Strategies for Not Getting Your Belly Touched at Work

Thank you guys for all of your sweet help and support. I think it was just what I needed, and while I’m still pretty scared about the adjustment, I’ve been trying to slowly practice just coming out with it to store patrons I’m more comfortable with, etc. You know, when they give you that pointed, “How are you doing?” with the just-a-little-too-long-glance at your belly. I’m trying to use those as an opportunity to practice sharing my good amazing news. Also a friend came in and already spilled the beans in front of a bunch of them, so I think the cat’s officially out of that bag.

Plus, I’ve been practicing two important maneuvers to avoid the belly-rubbing that I know will ensue:

Stop. Hammertime.

Stop. Hammertime. Thanks Google Image Search!

1) Hide behind the counter. Don’t come out. Put large boxes in the walkway by the entrance to the counter so people can’t get in without it getting even more awkward than before and them probably falling over. Basically, I’m perfecting the art of the barricade. Also, sitting in the rolling chair provides extra maneuverability while simultaneously keeping me a little further out of arm’s reach.

2) Movement. When not behind the counter, move quickly from room to the next, never slowing down. If they can’t catch you, they can’t rub you. Adding a lot of twists, turns, and sudden movements to regular walking might make you look positively bonkers, but it’ll add an air of confusion about which way you’re going next and seems to make people less likely to risk touching you, in case they might catch whatever crazy you have. Obviously, this tactic is going to get less useful the further along we get, but I’m planning on milking it while I can.

So as you can see, things are going pretty well in the adjustment department and I’ve only become a half-crazed tactician. I’ve only momentarily considering faking a terrible cold and sneezing at anyone unwelcome who gets too close. I think I’ll save that for the worst of the trouble-makers. Perhaps I should practice my fake sneezing now though, since I’m kind of a natural flailer when it comes to sneezing. A-ttractive.

sneeze01

The only prayer request I have left to make (other than continued prayers for baby’s well-being & little soul, of course) is that I might have the opportunity to tell one patron in particular personally before she finds out from someone else. You see, this lady is sweet and well-intentioned as can be. She had been asking me EVERY WEEK since August or September whether I was pregnant. Which, of course at the time, I was not. And which was exceptionally painful since she wouldn’t let it drop, even after I explained that we would love to be, but were struggling badly with infertility. She was clearly oblivious to the pain that she was causing and thought it was some kind of a joke how I would get frustrated with her after she asked me each week. She genuinely didn’t get it and had probably never considered what it would feel like for someone who wasn’t sure that she would ever be able to say yes to be asked that question constantly.

So, finally, a few weeks ago, I mustered up all of my confrontation-hating courage and pulled her aside to explain in no uncertain terms how hurtful it was for someone in that situation to be asked repeatedly whether she was expecting (and to be told that she looked like it on top of it.) I didn’t get very far before she nearly burst into tears and said that she was so sorry and hadn’t realized what that had been like for me. She was so sweet and she’s never brought it up again. I wish I’d realized how much more direct I needed to be with her earlier. It would’ve saved me several months worth of heartache.

So now, I feel as though I owe her sweet self a personal announcement, especially after having confronted her about her questions regarding my fertility issues while actually 3 months pregnant. I’d just rather her not hear it from someone else first. I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous that she’s just going to start dancing around telling me that she was right and all I needed to do was keep praying, and forget about our earlier conversation. Because she would do that. The dancing, I mean. Possibly the second part. But I really want her to remember how much I meant our earlier conversation. It’s important. And I don’t want any other women she knows to get hurt unintentionally like I did. So, dear friends, would you please keep that intention in your prayers for me? That I can a) get the opportunity to tell her personally first and b) that I can get enough words out before she excitedly starts talking over me to convey that I still meant it?

Thanks, you guys are the best. 🙂

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Post-Infertility Pregnancy Announcement Anxieties…that’s a thing, right?

I am a big fat chicken. And I’m not 100% sure why. But I need some advice, folks. (Beware, this one’s a bit of a rambler.)

Many of you have had the experience of being asked horribly rude questions like, “Are you pregnant?” and “When is the baby due?” when you were NOT expecting. It’s awful, even when you know without a doubt that the person asking you is well-intentioned and just excited for you. But when you’re not actually expecting (and worse yet, when that’s all you want in the whole wide world but you can’t do anything about it,) it’s really hurtful. I’ve mentioned all this before, I know. I’ve told you some of the stories of people coming up to me at my store, rubbing my belly, and then arguing with me about whether or not I was pregnant. Yeah, arguing. Those were rough days.

I'm not pregnant

But the issue that I’m facing now is that for once, praise and thank God, I AM actually pregnant. And I’m so, so happy, so overjoyed. But I haven’t figured out how to handle all the folks that are starting to ask again now that I’m starting to actually show. Because I still think it’s kind of rude of either a) complete strangers or b) Nosy Nellies who immediately spread it like wildfire around the place to be asking. Maybe I should be taking it as a compliment that they think I’m naturally skinny enough that any little bumps would have to be a baby (I’m not.) But I just don’t enjoy being talked about and I sort of feel as though cheerfully answering, “Yes I am! Baby’s due in July!” is rewarding bad behavior.

