Thursday, March 17, 2011

PregnancyWatch

An unexpected benefit of being a master's student is that it has exempted me from being on PregnancyWatch. I'm not talking about my own personal family planning decisions, lovingly and prayerfully made within the confines of my marriage, with the blessing of God.

I mean that thing where young wives get together to chat good-naturedly behind each others' backs and speculate endlessly about who is, or who will soon be, pregnant.



An individual can be entered on PregnancyWatch on the basis of meeting one or more of the following criteria:

1. Her youngest child has reached the age of 12 months (women with three or more existing children are allotted 24 months or more) (but not much more). If desired, spacing of previous children can be taken into account.
2. She mentions off-hand that she isn't feeling well.
3. She mentions off-hand that she is tired.
4. She is seen snacking at church.
5. She hasn't been pregnant for a while but it can reasonably be attributed to her or her husband being in grad school AND said grad school will be finished within the academic year.
6. Her stomachal area has expanded in a suspicious manner.
7. If she has no existing children, she can enter PregnancyWatch after 12 months of marriage.

As you can see, before I started grad school, I was on PregnancyWatch for any number of reasons. And I hated it. I felt like I always had to suck in my tummy at church and social functions so that nobody's radar tripped on item #6. I had to watch what kind of shirts and dresses I wore because if any of them had anything even approaching an empire waist, it was like wearing a giant placard that had PREGNANT written all over it. I once made the (total rookie) mistake of snacking at church and it was like I could see the rumors forming in real time.

In reality, I was just hungry. Three hours is a long time to be at church, ok?

What gets me is that I was once so naive as to be entirely unaware of PregnancyWatch, even when I was on it after Miriam turned one year old, then two years old, then 2.5 years old. At that point, I honestly thought no one suspected that I was 15 weeks (or whatever) along with Magdalena and that I was so sneaky for concealing it until then. In reality, they probably all suspected, and were just waiting for me to crack. Sigh.

Being a grad student earns me special exemption status and it is glorious. I guess I can stop sucking in my pooch-of-stretched-out-skin-that-doesn't-seem-to-go-anywhere-after-birthing-two-children now.

Ahhhh, that feels good.

20 comments:

Bridget said...

And because I just know it will come up, no, I really am not pregnant. Really.

Amanda said...

This post really did make me laugh out loud. I've never really participated in PregnancyWatch, but I'm all too familiar with it's far-reaching arms. Snacking during Fast Sunday is a dead give away. Also, snacking on soda crackers in particular. That's how the alarm was tripped with Lillian: soda crackers on Fast Sunday during Sunday School. I didn't even have to make a formal announcement as my behavior WAS the announcement.

Liz Johnson said...

HAHAHAHAHA. I love this post. And I am so guilty of this, too. And a less-common form of this - are they really done having kids?? I have had several people ask me, aghast, if I am serious about being done having kids. When I mentioned off-hand that I had sold some kids' clothes to a used clothing store, a friend was shocked - "you mean you might actually be DONE DONE???" And I have mentioned looking at grad schools and have gotten the same reaction. Ah, being in everybody's business. It's done mostly out of love, right?

Bridget said...

Yeah, I really don't think it's done maliciously. I just think it's funny that we think about it so much on behalf of others.

Cait said...

I'll be the victim of pregnancy watch for a while longer... as I'm nowhere near to the point of having another kid.

Tim said...

That's exactly what somebody who should be on pregnancy watch would say, Cait. I've had you on my watch for months.

Jessie said...

Try being married six childless years :) I know it's not done maliciously, but really people? None of your business.

I've considered responding to the "When are you going to have kids?" question with, "Well, we've been trying for six years and it doesn't seem to be working" - (even though that's absolutely not true) just to see their reaction (and teach them a lesson about prying). Mean!

Bridget said...

Jessie, you're right - sometimes it IS malicious. Or cluelessly cruel, to give the offenders the benefit of the doubt.

At least the UAE is tamer than other Arab countries. In Syria, we had been married for 3.5 years, no kids, and people (taxi drivers, landladies, strangers off the street) seriously asked us why we had chosen to be barren for the rest of our lives and was there was a specific reason we hated children?

(Only slightly exaggerating, and AMEN, it is none of your business.)

Glenda The Good said...

I snack at church on purpose and look people in the eye the whole time ;)

The Ensign's said...

I guess it doesn't really bother me that people are wondering if/when I'll be pregnant again. My stomachs not as flat as it once was, but I'm more self conscious that it looks fat than pregnant. However, maybe that's just because I've had 3 kids and my youngest isn't yet 24 months. Or maybe it's because they know my youngest.

The Ensign's said...

Oh and BTW- I ALWAYS snack on Sunday. Three hours is a long time.

Lisa Lou said...

I had no idea this happened. The things you aren't warned about in a single's ward... But being married for 3 months now and almost 30, I guess I'm even more now on pregnancy watch. And a year away from finishing my grad program.

Matthew said...

Where do I click to give this post 5 stars? =)

Layla said...

I've been on PregnancyWatch for the last 6 years.

AND someone had the audacity to ask me if I was pregnant b/c everyone else in the ward was pregnant. What the?

Kelli said...

I love this post Bridget! So funny. And just while we're on the topic of religious snacking... in the last 2 wards I've been in there have been incidences of (not necessarily pregnant) snacking on hot dogs and corn dogs during church. Is this a new trend? Whatever happened to the inconspicous slip of a granola bar or fruit snack?
Anyway - fun post.

Lark said...

Well said. I feel like I'm on it right now because my youngest is three. Everytime I have gotten the flu this season I have had to clarify that it was indeed the flu passed on to me by my child. Makes me so paranoid.

Bridget said...

Kelli, corndogs?? That is so funny.

Mikael said...

This is awesome! Love it! The twins have totally kicked me out of pregnancywatch. People actually look at me now and say "oh, she is so DONE!" I love it!!!

Eevi said...

awesome post. I never entered the pregnancy watch after Saku since Eerika was little bit of a surprise. But i am a guilty participant of wondering about other people, but I would never ask someone about it unless they were a good friend.

Anonymous said...

(Elisa here). Hahahaha. Love the post! I remember being newly (like 3 days) married and mentioning off-handedly that I was tired. Immediately all these ladies "KNEW" why I was tired. They checked on me all the time. Denying did nothing. I felt very victorious when nine months later . . . absolutely nothing happened.

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