When I first mentioned to my husband that everyone stares at me now, he concluded that they always stared and I just wasn’t conscious. That no one was looking at me more than they were before I became pregnant. I’m just more aware. Um… Honey, I love you. But no…. just… no.
The first time I realized it, I was at around 17 weeks. I went out in a tank top, the kind you wear under your jackets for work. I wasn’t even out for more than a few minutes each time, from car to building. I was right at that place where, though the bump was small, you could tell I didn’t just have a gut. I am afterall a slimmer, petite body type. That day, no one bothered to look at my face. Not one person. They ALL had their eyes glued to my belly. I remember thinking, I must be officially “showing” and just how damn rude can one be?? I’m positive that if I had traces of cocaine around my nostrils, no one would have noticed.
It would help to point out that at around 14 weeks, while my bump peeked out the tiniest bit, I wore a tight, little black dress. And even though I was personally aware that there was more of me out front than there had ever been before, it wasn’t uncommon that someone my size would carry a pooch around that size too. Needless to say, I felt more comfortable being out in the dress than I did before leaving home. I certainly hadn’t been eyeballed then.
Since I continued to “pop” fairly rapidly thereafter, you can imagine the stares only got worse. I mean, it seemed nearly every person was staring at me as though I was some sort of alien! I see pregnant women all the time and do not rudely stare as though wondering how the pregnancy could have occurred . I can’t fathom that it’s because I “look young”. I believe I stopped looking “too young” a few years back. I even had someone ask me while sitting in a food court why every passing person was staring at me as though I had some sort of physical abnormality. My response was simply, “I really couldn’t tell you”.
Am I now a specimen to be examined visually? An additional “symptom”? Don’t get me wrong, I love my bump amd what it represents, though uncomfortable it may be. I just never thought it would garner this kind of attention from strangers. Men are exceedingly helpful, so are women whose age bracket are such that they would be your mother. They constantly try to feed you. Complete strangers break out into an infectious smile at seeing your bump. (OK, I’m loving that part). People whom you haven’t much if any relationship at all begin to pry with private messages. “How far along are you?”, “When are you due?”, “Do you know the sex?”, “What is the name you like?”, “Can I be a Godparent?”, “Why didn’t you tell me?”… I mean, if we never spoke on a regular or continuous basis, or at all before, why would you think this is okay?
So this begs the question; Is this the experience of ALL pregnant women? Is it just Jamaican pregnant women? For those who know me, what on earth could be so fascinating that people forget their manners and jaws?
I would really like to know.