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.