A few weeks back, my mom and I were talking about the curious scenarios in which pregnant women find themselves. I explained how often I feel infantilized or objectified as a pregnant woman, contrasting the strange sensation with the relative infrequency with which I’ve been infantilized or objectified as a non-pregnant woman. The bigger I become, the more people talk about me in my presence in the third person, instead of addressing me directly. Either that or they use strange euphemisms to talk about pregnancy without mentioning pregnancy itself.
Yesterday, I was waiting outside for Francisco when a woman and her partner walked past. They paused for a moment in front of me, the woman pointing and saying, “Oh, look, she’s as pregnant as I am!” She started to chatter on about me before her husband interrupted her, saying “Yeah, but she looks a lot better than you do.”
Ick! Though I didn’t want them to involve me in their conversation– I don’t want to be the unwilling pawn in someone’s marital conflicts–I also disliked that they talked about me as if I wasn’t even there.
And then, this afternoon, I was buying bagels when a store security guard said, “Oh, you look ready,” with heavy emphasis on the “ready.” I really had no clue what she was talking about, so I looked at her and said, “Ready?” “To pop,” she said. “Um, not quite,” I told her. “I’m not due until the end of September.”
“Oh… a L-I-B-R-A,” she said, stretching out the word in a knowing tone that scared me. I’m always a little suspicious of people who know all the astrological signs… how can their brain retain dates, and names, and supposed characteristics so neatly?
I dropped my bagels into a bag. “I’m a Virgo,” I said, like an idiot. I was trying to be nice, trying to keep up conversation, though there was no reason to tell her anything else. “Yep,” she continued, even more sure of herself, emboldened by the fact that I chose to engage her (stupid me). “That’s not a good combination. Libras and Virgos? Unnh huh. Bad. Lots of conflict there. Libras go back and forth, you know.”
No, actually I didn’t. Add that to the list (you know, that long list of things I DON’T know). When I got home, I Googled Libras. “Libra’s children,” the site said, in a voice I imagined to be like that of the security guard, “are some of the kindest most diplomatic dictators you will ever meet.”
Now I have one more thing to worry about.