Surprise, I gained weight after I had children. I also enjoy beer and tacos, along with a rockin’ carne asada. Sometimes on Tuesdays. But particularly on Thursdays.
While I did squirrel away my pants from college to the top of my closet — since I got a darn good price on my Hot Topic faux leather pants — I know it’s likely I’ll never wear them again. But it’s a nice reminder; my lands, was I skinny then.
I’m intimately aware of my weight gain, but what’s interesting have been the external reminders that I get by a repeated simple question. In the last few years, I’ve received it from men and I’ve received it from women.
It’s a question that has been really baffling in a culture that strays away from true intimacy in our conversations. It’s a question asked in different ways, either with a positive upbeat tone, or a genuine and yet awkward attempt at small talk.
It’s variations of this:
“Oh! Are you expecting again?”
And, I’m not.
I won’t lie, the first few times this happened I came home and sulked. I ate more tacos and drank more beer. I debated the pants in my closet.
I’d rethink the moment itself where I usually stumbled with a response along the lines of “I, uh, what? No.” I thought how I desperately tried to switch the topic or force a smile.
“Are you having another baby?”
No, I’m not.
Are you in the camp that think asking this is OK? Alright, come over and sit with me for a minute. Let me I’ll tell you the thing that your Mama didn’t tell you:
This is NEVER an OK question for a woman. Nope, really, it’s not ever OK. Particularly for women you don’t know well.
I hear you: But babies are a wonderful miracle of … No. But it’s just an observation of … No. But sometimes it’s so obvious that … No.
I hear this too: Small talk is hard. More, building a connection is hard. You grasp at straws and, boy, doesn’t everyone love babies?
However, while with age comes a shot at wisdom, for me it came with something else. It’s a slow creep of that truer sense of self. As Ron Swanson would say, “I know what I’m about.”
I decided change my strategy. Let’s make an actual connection.
I found out how to do it at the end of a very long day a few months ago. I was gathering my things after an evening meeting when an older lady asked me brightly, “So, expecting another baby, eh?”
I inhaled, smiled wide and replied, “Nope! Just like tacos.”
Cassie McClure is a writer, wife/Mama/daughter, fan of the Oxford comma, and drinker of tequila. Some of those things relate. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.