I’m at the point in my second pregnancy when it’s difficult for me to fall asleep because I’m so encumbered by my belly bulk. And it was as I was desperately attempting to achieve some sort of comfortable physical position last night that I had the following epiphany: pregnant women are like old people.
And though I’ve never been old, I’ve heard and witnessed enough of the elderly to know that we really do have a lot in common besides for troubled snoozing.
Frequent Bathroom Trips
During the day, in the middle of the night – pregnant women and the elderly need to know the quickest route to the bathroom. This includes when we’re at the shuk, in the mall, or sleeping over at someone else’s house for Shabbat. The bathroom in any environment is probably the most important landmark, and needs to be available at all times. If the women’s stall is occupied in a restaurant, we will not hesitate to knock on the male stall and avail ourselves of it if it is free.
The older you get, the slower you get. I’m not talking about those feisty exceptions, God bless ‘em, I’m talking about a general rule. Age takes its toll.
And so does belly bulk. The more pregnant you get, the slower you get. Whereas during the first six months of my pregnancy, I was still power-walking to work, a mere two months later I am waddling my way around the kitchen and holding my back as I straighten up from picking something up off the floor. My outings now consist of going to the shuk everyday (five pm and later, because I can’t stand the heat). The shuk is literally two minutes from my apartment. But if you walk like I do, slow and with a stroller, and adhere to crossing only in the pedestrian crosswalks, which I do, because of said stroller, it’s about a five minute walk. Then I walk about for as long as I can until even the ebbing evening heat does me in, and I return home.
People Stand Up For You on the Bus
In the early stages of my first pregnancy, it took me a while to get used to the idea of people offering me their seats on the bus. But as I progressed to the eighth and ninth month, I had no problem taking their seats; in fact, I expected them to be offered. Second pregnancy – my reluctance to take people’s seats faded as soon as I started to show. And though it does feel strange to be sitting in the front of the bus with all the older people, in my heart I know that I’m in the right place.
Loss of Inhibition
They said that when people get older, they lose their inhibitions and say things that they wouldn’t have said when they were younger. They tell it like it is, because life is too short to be spent beating around the bush.
Likewise, as the pregnancy wears on, your patience wears thin. When someone attempts to get ahead of me at the fruit stand in the shuk, I dramatically turn my protruding belly towards them and loudly say, “Excuse me!” If someone puts their hands on my belly without asking, I look down at their hands, then up at the person’s face, and incredulously say, “Excuse me!”
And just like most people cut older people some slack, same for pregnant women.
Okay, okay, okay. Pregnant women are not exactly the same as older people. Here are a few differences I can think of:
Hot and Cold
Pregnant women are HOT, and older people tend towards the cold side, which is why they love Florida and sweaters and central heating. I, on the other hand, would be most comfortable living in an igloo.
As far as I’ve experienced, no one comments to an older person, “My, you’re looking especially withered today” or, “You’re hair has gotten whiter since the last time I’ve seen you!”
On the other hand, when it comes to pregnant women, people feel this inexplicable need to comment on their appearance. “Wow, you’re really getting there!” or “You get bigger every time I see you!”
If I could control the world, I’d choose to have people treat pregnant women like older people in this regard.