I'm sure all of you, like myself, know at least one woman who has been on the receiving end of indelicate comments about weight or family size. Some of you may even know women who are criticized for the names they choose for their children. And, perhaps, some of you-like me-frequently hear stories of pregnant women being disrespected and shown a lack of concern by their own family members. Some of the remarks, criticism, or lack of concern are said or done in complete ignorance, others stem from bitter feelings. Regardless of what spurs people on in saying or doing certain things, the fact still remains: pregnancy is surrounded by horror stories.
|35 weeks gestation!|
For the vast majority of this pregnancy, depending on what I was wearing, it was not completely obvious that I was pregnant. I wear a lot of flowy skirts & dresses and my weight gain has been rather contained, so if a person did not know I was pregnant, I often just looked like I had been enjoying too many chocolate muffins. However, around week 30 or 31, my belly popped out. And so, I joined the ranks of women who receive comments from random strangers about pregnancy.
However, I have not experienced the horrors which other women have told me about. Instead, I have been overjoyed to see the opposite play out. So, to show you that there is a reason to have hope for humanity, I'm linking up with the ladies of Tuesday Talk to share a couple of stories from this pregnancy.
Once upon a Friday afternoon in early April, I was driving down the highway to pick up my husband from work. My slightly rounded, 30 weeks gestation-belly, curved towards the steering wheel. As my car hummed down the road, I suddenly came upon a traffic jam. Every lane was at a complete stop, cars and trucks were bumper-to-bumper, and there was no end to the traffic in sight. Taking a deep breath, I settled myself in for the slow crawl that would ultimately last for a few miles and the next several minutes. I turned off the radio, unrolled my window, and let myself be at peace.
I enjoy people-watching from time to time, so I began looking across the vast sea of cars, interested to see what others were doing. Some were talking on their cell phones, others were talking with each other, and others were glumly staring ahead, resigning themselves to the traffic. In the lane just to my left, further up the road, I saw a large school bus that was decorated for a sports team. Amused, I watched a girl-who looked to be in middle school-poking her head out of the window, waving at cars and encouraging truckers to honk their horns. Ah, I remember those days, I thought, memories of the 4-H bus trips of my youth coming to mind. The cars in front of me lurched forward, and I slowly began creeping down the road.
"ARE YOU PREGNANT?"I looked up, and noticed that my car had pulled up next to the school bus. The excited middle school girl looked at me inquisitively.
"YEAH!" I yelled back, grinning from ear to ear.The girl shrieked in excitement, and her bus pulled forward. I shook my head and smiled. God was finding a way to brighten and work through a rotten traffic jam. Over the course of the next several minutes, the bus and my small car alternated coming together and being pushed apart as the lanes creeped forward at different rates. Each time my car wound up next to the bus, the girl popped her head out of the window and yelled a different question down to me: When was the baby due, was it a boy or a girl, was I excited, etc. After I answered each respective question, the girl would pull her head back inside the bus and call out my answer to her teammates. Finally, as I drove my car forward next to the bus, several other middle school girls suddenly popped their heads out the window, waving, cheering, and congratulating me! These girls had such incredible joy and excitement at new life, and it was a beautiful ray of sunshine in the midst of that traffic jam.
On the day that marked 35 weeks gestation, just a week ago, I was walking back to my apartment after getting the mail. As I turned to walk into the building, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an older man getting into his truck and preparing to leave. I did not know this man, aside from the fact that we've greeted each other in passing and that he lives somewhere on the floor beneath myself.
I walked up the staircase and was halfway down the hall to my apartment, when I heard a voice.
"Excuse me, ma'am? Ma'am?"I turned, to see this man rushing up the staircase after me. He was holding a box of Baby Einstein Alphabooks. Gesturing towards my belly, the man explained that his sister was going to throw these books away, but he asked for them instead. After profusely apologizing that the book for the letter H was missing, the man handed the box to me and walked back down the stairs. My heart was filled with joy and my mind was blown. This man, who doesn't even know me, went out of his way to give me this gift for our baby. It may have been a simple action, but his thoughtfulness really touched my heart.
It can be easy to get swept up in drama and the negativity that swirls around our society. It is awful that so many women receive unfeeling comments from others. However, hopefully these little stories can remind you that there is so much wonder, hope, and and goodness in the world. There are individuals who seek to build up the community of humanity and look out for each other. And that is something to find joy in!