The following is an excerpt from a letter, written to me by my bff Jaime, who, for the past nine months, has been carrying a human child in her womb:
I’ve been accepted for the Fulbright, as an alternate candidate, as you know. I’ve been actively pursing study-abroad options. Very actively. Student-teaching abroad, Fulbright, other programs, etc – because I think that’s what I want.
Yet now I’m having a baby. Perhaps tomorrow.
And I had this meeting with the head of student foreign affairs, and she definitely made me feel like there were doors being shut in my face. And I was not so fly with that. At one point during the conversation, I cut her off and made the statement: “I recognize this will be hard. But I believe it’s possible.” It’s like people think I’m an idiot. Like I don’t know having a baby and going abroad would be hard? I’m asking for your help, not your advice.
And then I had a meeting with the head of the international languages department just regarding credit transfer and potentially tutoring German in the lab for Fall semester. The first thing he said was, “I didn’t know you were expecting” and not exactly in a friendly manner. Of course I’m required to answer these indirect/very direct inquiries regarding my HEALTHCARE (would he say, “I didn’t know you had thyroid problem, you obese son of a bitch) and so I respond VERY friendly and kind about the whole matter, to which he acts a bit self-righteous and condescending due to my current condition. No congratulations. Of course, there’s always a “good luck” at the end of these conversations, but people might as well be slapping me in the face and saying, “I hope you don’t die because childbirth can be pretty crazy!”
It’s so errmmm struggling to find the right word – (upsetting, wrong, piercing, hurtful, incensing) – how judgmental and full of conviction people are. FULL OF CONVICTION. Like I am FULL OF CHILD.
I suppose I’m a bit full of both.
But either way, does anyone say this to Justin when he walks into a room? Does anyone offer him advice on the way he ought to pursue his goals and dreams and aspirations? Does anyone say to him, “I didn’t know you were expecting?” when he swings by to talk about potential job opportunities or business ideas?
Do people quiz him about pregnancy? Do they doubt his capabilities, state of mind, or position in life?
It is so STRANGE to be pregnant and young. And I suppose any person who does not fit our social norm feels like this, whether you are Black, handicapped, poor – constantly, it is so easy to judge without recognition that you’re being a complete and total prick.
I mean, shit. This is my healthcare. And because it sticks out a foot from my body, everyone finds they have the right (or something) to offer some offhanded assed remark.
Sometimes I feel that I should have been angry earlier.
Part of me just wants to prove all these people wrong, and then part of me questions whether I really want these things at all – do I just want them so badly because people act and/or tell me that I cannot have them? How am I to know? Will I really want to go abroad after experiencing the utter life changes a sweet little babe will bring about? All my desires and wants and aspirations, I imagine, will change. Yet will I still pursue old ones blindly because of pride and ambition? I do not know. But I am angry with people for putting these ideas and thoughts and advice and judgments onto/into/around my life.
I suppose people always do this.
But I have felt it so much more strongly since being pregnant.
This post brought to you by Jaime via Tara, who is anxiously awaiting that “my water broke” phone call.