“I don’t know if this is a mean question, but do you feel like you are getting bigger?”
It’s funny the things people ask when you are pregnant (and let me point out, clearly, that this was an overhear… so no, they were not asking me!) Questions about names, past pregnancy stories, gender, even how they were conceived (especially if the person says they are having twins)… none of these seem to be off limits.
Perhaps because it is such a universally human event, something that we all live through in some form during our life, people feel they are connected to each pregnancy. Or maybe, the idea that someone can carry an actual human inside them is too compelling to let pass by without a question about what it is like.
Either way, in their innocence, the questions seem to be similar to those you hear children ask when they are too young to know better…things like; how come you don’t have a leg, or why are you bald. I once had my daughter
ask me, in an elevator surrounded by people including the one she was discussing, why some people smell so bad.
It is difficult not to both laugh and be embarrassed by these questions… and the truth is most kids learn quickly what is acceptable and what is not. I wonder, though, if this is how we begin to train out of ourselves the ability to dialogue about difficult ideas and differences. Their questions, like the ones about pregnancy, come out of curiosity not malice. Free of judgment and ready to accept a real and sometimes personal answer, the questions can lead to
interesting dialogue that helps each of us grow and connect as humans.
At least half the population won’t know what it is like to carry a little person inside themselves…. To watch your body, which has always been your own, be taken up by another. So I say, ask away… but be sure to help carry
their bags of groceries or give up your seat for them while you wait for your answer.
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