Remember in the spring when everyone was glued to their computer screens watching a live feed of April the Giraffe and waiting for her to give birth? Now I know what that feels like. Having significantly increased in size and with less than two weeks until my due date, baby watch is in full effect. I feel expectant eyes watching me closely, especially when people hear that I am at 38 weeks.
I hope to not go too much over my due date, otherwise I may also sense the scorn and disbelief that people expressed to poor April. “Are you really pregnant?”
I can promise you, I am really and truly pregnant, and the kicks and jabs I feel from inside are evidence of that.
Lesson Learned: Don’t stare at pregnant ladies. We don’t like it.
There are many cultures around the world that do not treat women very well, but in Central Asia, pregnant women are treated like queens. We are given prime seating, cuts in line, special drinks at coffee shops (decaf), and generally given priority. On one hand, I feel guilty for accepting special privileges, especially when it is a 80 year old man offering you his seat on the bus, but on the other hand, by accepting their kind offers, I am allowing them to serve, give and show kindness- something that many of us look for opportunities to do. So I often take seats offered to me on the bus and the opportunity to go around metal detectors or the short cut in line not to elevate myself but to show gratitude to the giver.
I am grateful that Central Asia peoples value mothers and families. It gives me hope that in the days to come when I am worn out from carrying my baby on the outside, I will still be offered a seat on the bus and a short cut in line.
Lesson Learned: Before I was often stared at because I was a white woman surrounded by brown, but now it is because I look like I stuffed a melon under my shirt.