I’ve been asked this question several times every year over the last few years – “When are you having a baby?”, the last time in front of an audience, including an already visibly pregnant woman.
The women in the room who already have children don’t appear to be bothered by this question. The men are exempt from being asked – apparently simply because they don’t have a uterus.
All we 30-somethings without kids must be thinking about babies all the time! What else would a woman our age want? And why wouldn’t it be up for group discussion during the morning tea farewell for the Mum-To-Be (who really should be the focus)?
I remember an otherwise fastidiously clean and tidy school principal who had an unfortunate medical condition which affected his glands, leaving his rather pungent BO to waft all through the admin area and the front office, particularly on stressful days – you could actually guess at the kind of day he was having by the strength and reach of the waft. Any job that led you near this area gave you a punch in the nose with the smell that obviously couldn’t be helped, not even with air conditioning and chemically-beefed up deodorant. But although it was over-bearingly obvious, it was also accepted among the rest of the school population that it needn’t be pointed out. This kind man was already deeply aware of his affect on the olfactory senses of everyone around him. We knew we needn’t dig it deeper by pointing it out to him.
Perhaps that’s what is needed then – the late thirties, not-yet-pregnant woman needs a certain sign, a bad BO? a bright light flashing? a wordless warning that lets people know that they just don’t need to ask. I’ve already asked myself so many times.
In the moment, however, compelled as I am by the lack of forethought and generous amounts of self-pity, and totally unlike my more gracious principal, I’m childishly inclined to stuff my mouth with a second scone and head for the exit door before sticking a post-it note to my forehead that reads –
“Un-intentionally Barren and Getting Old: Pregnancy Not Likely”