I am 36.5 weeks pregnant. We officially have less than a month to go before Ella's due date. My belly is.....big.
It's funny walking around my office building, my client's office building and being out-and-about on the weekends running errands. I've never received so much attention from strangers before in my life - forget low cut tops in college, all you need is a big pregnant belly and all eyes are on you - men and women! It's like they can't help it. They don't try to hide it either - they deliberately look at my large stomach. It's as if they feel it's ok because it's not a permanent state that I am in like being morbidly obese or having a deformity - it's a special, temporary state, so, suddenly it's ok to stare.
People automatically smile at you when they notice your huge stomach, whether they're simply passing you while walking and see you coming for a while or if they suddenly look up in the store and you're near them - instant smile flash. I've wondered what exactly about my appearance makes this reaction so instantaneous, so genuine. I don't think it will be the same once we're actually carrying the baby in the outside world. It's as if there's this quick moment of reality that sets in of the grand sense of life..."That woman is going through months of carrying a small, new human inside of her body. She's procreating. She's what makes our race, the human race, keep going." That's how deep I feel these strangers' enthusiastic and penetrating reactions are to seeing me at this state in my pregnancy - it's constant. They really shouldn't because it inflates my ego. I am very, very important - I am carrying LIFE.
Not only do I receive countless, non-conversational smiles, but people feel compelled to talk to me about my pregnancy. Usually they simply ask when I'm due and/or what I'm having, a boy or a girl. Everyone is so curious and so interested in me. While I'm used to seeing myself everyday, I suppose I have to remember that the majority of the population does not see over 8 month pregnant women all the time. Most of the time women engage me - ones who appear older, who have all most definitely have had kids before themselves (trust me, you can tell by the knowing look they give you), but some men have engaged me as well. I feel very popular, like I have something great that other people don't have right now - but it's different than the stereotypical high school sense of popular. These people aren't jealous of me. It's popular in a nice, good way. People like me, even if for just the quick moment of communication we have. I believe they feel connected to me in some way - they're comfortable. I've gotten a random hug and belly rub from two separate strangers. I want to tell them "Why are you touching me?? I don't know you!" but they are just overly kind and I don't think they're thinking. You wouldn't normally go up to a stranger and hug them or touch their stomach, would you? No.
So I have many more encounters than in my pre and mid-pregnancy life with people I will never talk to or see again about this all-important impending event in Philip's and my life. It's as if I'm sharing this little piece of me over-and-over, telling the same information to different people. "I'm due end of September."; "I'm having a girl."; "Yes, I'm beginning to be ready for it to be over."
Should these people not be strangers or rather, should they be in my head, more meaningful and truthful conversation would entail...
"You know, I don't think about being pregnant every waking second of my life. I do feel like myself - it's still MY body. Sure I constantly recognize all the annoyances, but that's just my reality right now. I am simply someone who struggles to bend down towards the end of the day when I have less energy. I am someone who has to strategically think of the best way to take off my jeans and get into my very high bed at night. I am someone who struggles to shave my legs and thus, do it less often. My stomach is a source of inconvenience in my life right now. I know that, but I don't dwell on it. It just is. I don't know anything different right now. Will I be excited to lay on my stomach while sleeping and for massages again? Most definitely. Do I look forward to being able to breathe normally? Move normally? Look normal? Not have swollen feet? Yes, yes, yes and yes. But I have to wait...just like every other pregnant woman there ever was in the history of the earth. And I am ok with that."