Due/Do

6 September 2011 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

At 27 weeks along, I all of a sudden look obviously pregnant to strangers. No longer do people give me those funny little glances, trying to figure out if I am–I am now offered a seat everytime I get on a bus or train, and people I meet (a friend of a friend, a new acquaintance at a party, another mom I strike up a conversation with at a playground or beach) routinely ask me a certain question.

I’m sure you can figure out what the question is. It’s a completely predictable, if idiomatic, one: “When are you due?” they ask.

My problem with this question? I inevitably hear it as, “What do you do?” and start answering that. There’s a moment of confusion, before my conversation partner intervenes: “No, no, no,” he or she (usually she) says, “I mean when are you due?”

Ah. Right. I can answer that one too, of course. But it’s a huge shift of my brain, of my identity–I do do something outside of gestating, raising, and nursing children, and while I’m intensely proud of the work of my body, this natural, physical, biological work it’s doing, I’m also proud of the work of my mind, and my answer to the “What do you do?” question which used to be–before I looked so obviously pregnant–the more common query.

I’m not sure what to do about this–I guess I only have 12-15 weeks or so to keep at it, and then the question will fade into the background of distant memory. But it’s tricky, meanwhile, and it highlights a basic conflict in my identity that I (obviously) haven’t entirely resolved yet.

–Christina

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“Necesareans” Expectations: thoughts on a second pregnancy, birth, and child

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