I’m average height by WNBA standards. When a pregnant belly was added to that frame, well let’s just say during both of my pregnancies I had “presence.” Mostly because I stress ate my way through all of the brownies and buffalo chicken in North America for 40 weeks and my only form of exercise was my many daily fork lifts.
You know what went awesome with being a pregnant woman who took up tremendous real estate? Public transportation. I could write a long winded whine list about the times I wasn’t offered a seat on the train, but those stories aren’t that funny. (But totally real, give up your seat 21 year old kid playing Candy Crush. I see you.) Or talk about the number of fellow commuters who asked if I was sure I wasn’t having twins. (Come on, people. Pull it together.)
Instead, I’ll share about the time I took matters into my own hands to secure a full row of luxurious commuter rail seating to myself. No awkward thigh to thigh contact. No "I don't know who they are kidding because this seat ain't big enough for the two of us." It was perfection, and quite honestly a defining achievement of my life.
I was 32 weeks pregnant with a child, and 47 weeks pregnant with brownie, so when I got onto the train at this point in my pregnancy people already thought I was going to go into labor at any given moment. This didn’t make me a popular seatmate. I could basically see their faces quickly go from "oh, an open seat" to "oh no, I don't want to end up on a stalled out commuter rail with a laboring woman who is white knuckling my forearm." Pass.
But during crowded rush hours the choices were limited and my dear train comrades needed more encouragement to back up off my rapidly expanding hips.
So, on a particularly cold and heavily bundled up day when my hormones just didn’t have time for anyone or anything, I upped the ante and pulled out What to Expect When You're Expecting as soon as I sat down in my glorious open row. I whipped that bad boy open to the section titled “What to do if you go into labor unexpectedly” and spread out the pages wide so that my train commuting peers could clearly see the illustration of a woman delivering her own child in an office building like some kind of wizard.
I really would have liked to have been a fly on the What to Expect When You're Expecting illustrator's wall by the way. "Hey Linda, do you think the other office workers in this drawing look horrified enough? Should I erase the messy pile of files and McDonald's wrappers that I drew on top of the desk so that this women looks like she's 'having it all'?"
I wasn’t sure that my "this thing could blow at any time" point was fully made at this point, so I figured this was as good a time as any to practice my labor breathing. But not even the kind they teach you in birthing class, more like the kind I remember from watching Father of the Bride Part II.
There was nothing deep nor cleansing about this breathing technique. And as I recall there was nothing deep nor cleansing about real contractions either. So we'll go ahead and pencil this into the "another life lesson I learned from Diane Keaton" column.
You’ve got the visual, 58 week pregnant looking woman, book chapter that would be terrifying to anyone besides medical professionals, and “he he haaaa” crazy person breathing... Let’s just say my hips enjoyed an unencumbered 54 minute train ride that night. (Cue off balance prego curtsey)