I am on a trip for a conference in Denver. I was super excited to go, and a little nervous being 7 months pregnant. But, after the okay from the doctor, here I am. And although I am this far along, I am constantly surprised (and not in a good way) about how I have been treated during this trip.
Throughout, from start to finish, I have not been given a whole heck of a lot. Yes, my roommate was able to get us into a room quicker and for the duration of our trip even though we were late to book because I am pregnant. That was a plus. But other than that and one hotel person asking me if I needed a chair while standing around eating my food last night (due to there being maybe 6 tables for 200 people), I haven’t gotten much.
Believe me, I am not one to have attention drawn to me. I don’t need the “congrats!” and “when is the baby due?” and even “how are you feeling?” because I feel like my responses become super cookie cutter and even I am disgusted with how they sound coming out of my mouth. I make jokes about how the baby is hungry or the baby needs certain things (which helps when I want to sneak some chocolate before dinner and can’t figure out how to reason it to my other two littles), but besides that, I am pretty happy just doing what I am doing. But this trip has really opened my eyes to a lot.
Going through TSA at the airport, no one cared I was pregnant. I wasn’t able to do pre-check (ok, fine) but the icing on the cake was I finally got to the head of the line, shoes off, everything on the belt and a woman who could definitely walk (but was in a wheelchair) cut me, with all of her bags and everything else. Yes, elderly, I get that, but come on. I’m pregnant for christsakes. On the plane, no one offered to help me with my bags in the overhead bins, on or off the plane, even though I was surrounded by what seemed like gentlemen and nice women. On the tram from the terminal to the main airport, it took one nice woman with a young child to notice I was pregnant and standing to offer a seat next to her. I thanked her kindly, but honestly I was ready to stretch my legs and my swollen feet after my flight. For my conference workshops, I have been lucky enough to get in early so that I can easily sit in a comfy chair (as some have been so packed people have to stand or sit on the floor) but that has been all of my doing. At the exhibitor sessions, they had free food. Score one for the pregnant lady who was starving UNTIL a woman completely cut me without even looking back. Are you kidding me? At the evening event which included food, I was forced to stand because there wasn’t one chair to be had (due to the amount of tables put out). I couldn’t even stand at a table, so I had to balance my plate and eat standing up. One hotel worker asked if I needed a chair, but that has been it.
Are we that jaded that we can’t be nice to each other about the simple things? I am shocked and disgusted by how we treat our pregnant ladies, and expect them to be able to do everything that everyone else can do. Yes, I can take care of myself, but believe me, I get tired, too. I need to sit. I need to stretch out. I need to eat, too, and I wait my time just like everyone else. Even just holding a door or offering to do something for me goes so far. Just recognizing that a pregnant person might need something a little extra than other people is enough for us to feel better, feel less invisible, feel more worthwhile for what we are about to do. We are carrying a human inside of us for 10 months, feeling like shit for about 1/2 of that, changing our bodies completely, and whittling our wardrobe down to nothing because only a shower curtain fits after a certain time. We have to give up caffeine, alcohol (ugh), and sleep, amongst so many other things. I am not saying we should be pitied, raised on a pedestal, or worshiped. But can people just realize what we are doing and how difficult it can be to do so? A simple offer to get me a chair or help me lift something heavy is huge. Even letting me go pee before you in the bathroom line means I will be less likely to piss my pants. Have a heart, society. And don’t forget; we pregnant ladies are on a hormone rollercoaster, so you never know how we’ll react to your lack of empathy.