My Own Bump

Just over a week ago, my mother decided to start telling people that I’m pregnant. I am, okay, certainly past the twelve-week mark now, and she was mystified to discover that I was enraged. Even now, I’m not sure that she knows why I was so angry. No, I know that she doesn’t understand; but we’ve moved past it, and I’m unlikely to explain and thereby get mad all over again.

In some ways it is my own fault—she told me that she had told her stepsister, a woman I haven’t spoken with in years, and since she seemed apologetic, I told her that it was okay—it’s not like I will ever see this woman. But she apparently took this to mean, “Please, Mrs. B, tell everyone you can reach—what exciting gossip! And tell people Susie sees on a regular basis: Why would she want to handle that herself?” And she told people in a way that made it clear that she was just gossiping, and I was incredibly mad, told her to knock it off, and contacted the people she had told to ask them to please not spread the news yet because we aren’t and my mother just had a wild hair up her hinder and no sense of the appropriate. (Okay, I just thought that last part.) I am not ready to talk to people about the pregnancy, which is unfortunate, because I look pregnant and a half. Some of my reaction is I think fair—my mother cannot for the life of her understand what “Not your place” or “Not your business” might mean, and when that runs up against my private life, it makes me crazy. But there’s another piece to my anger that seems blog relevant.

The last time I was pregnant here, my family mostly pretended that I wasn’t pregnant until I lost my son. I was right here, in this house, and being back here and pregnant is more emotionally complicated than I had expected. I’m not talking about the pregnancy—I’m mostly dismayed about already having a bump. I’m glad about the little Possum, no question; I talk to him and take my vitamins and look forward to meeting him. But it’s all intensely private for me, which makes my mom’s chatty spree feel like “You’ll never guess what happened in Susie’s vagina!!!” Whoa, mom. Not cool.

I’ve got to find a way to think differently about the pregnancy, because I know from experience that a pregnancy isn’t entirely private—even when I was pregnant with Cricket and feeling weirdly invisible here, strangers at grocery stores would smile and hold doors for me. People can tell—if not now, then soon. (I am wearing baggy tops most of the time, but if I wear something that fits, voici la bump.) And they don’t think of the belly as a secret vagina thing (reasonable!), and so won’t pretend that they can’t see it. I will be asked rude questions; my mother will, uninvited, touch my stomach. Unless I flip my lid, that will happen a lot.

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5 thoughts on “My Own Bump

  1. Susie, I know how you feel about the privacy thing. I dislike telling people I’m pregnant because I feel like I’m telling them about my sex life…Even though that’s irrational, and I don’t think that way when others inform me of their pregnancies. Weird of me!

  2. Well since you’ve basically announced it here, I will say congrats on expecting! However, that said…I know exactly what you mean. No matter how excited she is that you’re pregnant, it’s not HER business to tell. Especially if you’ve gone through the pain of miscarriage. One of my girlfriends recently had a baby after having a miscarriage last year. For a LONG time (she was about 6 months, I think), she didn’t tell anyone. Some of us were suspicious and excited for her for a while previous, but even if she’d confirmed it to us, it wouldn’t have been our story to tell. It’s up to her, and you, when you tell your story & to whom you tell it. My mother tells her friends all the time that I’m a birth mother. I don’t hide it myself, but it still bugs me when I find out yet another person that she’s told.

  3. When we were waiting for our daughter to be born, we were staying at a hotel near where her birthmother was living so we could get her to the hospital when she went into labor. Because we had our 13 month old son with us, our parents came to stay at the hotel to help with him. The day after we arrived another guest at the hotel saw me with my son and said, “Oh! You must be Gretchen! How is the baby? Will she be born soon?” I was so shocked I had no idea what to say. Then I realized that my mother must have met this person and spilled our whole story. I calmed down and then talked to my mom. She had no idea that what she did would have upset me. And I realized that while it is not how I would have preferred things to go, in the end it likely didn’t matter and there was no point in being upset with my mother for getting so excited her boundaries collapsed. This doesn’t in any way excuse her behavior and I feel that your feelings are valid, but from her perspective she probably figured that as you are starting to show, the cat was out of the bag, so to speak.

    By the way, I find it very interesting the connection between “I’m pregnant” and “people will know I had sex.” I’ve never even thought of that before. I guess I’ve never thought people care that much about other people’s sex lives. Well, at least unless it’s a whole lot more interesting than the standard, run of the mill, married people sex.

  4. That would have been upsetting to me to have my mom broadcast a pregnancy before I was ready to announce; sharing her enthusiasm and excitement with you, Mr. Book, and your dad is great, but she should have waited for the green light from you. I can imagine how complicated it feels to be pregnant with the possum in the place where you lost Cricket. I hope you can have as much space and privacy as possible plus lots of love and support.

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