Geriatric Pregnancy WTF?
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me.
Most of us remember that classic rhyme from childhood. Well, even as a kid, I knew that was some BS. We recited those lines so other people would think their words had no affect on us, but most of the time the opposite was true.
And it still is. Case in point—being a 39-year-old pregnant woman, otherwise known as #mycurrentsituation.
I’m expecting my third child in weeks, and this pregnancy has been different in many ways. Perhaps, what has made it most memorable though are other people’s comments.
Since finding out my husband and I would be adding a third child to our brood, I’ve realized that a lot folks in the world are habitual line steppers.
They say what they want, when they want, no matter how inappropriate, without a second thought.
A few months ago, for example, I went in for my five-month prenatal check up. I mentioned to my OBGYN that my baby feels very heavy and low in my belly, and that I didn’t remember this type of discomfort with my other two pregnancies. So I asked her whether I should be concerned. A smile spread across her face and she cocked her head to one side.
“Well, Calida, this is your third baby, so you are more stretched out and loose down there,” she said with a chuckle.
But I wasn’t chuckling.
Instead, I gave her a blank stare.
She cleared her throat and, in her most professional voice, said. “I would recommend purchasing a pregnancy belt to help with the discomfort.“
“Thanks for the tip,” I replied deadpan while giving her the side eye.
As the weeks followed and my baby grew from the size of a cantaloupe to a watermelon, strangers in stores, on the street, and waiting in line would try to make small talk about my pregnancy. But the conversation inevitably became as redundant as a scene from Groundhog Day.
With the most endearing smile, strangers ask, ” Is this your first baby?”
“No,” I reply with a cautious smile, anticipating the inappropriateness to follow. “It’s my third.”
“ Oh,” they say, looking for something to celebrate.
“Do you have a boy and a girl?,”
“I have two girls.”
” Well, this one is going to be your boy! You husband must be so excited”
“No, it’s a girl.” I fire back.
“Oh,” they reply, disappointed that my reproductive excess hadn’t produced any XY chromosomes.
And then awkward silence.
Wash, Rinse. Repeat.
One time a friend asked if I were I trying to build my own WNBA team. Then there was the time I went to a 40th birthday party in a dress that showed off my growing figure.
“I can’t believe you are going to have another one,” said one friend, shaking his head and laughing.
“I wouldn’t even want three cats and you’re having three children,” said another female friend.
“You must really like being a mother,” added another.
I have just the thing for such encounters. My recently adopted survival technique. It’s crude but effective: fake smile, forced laugh, calling them all bitches in my mind.
And it’s not just my friends. My family is among the worst offenders.
When I was visiting relatives on a recent trip back to Delaware, one family member told me I looked like a cow. Another kept telling me how huge I was whenever I walked into a room. One uncle snickered in my face about being “40 and pregnant.” And I even had one cousin tell me that in 10 years I’m going to be the “not young” mom picking up her kid from school.
You get the point. The third time has not been a charm.
I was telling one of my close friends about these experiences, and she hit me with the whopper.
“Another one of my friends is having a geriatric pregnancy, too, Calida,” she said.
“A geriatric pregnancy? What’s that?” I asked.
“That’s the term for women who are over 35 and pregnant.”
I had to look it up for myself. And guess what? It’s all over the Internet.
Thank God my doctor hasn’t referred to my pregnancy in that way. The concept of being labeled “geriatric” at 39 is absurd even if, at almost nine months pregnant, I’m stiff, grumpy, and pee on myself a little if I laugh or cough too hard.
But all the inappropriate hating aside, I’ve been getting much love from most of my friends and family. My husband kisses my belly and tells me how beautiful I am every day. I’ve had three baby showers (unheard of for a third child), received an abundance of gifts, and had friends pick up my kids for play dates so I don’t have to drive.
Plus, I’ve been saving some sticks and stones of my own to throw if my hormones get the best of me.