I’m not sure if other pregnant women can relate to this, but I feel like the only thing people notice about me anymore is my belly. On several occasions I’ve had complete strangers approach me at the grocery store and say things like “I just love your baby bump.” Once a lady simply shouted in passing, “Nice belly!” Other times people just stare. The stares are always accompanied by tender looks of sympathy, quiet smiles, quick glances edged with fear, or the one that I hate the most: the unblinking stare of disapproval. It makes me feel slightly uncomfortable.
Working in schools makes it especially interesting. When I walk into a classroom students always whisper to one another before a brave one blurts out, “Are you pregnant?” Almost always followed by giggles and someone hissing, “It’s rude to ask about that.” Obviously, they aren’t learning much in health class. For some reason it makes me feel unnecessarily defensive. I have to hold back and not launch into some sort of explanation about how I’m 24, happily married for 3-years, and a college graduate. Once a student (albeit at the alternative school) was talking to a love-struck couple when she jerked her head my direction and said, “You two better be careful, or you’ll end up like that.” Good advice, but I’m no modern Scarlet Letter. Still, maybe I can have a positive effect on local teen pregnancy rates.