The frustration sometimes made me want to pull my hair out, strand by strand! Having to answer all the annoying, and oh-so-intrusive questions with “No! I’m not pregnant!!!!”. In the early days, this would be followed by such supporting sentences as “I know I’ve put on some weight”, or “I have the flu”, or “I just feel tired”, but after a while, I didn’t bother. Why did I have to give any explanation to counter your unfounded suspicion? Towards the end, an eye roll even followed this response.
But try as I might, I just couldn’t run away from that annoying question. Anytime I called in sick at work, my phone would literally ring off the hook all day. I wish my colleagues had shown this much concern before I got married (*side eye*). They would always start the conversation with “Hi Nicole. Sorry oh…I heard you’re ill” and before I could even thank them for their concern, and possibly even proffer some more information about my malaise, I would hear a conspiratory laugh, followed by “Or are you pregnant?” It was cute the first time, mildly irritating the second time, but by the 5th occasion of ill health, it was a WTF situation! Was it too much to believe that I could just be ill? Just because I was now married, was every sneeze equal to a bun in the oven?? And after a year or two, couldn’t people use their brains to know that this was possible a very sensitive topic for me?? And after the first awkward “No, I’m not pregnant” response, couldn’t they use their discretion not to repeat the question on the next occasion??
And woe betide me when I put on weight! It became a foregone conclusion! I walked into the elevator one day, and an acquaintance who worked in the same building squealed “See your cheeks! Na wa oh! I didn’t know you were expecting!”. With a straight face, I answered “I’m not”. That was the longest elevator ride to the 10th floor in the history of man. Another time, when I was having lunch in the canteen, an older colleague sat next to me and said “You’re already looking round. Look at your breasts! I wonder how you’ll look when you’re 9 months! Don’t be one of those ladies who get too fat oh!”. The look of embarrassment on her face, when she found out that I wasn’t pregnant, almost made up for her faux pas…and in fairness to her, she never repeated that mistake again. I also stopped uploading pictures on Facebook or BBM, because somehow, no matter what angle I tilted my face, or how much I sucked in my stomach, I would still get hit with the “Are you pregnant?” or “Is that a bump I see?” questions. I had to take the hint to work towards losing the extra 10 pounds (less than 5kg) that was sending everyone into a tail spin.
You can imagine my shock when, even after losing weight, I WAS STILL BOMBARDED WITH THIS QUESTION!!! It now became “You’ve really lost weight! Are you pregnant?” or “You look pale. Could it be the morning sickness?”. Were these people kidding me??????!!!! I just couldn’t win with them!!!!
The irony of it all is that when I did get pregnant, none of them suspected a thing. There were no changes to my weight for the first few weeks, and my “morning” sickness was actually more of an evening one…so when I was at work, or other public places, I appeared perfectly fine. Not until the emergence of a hint of a bump did people start asking questions. And then, I was happy to respond 🙂
I thought I was too smart and sensitive to ever be caught in this kind of embarrassing situation, until one day, I fell right into it! There was a lady who worked with a Client company, who looked heavily pregnant at the same time I was. We were at a meeting once, and I could have positively SWORN that she too was expecting. After I had resumed from maternity leave, I ran into her at a meeting, and I asked her how her baby was. Her reply was “Baby?”. You would have thought that would be my cue to shut up, but instead I went on “Your baby! The one you had recently. Remember, we were pregnant at the same time!”. She shook her head and told me her youngest child was 5 years old. That was when I realised that her “bump” was still there. Talk about a foot in mouth situation. The meeting concluded awkwardly, and I avoided her for the rest of my time in that company.
So, if you’re not sure…try to keep your mouth shut. It will save everyone from a potentially embarrassing situation.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.