One of my friends, pregnant with her third and final child, posted to facebook last night that she found out that she was having a boy—her third boy. She had something like 30 comments, and I went in to add my congratulations. I was infuriated to find people actually offering their condolences to the fact that it was not a girl. People actually saying “I am so so sorry you will never have a little girl…”, or “you poor woman in a house full of boys..” I mean, seriously people. So I went in and offered my sincere congratulations and excitement and got the hell out of there.
Now I don’t know if she is harboring any resentment, but I started thinking about the assholish things that have been said to me during my pregnancies. I’ve heard it all from “the perfect family” after Lucy to “give your body a rest already”(from my own mother), and have even heard that I am contributing to over-population. I get stares and looks of sympathy when I am out with all of my kids, and on the occasions where I also have my 2.5-year-old niece, I actually get comments of “I am soooo sorry”. I always hear “Wow, you must have your hands full.”. I do. But I deal with it. And I chose this handful.
When I get in moods like this, I start getting spun up about every injustice that was ever thrown my way. Like the bitch in the restaurant bathroom last summer who actually said out loud how nice it was for me to use soap as I washed Lucy’s hands. This was sarcasm of course, since I didn’t use soap; that commercial stuff tears her hands to shreds. I have a gentle moisturizing hand sanitizer in my purse for such occasions. I didn’t say anything to her then…but I wish I would have, because seriously—what an asshole, but I’ve spent many a night coming up with what I should have said. (The jerk store called, and they’re running out of YOU!!)
In an attempt to redirect though, I started thinking if there was any time that I may have been insensitive without realizing it, like those poor misdirected shlubs who left comments for my friend. I remember a time when a friend brought her new baby in to work; he was a few weeks old. I gushed how cute he was and squealed that he was just! so! tiny! To which she snapped “he’s a baby, he’s supposed to be tiny. At the time I was taken aback, because clearly I meant nothing. I found out later that her son had some growth issues and she was sensitive about it. Duly noted. I didn’t mean anything by it, but to her, it meant EVERYTHING.
Here’s something I’ve caught myself saying a few times while visiting friends in the hospital, with their tiny 6 or 7 pounders: “She’s just so cute! My kids were only this tiny on the inside! I wouldn’t know what to do with such a tiny baby!” I don’t mean anything by it, but if we changed it around, if someone had said to me about 10lb 2oz Newborn Bud “Wow, he is huge! My kids were his size when they were 4-months old hardy har har..” I would probably have been infuriated. (not that we didn’t get comments about his size, but whatever)
So I guess the question is, who’s the asshole now. Clearly, it is me. It’s probably been all of us at some point or another. Do we all just need to shut the hell up about the age, size and gender babies of others? We just might.
I think I’ll be going with the standard “He is just darling.” from here on out. It’s safer that way.