Just about one too many

There are two schools of thought, at work, about How To Deal With A Pregnant Colleague. My school, which comprises thank fuck most of my office room, says you hold doors open for her and help her carry things with more enthusiasm than usual, and otherwise, if she doesn’t mention it, you don’t, and that is that. The other school, comprising a large chunk of the other office room, thinks you should not only speculate wildly and at length about the poor innocent woman’s belly-contents, but you should try to make everyone who passes through the room join in, and you should also tell anyone in ear-shot all about every other pregnancy you ever did hear about, whether anyone else knows the people involved or not. I am not, I think, according to Emily Post, allowed to shout ‘shut the fuck up,’ which is a shame, but manners are manners, and I have some even if others do not.

And then H had a work ‘do’, as we call them in the UK, and took me along as his +1. H was rather involved with the event, so sweetly introduced me to a handful of people before he beetled off to Organize Things and Corral People and, frankly, Show Off.

The first person he introduced me to was the husband of H’s pregnant colleague. Which was fine, I knew she was pregnant, H had told me a while back. However, several other people did not know, so I stood by this very nice man, smiling, as he told about six people in a row that yes, that’s right, there was a baby on the way, wasn’t that amazing and cool, yes indeedy.

To be honest, I didn’t really think much about or of this. It seemed all very fair enough and understandable and I am not really at the utterly skinless Allergic-to-the-P-Word stage any more. I have callouses on my P-Word receptors. However…

The next group of people H introduced me to, all ladies, began by discussing H’s above-mentioned colleague’s pregnancy. OK. And then the pregnancy of someone I’d never heard of. And the pregnancy of another person I’ve never heard of who looks just like someone else I’ve never heard of, who was also pregnant. And did I know that yet another complete stranger to me had had a baby? And so had someone else. Had anyone heard how total unknown was? Was she expecting yet? As they moved on to ideal presents for people going on maternity leave, I sidled away.

Later on in the evening, during a break in the music, two men stood directly behind me and talked about how the recent spate of redundancies was probably why all the ladies in the building were going ‘fuck it’ and getting pregnant. I did laugh – ‘fuck it’ indeed – but still.

And then someone I’d actually met before leaned over and asked me if I knew that H’s colleague was pregnant. Given that H’s colleague was on stage at that very moment looking like she’d put a party balloon down her smock, I said ‘no, is she?’ in tones of amazement. Forgive me.

When H had finished showing off, I went straight home and ate a mini-cheesecake. It didn’t help. I still feel completely hollow.


12 responses to “Just about one too many

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    You know that tic that Mr Mackay in Porridge had? I think I am starting to develop one that looks hellish similar. Pregnancy *twitch* Baby *rictus* Gravid *tic*.

    Fuck it, indeed. Doesn’t seem to do all the trick, though.

    • Laurel

      Shoot, your recounting of the conversation is giving me a twitch and I’ve had it very easy in the reproductive arena. It’s a two-parter, albeit with the first part much bigger; besides the constant needling of your rawest spot, it’s also deeply obnoxious that people talk about others in that way.

      It seems utterly unfair that you can’t soothe it all with drink, because this is a situation that really really calls for it.

      (Still, in the teeny-tiny-silver-lining realm, I will send my congratulations to H for whatever achievement led to the showing off.)

  • Betty M

    After that evening frankly a maxi cheesecake wouldn’t be enough. You are a splendid person for getting through it for H without exploding at one of the endless pregnancy bores. Fuck it indeed.

  • kylie

    A super size mars bar cheescake with caramel on top is needed for an evening like that!

  • a

    Emily Post is short-sighted and clearly never worked in an office with a bunch of women.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    item: emily post is a pussy.

    item: your “is she?” rules and has brought me a smile on a tiresome day.

  • Korechronicles

    I admire your manners. And your remarkable sangfroid. But I covet the cheesecake regardless.

  • twangy

    A single mini-cheesecake shows great forbearance, I think.

    About the other thing: please tell me someone got back to you? OH, PLEASE.

    (Thanks for your comment today. It was a balm.)

  • Shannon

    It hit me yesterday as well – a colleague who was previously the size of a twiglet, has started to look like she enjoys an all you can eat bread buffet. I was talking to her and she smiled, patted her stomach, and announced her 12 week pregnancy. I congratulated her and she said “It just happened. We took the brakes off and immediately I get pregnant! I don’t know what people go on about, not being able to get pregnant.” I smiled tightly, limited it to congratulating her again, walked off, and heard the sound of 1.5million bloggers writing up furious responses to her entire comment.

    People with infertility or who have been/are going through treatment sadly don’t come with a light above our heads that says “Please don’t talk to me about your babies/their babies/my lack of babies.”

    I sometimes wish we did, although imagine the electricity bill.

  • katie

    “I don’t know what people go on about”? Hope you slapped her, Shannon.

  • Illanare

    As ever, May, your dignity and calm are awe-inspiring. “Is she?” – perfect!

  • manapan

    You should so totally write the Miss Manners Guide to Being Polite about Infertility Matters. It’d be a great, sorely-needed read.

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