Baby on Board


There was a bit of a baby boom surrounding my pregnancy, with me at the tail end of it. One of my colleagues found out she was pregnant in April and she had a little boy this January. Then another colleague’s wife got pregnant and they found out towards the end of the summer, maybe in August (the baby came prematurely in February and he’s doing well now). I found out I was pregnant in October and less than two weeks later yet another colleague found out she was already 3 months pregnant. This third colleague is due in the beginning of May (she’s also having a boy) and I’m slated for the end of June (you know what we’re having).

In a way, all of these women being pregnant around me at the same time has been good. I don’t have my mom around for advice or my girl friends from home to compare stories with. Plus, even if I did, there are differences in some of the standards and procedures here in Belgium, so it’s been good to know a few women who have gone through it (2 of them aren’t Belgian, also useful to compare experiences). My sister-in-law and Daisy, a friend of Piet’s each have two young girls and they’ve also been very available to talk or to ask for advice.

In the course of things I’ve also seen some things I wasn’t too keen on. Like certain buikbands (belly supporters):

Now, when I originally saw some people wearing something like this, with the creepy little hands and feet on them, or the due date of the baby on it, I really didn’t like it. It seemed…I don’t want to say self-centered, but I can’t think of a better word right now, so okay, self-centered to basically have a big belly shaped billboard advertising your pregnancy to the general public. I mean, isn’t it enough that you have this giant distended mid-section staring everyone in the face? Do you really have to scream it out to everyone via multicolored, hand printed belly bands? And I decided that when I got some belly supporters, I would be humble and get black or white or grey…something that blended in to my everyday clothing.

Until (cause any time I firmly make up my mind about something there is inevitably an “until”) I noticed that despite the fact that I’m pretty noticeably pregnant, I’ve only had one, yes one, person who was kind enough to say, get up and offer me his seat on a crowded tram.
And that was this past week in Istanbul.

Other than that I find myself getting shoved, jammed, jostled constantly on buses or trams. People expect me to be able to squeeze by them and give me dirty looks if I end up shoving them when I try to pass. For whatever reason, they don’t seem to realize that this big round belly is filled with a child and I can’t simply “suck it in” when I need to pass through a crowded area.

I’m not sure if it’s because, yes, I’m still in plus sizes, so they assume I’m just fat, not pregnant or if they simply don’t care. I do know that while I have put on weight, the majority of it is in my boobs and abdomen. I don’t have a butt or hips or extra chins to go with the parts of me that have grown, so while I could understand people not getting out of my way when I was four or five months pregnant, and just thinking I was overweight, I really honestly think I definitely look pregnant now, not fat.

But since the public in general doesn’t seem to be able to comprehend that, or simply chooses to ignore it, I’m thinking one of these babies is actually starting to look like a pretty good option:

Don’t you think?


6 responses »

  1. My best friend had one of the best maternity t-shirts I’d ever seen. It said, “I’m not pregnant, I’m smuggling watermelons.” It made me laugh.

    When I was pregnant, I definitely looked pregnant. I was all belly, and people still jostled me and shoved me around. I think people just don’t care.

  2. In all honesty I don’t think I treat pregnant women differently from non-pregnant women. I try not to bump into people , not to push them etc and if they would try to pass in a crowded area and bump into me because of that, I’d probably give an irritated look as I would do with anybody bumping into me.

    • Well, I’m not expecting a free pass to be rude to people, but if I have a huge belly sticking out that I can’t suck in, and you don’t move, it’s inevitable I’ll bump into you as I pass if I have no other way to get by. If I get a dirty look because you can’t take a step back when I’m noticeably pregnant and need to squeeze through, I’m sorry, but I consider the other person to be rude, not me.

      And to each his own, but personally, before my stomach got so heavy and my back so painful, if I was on the tram and all the other seats were full and I saw an elderly person or a huge pregnant woman standing, I offered my seat. It’s the polite thing to do. They wouldn’t post those “wees hoffelijk” stickers with photos of people with canes and pregnant women if that wasn’t what people should be doing.

      • You have every right to be honest. Obviously you aren’t the only one with your opinion, otherwise more people might be polite and take that step back to let me pass instead of forcing me to bump into them with a growing fetus and then look at me like it’s my fault. Although, I did choose to conceive, so according to some it is my “fault” that I can’t squeeze between people like I could 6 months ago.
        But snark doesn’t change the situation for anyone I guess.

  3. I found when I was pregnant that people generally were considerate on public transport but I know it is so often not the case.

    I think people need to realise that when you are offering a pregnant woman a seat, it isn’t because she deserves to sit down (although I believe that myself). Your centre of gravity shifts when you are carrying a baby and any sudden stop can throw you off your feet which would be scary for you and possibly risky. Better the pregnant woman sits and someone non-pregnant and youthful can stand.

    The kindest fellow travellers I found were other women and older men.

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