Note: This is a guest post I wrote several years ago for Cootie Countdown, a pregnancy journal, which I am cross posting here... you know... for posterity's sake and... in case I ever need to blackmail her.

Now Featuring: NG!
Creator of this week's guest artist blog entry and long time pal in my uphill battle against THE MAN.

When Monica first said something to me about contributing “guest blogs” on her site, the slideshow of my life that exists only in my head flashed back to reading the Sunday comics as a kid. I loved The Family Circus, except every other month or so when Bill Keane would do this really cheesy thing where he “handed” the comic strip over to his “son Billy”. It would always say something to the effect of “Bill Keane is on vacation this week, but his son Billy has agreed to step in and cover for his father…. blah blah blah.” Then there would be an entire comic strip of adult-created, kid-like stick figures of the characters usually in the strip, but with no real jokes or humor.

Funny the first time, perhaps. But the next (and next and next and the next) were just lame. Even as a kid, I knew that Bill had just run out of ideas and called it in.

So here’s to Monica for calling it in and forcing the rest of us to actually get off our tushies (can you say “ass” on the interweb?) and contributing to the world instead of just reading others’ comments and mocking. Hopefully, I can follow with a bit more than stick figures (but don’t get your hopes up).

Monica has provided me with a list of fascinating and intriguing possible topics that I cannot wait to tackle, but as a first timer (in the world of blogging, that is; I know some of you are tittering that 14 year old boy laughter right now. You know who you are; get off my lawn you kids!), I would like to begin by offering something that she can actually use.

Now that Monica is beginning to show a bit and she no longer has to announce to the world that she is expecting (“Hey, postman, can you bring those letters inside my house for me? I’m preegnant! Hey guy in the elevator, can you push that button for me? I’d do it but I’m PREGnant!) I present:

Alice’s list of inappropriate things friends, acquaintances, and total strangers will say and do to you while you’re pregnant
(and possible responses that I’ve found helpful):

“Oh you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Were you trying?”
“Well there was just that one time in the back seat of his Buick…” I will never understand why people do not realize that this is the exact equivalent of asking, “Have you been having sex with your husband/boyfriend/stranger you met while standing in line at the DMV.” And I am reasonably certain that they don’t want to know THAT information. But who am I to judge? Perhaps they do. So I suggest telling them… in intimate detail… with graphic descriptions of positioning and how long you held your legs up in the air afterwards. That’ll teach them.

“Is this your first?”
Cm’on, does it really make a difference to the bus driver who is only speaking to you as you pass by him and drop the change in? When the conversation is obviously not going anywhere else is it necessary information to have in the 3 seconds you pass each other? Plus, this is such a sensitive topic for some people. First pregnancy? First child? First child of your own? First child that you and current man are having together? A lot of people don’t realize “Is this your first” can mean a LOT of different things. “Nope… my 8th… we’re crossing our fingers that this is going to be the one we keep.”

“And will you be having other children after this one?”
Just let me get through this experience before you start planning the rest of my life, lady.

“How far along are you?” / “When are you due?”
I think to some, these sound like perfectly appropriate questions, but especially from a stranger, I don’t get it. Why do you care? Does that change the direction of the conversation? Or are you just trying to gauge how fat I currently am and if you think it’s acceptable? Were you planning on sending me flowers and chocolates when the big day comes? If so, I’ll be in Holy Cross Hospital on December 18, feel free to stop by.

“Are you sure you want to eat that… you know… you’re pregnant?”
OK – I get that some people are more diet conscious when they’re pregnant than I am (or when I’m not), but I was so much more concerned with just keeping something… anything down, that I truly did not worry about it so much when I ate the odd piece of soft cheese or something with a drop of Tabasco on it. I was just happy I wasn’t going to see it again in the next 15 minutes. I had the basics: no drinking, no smoking, no using stomach as a target when husband is throwing knives. But I truly was accosted at least once a week when some random person told me something about how the carrot I was putting in my mouth was going to make my baby grow up ugly, unloved and only fit for a job holding the Slow sign on the side of the road. “Are YOU sure you want to eat THAT? You know... you’re fat.”

Endless stories about how long/horrible/frightening labor was for them.
I’m pregnant, I’ve got enough to worry about at this point. Do you really need to share with me how many stitches they used on your episiotomy? I never did find a good response for this one. What I ended up doing most of the time was covering my ears and singing loudly, “LA LA LA LA LA” until they stopped. Hmmm… perhaps this is one clue into why I have no mother-friends now…….. Nah.

Asking to touch your belly/feel the baby.
From strangers… whom I do not know... standing in line at the Post Office. And everyone else is nodding in agreement, hoping they too will get a turn next. Who among us isn’t truly creeped out by this one? I bit my tongue one day to keep from saying sure he could feel the baby… if I could feel his balls. I still regret not saying it.

And so, in writing this, I feel I’m not merely doing a service to Monica, but also to Preggos everywhere. I suggest that when dealing with your local Bun-Infested-Oven in the future, you use the three-tiered-question-yourself method that I was taught years ago in church about gossip: When about to question a random Woman in an Unfortunate Condition about her pregnancy, family status, cervix, fallopian tubes, or any other part of her pregnant body, take a mental moment and ask yourself these three questions first:

1. Is it (too) honest? In other words, will she NOT be going home and cry herself to sleep on that weird elongated body pillow?

2. Is it necessary?

3. Is it kind?

If the answer to any of the above three questions is “No”, run, do not walk, to the nearest drugstore and purchase some duct tape for your mouth because with the heat exhaustion, and the swelling ankles, and the hormones raging, and the general crankiness, you just may be in danger of being pelted by a Pregnant Fist.

Oh, and by the way, can I feel your balls?