The condition of pregnancy invites input from strangers unlike most other physical conditions.
I was dropping off my oldest at a vacation Bible school last week, at a friend’s church, when a lovely Asian woman approached me. She asked me a question about the service times and I explained I didn’t actually attend the church. She started to walk past me but when she caught sight of my gut, she stopped in her tracks. ‘God bless you,’ she said and grabbed my hand. Seconds later she announced with tremendous self-assurance: ‘I think you are going to have a boy.’
I smiled and told her ‘yes, I am going to have a boy.’ Unsure if she’d understood me correctly, she clarified: ‘the doctor has told you this?’ And I assured her that it was, in fact, confirmed by those in the medical world that my next child would be a boy. She looked at the Hen and said: ‘your second boy?’
‘No, third boy,’ I informed her, ‘God bless me,’ I added, chuckling to show I was kidding (sort of). Because that’s just the witty kind of individual I am.
I’d had a similar run-in at Starbucks of all places around the 23rd week of pregnancy. I was paying for my Caramel Macchiato when the two women standing in line behind me engaged me in conversation. ‘Are you expecting,’ they asked politely, careful not to commit the worst faux pas of humankind: asking a non-pregnant woman if she’s pregnant. ‘Yes,’ I assured them. ‘We think you’re about 23 weeks along, are we right?’ At which point I was quite relieved, because if they’d guessed 30 weeks, I would have been crushed.
They weren’t done with their prognosticating, either. ‘We think you’re having a boy,’ they confided. As if they had some sort of insider information.
Since they were on such a psychic roll, I decided to press the issue. ‘The baby’s due in August,’ I shared, ‘any thoughts on when he might actually make an appearance?’ They thought for a second. ‘I’m kind of feeling the 14th,’ the one woman decided.
It was one of the better stranger-pregnancy conversations I’d had. Usually my pregnancy-related conversations go something like this: ‘due any day now, huh?’ or, my personal favorite, ‘when’s your due date again – end of July?’ ‘Um, no, I probably have about 4 weeks to go,’ I inevitably reply.
Knowing full well it will be closer to six.