When I look at myself sideways in the mirror, I look pregnant. My stomach extends well beyond my chest, Sea accidentally elbows me on a daily basis, I’ve twice been offered seats on the bus. Still, more often than not, people don’t expect to see me pregnant– and so they don’t.
Take, for instance, a conversation with an acquaintance earlier this morning. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months, since before announcing Bingo’s impending arrival. After congratulating me and asking about parental leave, she asked: “So, how are you doing it?” “Sorry?” I responded, confused. Doing what, I wondered? Taking time off from work? It had been the last thing we had been talking about… “How are you doing it? Having a baby? Are you adopting?” “No,” I replied: “I’m 7 months pregnant.” This conversation, resulting in said flustered acquaintance offering repeated awkward congratulations before making a hasty exit, is one that has been repeated several times over the past months. Hearing that we’re going to become parents, the acquaintance or stranger will look from me, to Sea, back again, only to ask if we’re using a surrogate, adopting, etc.
Then there’s the woman who cuts my hair. She’s been cutting my hair for years now, complaining bitterly about her husband and son, doting over her poodle, and always asking about “my girl”. A couple of months ago, I told her that Sea and I were having a baby. She immediately assumed that Sea was the one who was pregnant, asking how Sea was feeling, if her mother was going to come for the birth, and so on. I was too awkward to contradict this assumption, so instead gave half answers: Sea was feeling fine, her mother would not be coming for the birth.
Since then, Sea and I have both been avoiding getting our hair cut. Sea’s hair is considerably longer than mine, so avoidance is a strategy that could feasibly work until after November. My shortly cropped hair, however, quickly goes from schoolboy to shaggy dog. Today, when the acquaintance asking about adoption made her hasty exit, I realized it was time. I crossed the street to the hair salon, and resigned myself to an awkward conversation as the woman cutting my hair realized that I was the one pregnant. Except it didn’t happen.
She sat me down, tucked a towel around my neck, and immediately asked how “my pregnant girl” was feeling. Having been too awkward to contradict her two months ago, I certainly wasn’t going to do it now:
“Oh, she’s fine… We’re both feeling fine.”
“And she’s not feeling sick?”
“No, no, she’s not feeling sick.”
“And when will she labor?”
“The baby is due in November.”
I continued to deflect her questions, desperately trying to move on to other topics of conversation, Bingo kicking as the razor buzzed against my neck. As I waited for the appointment to end, I wondered how hard it would be to cut my own hair and just how bad it would be if I don’t get another haircut until December.