Altogether now… NEVER!
Everyone has a story about asking someone if they’re expecting when they are not or possibly worse… being asked if you yourself are.
Back in 2008, my firstborn was five weeks old and one of my friends asked me to a christening.
I’d just been to the 5th portal of hell with cracked nipples, a leaky pelvic floor and a baby that refused to sleep or stop crying unless clamped to my miserable, engorged boob.
My sister offered to take my little parasite for two days and I naively thought that this was the beginning of Aisling getting her groove back (I’m still waiting).
I went shopping and realised I knew nothing of fashion as I’d spent the last nine months in maternity leggings and long tops.
I chose flared jeans and a free flowing floral top; it was as if the horrific experience of childbirth had made me regress to my UCD days, I was only missing the stinking second-hand (I can’t glorify it with the word vintage) sheepskin jacket of my Neil Young loving youth.
My sister came to collect Conall and I howled as we parted like an eejit; I managed to shave my legs, put on makeup and blow dry my hair through the snots and tears.
I pulled the tags off my new outfit and admired myself in the mirror, although I had been living in disposable pants, a giant maternity bra (both stuffed with pads), barely concealed with a long, granny nightie so I suppose anything would have looked good.
Back at the house after the church I was in the queue for the buffet.. someone had got me bumped up by shouting ‘make way for the nursing mammy’.. I love my food so I wasn’t complaining.
As I loaded my plate, a woman rubbed my belly and asked when I was due. I was shocked… sure wasn’t I looking gorgeous and svelte? I mumbled about already having the baby and she made a quick escape.
I spent the rest of the evening feeling miserable as my boobs were on the point of explosion and wished for a quick escape.
I work in a pharmacy and normally on the baby section where I’m known for my unfiltered advice on nipples and fannies that are in flitters.
I am really reticent to ask if a lady is pregnant, even if her arms are full of hospital supplies and she is as wide width as length ways.
The absolute fear of a reply such as ‘I’m shopping for my sister you bitch’ keeps me mute until her waters splash on the floor or she reels from a kick.
A colleague of mine who works on the makeup counter was bending down to get something out of a drawer for a customer a few weeks back when the customer tutted and said ‘you shouldn’t be doing that in your condition’.
My friend, let’s call her Caroline, rubbed her belly and said ‘I know’ even though the only baby she was carrying was a chicken fillet roll, a pack of Tayto and a Lucozade.
She told me that she would have gone as far as the Rotunda and faked a birth if it had been called for so as not to embarrass the woman or herself.
I was out for a work meal last week and I uncharacteristically decided to not drink and drive.
This was only because I’d had a really heavy night the night before and I was dying with a hangover.
The girls were all wild as usual and I felt very sedate as I sipped coffee and smugly judged their shenanigans. I ate (onion) rings around me and my belly was so swollen, it made my dress appear to be a maternity one.
As I rubbed my gurgling tummy, I saw the waiter smile sympathetically at me and I thought ‘that’s it.. Monday I’m starting back in Slimming World and I’m never not drinking again.’
I have a few other examples, like the time a friend’s sister was asked at her mother’s funeral if she was expecting again (she wasn’t) and another when my friend Rita congratulated a singer in her local pub who had regrettably chosen a loose top to wear. Rita can’t get her Abba requests sung to this day.
And yes, the image above is of me five weeks post birth, feeling slim and attractive. Who would have asked me if I was pregnant, hands up?