Ex Pat Mamma

Friday, February 18, 2005

Public Property

Pregnancy has an interesting affect on those around you. Not satisfied with volunteering legions of unsolicited advice (see this: written much better than me and very funny -
http://finslippy.typepad.com/finslippy/2004/05/attention_publi.html ) "other people" also seem to think that your body is no longer your own.

A couple of my friends have already come up to me and fondled my belly without asking. It takes one back a bit what can you say? But yesterday took the biscuit. I'm at work, admittedly looking a little dishevelled by 1630 and not exactly in my suit and tie, but still at work. We have a reception for high school teachers to encourage them to encourage their students to come to us. I'm introduced as lecturer and co-ordinator of legal studies. And so off we go to "mingle." And high school teacher asks me if I am ok; I looked at her a little perplexed and said I was fine; so, realising I hadn't a clue what she was talking about (I did look pretty tired, I WAS pretty tired, but surely she wouldn't be so rude to comment on the rings under my eyes?) she gives my belly a big rub and asks when the baby is due.

Astounded. Here's me playing law-professor-grown-up-honest and I'm being patted like a dog. Worse, the dog can at least snarl in response. It was hard enough being taken seriously in my job as young and female but now pregnant to boot, credibility is completely out of my grasp. Would you even touch a friend that way if she weren't pregnant? You might give a squeeze or a hug to someone close in the right circumstances, but a belly rub? Shall I just feel your ass?

Am I invisible? Am I just a big walking womb with some random flesh on the outside? Is it possible that I can be pregnant AND still have some expectations about respect for my own body (medical profession excepted; gave that up after my 16th internal ultrasound)? Is it possible that I can be pregnant AND have a brain? Might I be pregnant AND a law professor at the same time?

Which, in a round about way, brings me to my next post. Such are the perils of insomnia: one thinks too much and therefore has far too much that just needs to be SAID to someone, everybody, anybody. And if you don't read this, then hey, I don't need to know :)



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