Maybe I was asking for it because I was wearing a two piece swimsuit. Or perhaps it was that that the body revealed by my skimpy attire begged for attention- with its abundance of stretch marks, silvery- taupe in hue, gently drifting across my pregnant belly in horizontal wavy lines. And let’s not forget the belly itself- perfectly round, except where the baby’s butt creates it’s own little bump in the upper left quadrant (that’s my left, your right), taut as the balloons the nice man at the liquor store blows up for Sweet Pea, and just about the same size.
I debated heavily whether or not to even go to the pool in the first place. On one hand, I was tired in a special 39-weeks-pregnant-and-carrying-an-extra-35-lbs kind of way. On the other hand, I hadn’t done anything resembling exercise in several days, and I had scored a guest pass at a fancy gym with a beautiful outdoor pool which was about to expire. It was a gorgeous day and Sweet Pea and Dan were content to stay home and dig in the garden without me.
So I swam in the heated, salinated outdoor pool in the sunshine for about 25 minutes. I even managed a few flip turns. When I could no longer stand the fact that I had to pee and I got a cramp, I climbed out, toweled off, used the restroom, and relaxed on a chaise lounge.
I got out my phone and did a Google search for “positive birth stories.” I thought it might be worthwhile to attempt to get in the mood to give birth, but I’m afraid it’s just like working out, scrubbing the toilet, writing, or having sex- you can’t wait for the mood to strike. You just have to do it and you’ll be glad you did afterward.
There I sat, searching for inspiration, when standing before me was this lady I’d never seen before in a blue and black Speedo. She was probably in her 40’s. I wish I could remember any other detail of her appearance but I cannot. It didn’t occur to me at the time that it would be nice to note some identifying features for when I would blog about this. Looking down at me, she said, with shock and wonder,
“Are you having triplets?!”
My dad is fond of reminding me there is nothing new under the sun, but apparently, there is. Though I have blogged about the crazy shit people will say to pregnant women here and here, I had not heard this before.
I met her eyes and paused for a moment, drawing on muscle memory from my teenage years to give her the dirtiest look I could muster and the most hostile tone I could convey in a mere syllable.
I then looked down at my phone in my continued search for inspiration, assuming this was the universal sign for “Please do not speak to me anymore.” But she persisted.
“Well, you look great!”
I supposed she realized her gaffe and was trying to make amends. Certainly, I’ve engaged my mouth before my brain could catch up many a time. I could relate. Sort of. So I smiled and thanked her and promptly looked back down at my phone. I was busy searching for inspiration, damnit. She wasn’t done yet, though.
“You must be due, like any minute, then!”
I smiled again, this time with my my mouth pinched. Why does everyone think this is such a novel, interesting thing to say? I have been hearing this since March. Enough already.
“Yep, any minute.”
I looked down at my phone again. This conversation now resembled the life of my dog in the weeks before she was euthanized; painful, devoid of any joy or meaning. Yet she could not let it go.
“You look so ready and together!”
I was wearing my teal two piece Speedo from two seasons ago, my hair was in a half wet/half dry state of limbo, I had no make up on and there were goggle marks around my eyes. I do not remember the last time a razor made contact with my legs (bending is just not worth it), and as for my bikini line- I have not been able to see it in months, so I can’t really speak to its condition.
All of that said, I am not trying to tell you I look like a big, gross whale. Not to brag, but my face looks exactly the same as before I was pregnant (thin and free of acne), and I haven’t sprouted any odd moles, rashes, or patches of hair where patches of hair aren’t supposed to be, which are things people like to warn pregnant women about. And while I did recently treat myself to a manicure and a pedicure, I wasn’t sure where this woman got the idea, just from interrogating me for a few minutes, that I was “ready and together.”
She pressed on, “You really seem ready. Do you feel ready?”
I was ready for her to walk away from me.
“I guess so, yeah.” I put my head down again, and when I looked up, she was gone.
I did end up finding a decent birth story to read, though I’m still not entirely inspired. Inspiration or not, this is happening. And when it’s over I will be able to go out in public and freely make eye contact with strangers, even at the pool. How I look forward to that day.