She pointed at my stomach with a smile and asked, “Well, is there something inside yet?”
Beyond the fact that I was sure I looked quite chic in the black dress I was wearing at the time, I was so taken aback that the words just fell out of my mouth. A friend quickly came to my aid, saying that I had been so thin before my wedding and had put on a little weight since then, which only made me feel worse. In the middle of this bizarre situation I tried not to lose my temper and hinted to my friend to quickly change the subject.
So far this story is perhaps one of the most embarrassing things that have happened to me, as since my wedding I have had to suffer more than a few well-meaning souls of all sorts, who thought it intriguing to check out my personal status and what was happening inside my womb. Of course their intentions are good, and born out of curiosity and the desire to find some logical explanation for the five extra kilos that have joined me, along with my head covering and rings, but I still think this is totally inappropriate.
This question comes in all sorts of guises. Some are polite with their subtle queries, while others are already stating a fact – “So, can we wish you mazal tov?”, and some people with even less tact dare to stretch out their hand and touch… to me that seems like a type of sexual harassment that has not yet been recognized by the public.
wait with the mazal tov wishes, please...
For the past year I have tried to find all sorts of solutions to escape these uncomfortable situations. When a good friend or someone not so close stood in front of me with her face white with embarrassment, my first instinct was to toss her a life preserver, to comfort her that she does not have to feel uncomfortable, that I really have put on a little weight, but that someday there will be a good reason. Still, my husband constantly claims the best thing is to embarrass the other person – to teach them a lesson that they would never forget so they would never dare to ask that confounding question again. If someone wonders aloud about my few extra kilos, I should reply that she, too, seems to have put on weight in the past month.
Another friend suggested that when someone asks me, perhaps I should hang my head in sorrow, and say that we’re trying but without any luck – not necessarily because there is any truth in that statement, but more in order to make the other woman understand that this is a question that simply should not be asked, that this is not a matter for “the public’s right to know.” Furthermore, who knows what is happening behind the closed doors of a young couple, which sometimes may be longing to conceive with no luck.
This reminds of something a friend told me, when I told her I was frequently assailed with these annoying questions. She confided in me regarding a friend of hers, a relative newlywed, who had got quite fat after her wedding. She suffered from the usual irritating queries, while no one had any idea that the extra weight, in her case, was a result of problems in her relationship with her husband. When she got divorced a few months later, I figure that all those people who asked the questions learned their lesson.
I’ve always been afraid to write this post, afraid that those same well-meaning souls will read these lines and be insulted. I was afraid that that would destroy my karma, awaken the evil eye, wreck my chances when we really want to have a child. But I decided that this post is going to be written for the benefit of all the new and not-so-new brides, and with one logical request: wait for our announcement, wait until we are cradling a baby in our arms, wait for a surer sign than a round tummy, and in the meantime take a deep breath and a few private lessons in tact.
Until further notice, please stay out of our womb. Thank you.