But the last thing that I want is to allow myself to bask in bitterness over past hurts. If infertility was my cross to bear before, then it’s because it was supposed to help make me a saint. Which means that if I don’t find a way to let go of the bitterness (the pain is one thing that will never entirely go away, but the bitterness is something entirely different and something that should be under my control), then I haven’t let God work in my life the way that He’s trying to.

I’m so scared (it sounds overly dramatic, but I am) of having hundreds of sweet, well-meant Catholics at my work asking in very pushy ways very personal questions that I may not want to answer. Even though all I want to do is celebrate this baby, I’m so anxious over the thought of being touched and exposed more than I already have been. Infertility doesn’t just disappear with a miracle–it leaves a few scars. (Don’t get me wrong–I’ll take those scars absolutely any day in exchange for my miracle!)

Is embracing this kind of nosiness part of embracing a culture of life? Is this kind of experience and anxiety unique to my situation as a fairly public member of my Catholic community? Is there a wonderfully charitable way of addressing my sweet but nosy customers that I haven’t thought of yet? Or do I just need to find a way to put on my big girl panties and throw myself into this touching/personal question asking/”I’m so glad you finally decided to have a baby!”-hearing experience and offer it up?

Advice…go!

Miracles and Motherhood

I have miraculous news. So miraculous, I haven’t been able to even think of writing about it. And if today you’re in a place where you need to not read it, that is more than ok. Click away. I’m not going to judge or blame you because I’ve had those days. So, so many of them. But if today is the kind of day that makes good news fill you with joy and lift your burden, read on:

We’re pregnant.

Those feet--so cute!

Those feet–so cute!

For the first time in my entire life, that little stick showed two pink lines. We cried (especially me, of course,) and then immediately started looking up any and all reasons for false positives. Even after having logically ruled them out, being late, and having had a strong positive test (and then another one the next morning because crazy,) we were so in shock that we were too terrified to let ourselves believe it. In fact, part of me still doesn’t. I’m not sure when that will really change. When does it?

We called our doctor on Monday morning (we found out on a Saturday night–All Saints’ Day–which means we have to assume that this blessing is thanks to the ENTIRE litany of saints we’ve been praying to every night,) and she was good enough to talk a little sense into me, thank God. She told me to chill out (somewhat more politely than that) and just let ourselves embrace it RIGHT. NOW. She reminded me that no matter what else ever would happen or not happen, that I was now a mother and he was now a father and nothing would ever, ever, ever, ever change that. And I needed to hear those words so badly. So, so badly. More crying ensued, of course. Those were the words I’d been waiting to hear my entire lifetime and I knew they were so true. I’m more grateful than any words can ever begin to express for that gift. I know how many women I love are still longing to hear them, and please, please know that I pray constantly that we all might someday.

In fact, I want to say what I’ve always desperately wanted to hear from someone in the position I was dying to be in. You ARE a mother. Even if your child doesn’t exist yet, or has passed away before even implanting, or hasn’t been conceived by the woman who will have the honor of bearing the child that will be yours to love, or if spiritual motherhood is the path that God has called you down, whatever your situation is. If you long for motherhood in your heart, if you know that motherhood is your vocation, if you already love your children with a ferocious, wild love–you are a mother. Please take that to heart and know that I mean it. I know we’ve all been scared that no one thinks we deserve the title until we’ve had morning sickness or changed dirty diapers, but I think that you do. Your motherhood doesn’t cheapen mine. You’ve spent nights sobbing and praying for the gift of or health of your children; you’ve written them letters and dreamed of kissing boo-boos and being covered in bodily fluids (because you’re realistic); your arms literally ache with the absence of their weight, I know. If you love your children so much that it hurts, then you are a mother. Even if you can’t hold your children in your arms today. You have a mother’s heart and that COUNTS. It does, it does, it does.

I hope that you won’t mind if I do my best to embrace this gift, this miracle, while I have him or her here. I’ve spent so long praying for this, and I don’t want any of us to miss out on a moment if we receive one. I’ll understand if continuing to read about however things go is too much for you. It’s really and truly ok. But I hope that, if you want, you’ll keep coming around and sharing with me. I pray that although I’m trying to embrace the tremendous absence of the weight that God has decided to lift from me (and trust me, it’s through nothing I’ve earned on my own,) that I’ll always have the heart that I hoped my friends would have for me. You’re still not alone, friends, and I won’t stop caring about your burdens. But hopefully, come July-ish, there will be pictures of someone adorable for us to all coo over together. That’s the internet equivalent of letting someone hold your baby, right?

I’ll fill you in on the chaos of the last several months later (and I promise there has been a lot going on,) but for now, would you please send up a prayer of thanks for us? We’ve received a gift we thought we’d never be blessed with and it’s absolutely a miracle. Thanks.