—not having a nursery was what everyone thought was weird.

These interactions taught me something important about American culture. Namely, in America, it’s so important to be independent and always pull yourself up by your own bootstraps that the only way to properly make it happen is to put your 8 pound bubala in a separate room all by him or herself. In fact, it’s so important that you have to do so at your own inconvenience. I was supposed to get my lazy ass out of bed, down a dark hallway, and up the stairs at all hours of the night just to teach my baby that this world is tough nuggets. Nerp. Go to hell. Baby’s in my room. Let me add to this that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies sleep in a crib in their parent’s room, so I’m right. As such, I rate this question a five because people were ignorantly judging me.

7. When are you due?

Again, totally polite intentions, but the last thing I wanted people to know was the day I was supposed to give birth according to my midwife. The reason I didn’t want people to know was because I didn’t want people calling me EVERY GODDAMN DAY starting on my due date until the day I finally gave birth. It didn’t work by the way, as you’ll read in my next post.

It got even more annoying when I was past my due date and people started asking, “When are they going to induce you?” Can someone tell me, please, who “they” are? I’d like to have a strong word with “them” for taking away my right to make my own medical decisions. Being induced was my choice, not “theirs.” Apparently, people were really uncomfortable with me having that kind of power. I really think some people felt like I should have been strapped down to a hospital gurney and forcibly induced once I went 6 days past my due date. Maybe I’m being extra sensitive, but it was pretty obnoxious when people treated me like an idiot who didn’t give an ish about the health of her fetus.

Just to defend myself, I carefully researched the risks of going past my due date and weighed them against the risks of being induced and decided that both I and the baby were safer if we just waited until he was ready or there was a cause for concern other than being overdue. Just so you aren’t left wondering, I wasn’t induced. I started labor naturally at 1am exactly two weeks past my due date.
5 months pregnant, ready to "pop"

In addition, the rude factor of this question increased when people were visibly eyeing my girth or followed up their question with shock that I was due months from then. Shocked people usually said, “You’re SOOOOOOO big!” People started saying that I looked ready to pop at five months, so I had another five months of this because I was two weeks overdue before I finally “popped.”  I've provided a picture so you can judge for yourself.

This question gets a six because many times, many people made me feel like I wasn’t capable of making my own decisions about my body or my baby’s health. To this I say, “How many PhD’s do I need before people think I’m not an idiot?” Clearly, it’s more than the one I managed to eek out.