I was working as a seater at Red Lobster when I found out I was pregnant with my son. At first I was glowing and telling anyone and everyone who would listen that I was expecting. What can I say? It was my first baby and even though he was completely unplanned, I was excited! I was going to be a mom, a title that every woman who has ever had a child is honored to be given. Whenever I would escort a family or a mother with her children to their table, I would find myself smiling softly as though I had a secret (which I guess technically, I did).
I became even more enthusiastic once I started showing. Yeah…that lasted all of two months. When my belly first began to grow, I would revel in the questions I would constantly be asked.
“How far along are you?”
“When are you due?”
“Boy or girl?”
“Do you have any names picked out?”
“Is this your first?”
Even though I felt like I was rehearsing for a 60 minutes interview, I really loved when people asked me about my baby. The fact that some of our guests were taking an interest in me and my baby made me feel special. However, the further I got along, the more I just wanted to prerecord my answers to the inevitable questions and play them as I showed our guests to their table. But that probably wouldn’t have made me very good at my job, I suppose.
Some people wouldn’t mention my pregnancy at all. I didn’t like that very much, I have to admit. Mostly because these were the people who would drop a fork or a crayon and look up at me as if to say, “Aren’t you going to pick that up?” Why, yes, of course! Let me awkwardly squat my fat, pregnant ass right on down and get that for you! Give me about five minutes though, because that’s probably about how long it’ll take me to get down there to hand you whatever it is you dropped.
The shocking remarks and questions began once I was about 32 weeks, which in preggo time is the slowest time because you know there are only eight weeks left and they will be the longest, most excruciating eight weeks of your entire life. By then the innocent questions had turned more into, “Oh my gosh! You’re about to pop any minute, aren’t you?!”
You might think this is just a joke and you may even assume that I know it’s a joke, but to a pregnant woman it only serves as a reminder that, “No, I am not about to popanyminuteIstillhaveEIGHTWEEKSLEFT!!!!” <enter calming breaths here> You should never say this to a pregnant woman. Never. Especially one that you’ve just met and only spoken to for a total of ten minutes. It’s weird and awkward. And it only makes us feel as if the right thing to do would be to give birth right there in the lobby to satisfy your observation.
“You look like you’ve dropped!”
First of all, how would you know that? Have we met before, because I could’ve sworn that you just walked in two minutes ago and told me that you had four in your party. Is it just the shock of seeing me walk from behind the podium and realizing that my stomach is swollen and slightly sagging?
What do I even say to that? I can’t even see my feet anymore, let alone being able to see if I’ve “dropped”.
I know the saying goes that, “the customer is always right,” but in this case–unless you have a medical degree and share this with me ahead of time–I don’t care to hear your diagnosis because for all I know you’re totally wrong. And now you’ve just gotten my hopes up that I might not have to be pregnant much longer.
Thanks for that. And yes, I’ll get you a bag for your carry-out containers.
“Are you getting an epidural?”
As a matter of fact, no I’m not. I have read extensively on the subject and, while this is my first baby and I have no idea what labor will feel like, I believe that since women have in the past given birth without pain management, I can at least give it my best shot. I also don’t like the idea of laboring on my back the entire time without any feeling whatsoever in my lower extremities. I feel that it wouldn’t allow me to be able to actively participate as much during the birthing process. Plus, I’ve never had a catheter and while not having to hoist myself off of a bed just to use the bathroom would be nice, I’m uncomfortable with having a tube stuffed into my urinary track.
Anyway, this is our fresh fish of the day and your server will be right over to get your drink orders. Enjoy your meal!
Honestly, what do you expect? You asked a gross and personal question. Therefore I gave you a gross and very personal answer.
“Are you going to breastfeed?”
Believe it or not, I was in fact asked this question quite a few times. And not during meaningful conversation either. To this, I always replied with a simple, “Yes, I am planning to breastfeed.”
I don’t understand what would compel a person to ask a complete stranger about this. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a personal decision and not a topic that should be inquired in the middle of a restaurant during rush hour when there’s a wait in the lobby that’s an hour and a half long.
While I appreciate you taking interest in how I choose to feed my child. Really, I do. But unless I ask for advice on the matter (and I only would if shared whether or not you breastfed your own children), I would rather not answer this insanely personal and intimate question.
“How long do you plan on working?”
Typically this was asked in a judgmental tone of voice. Unfortunately, not all of us have a desk job where we can sit if we get tired. I was one of those people whose job required me being on my fight during my shift. I truly appreciate your concern for my feet as they are absolutely swollen and often throb when I finally get to sit down, but I’m fine. I chose to continue working not just because I need to save for my inevitable maternity leave, but also because I genuinely enjoy my job. My bosses treat me very well and show consideration for my condition. They are even willing to schedule me so that I never have to work a shift longer than five or six hours. Besides, I think being on my feet is good for me. Keeps me active.
Ironically I did end up being a stay-at-home mom, though initially I had every intention of going back to work after my maternity leave. However, I applaud the many hard-working moms who support their families by working in the service industry. So much so that I would never ask or say anything that could potentially violate or hurt the feelings of a pregnant restaurant worker. Guys, please be aware of the things you say. Even a harmless joke could be taken the wrong way. Pregnant ladies are cuckoo. Take it from me, I was one of them.