Karla's Korner: 'I'm pregnant, what's your excuse?'

9:03 PM, Jan 8, 2012   |    comments
A Family Christmas Picture, complete with squirming child and ever-so-large mom
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Alright, you need to give me a chance to explain. I wouldn't normally launch into a blog with such a defiant, almost combative, tone. But mind you, it's with reason. I'm justified. Completely and totally. And you only have to read on to agree with me.

So, I have a brand new "Top 11 Best Things I've Heard During My Pregnancy!" list. But before I reveal the latest "winners" (and mind you, I've heard the full gamut over the course of my two pregnancies; remember the "Are you having triplets?" conversation?), I did want to share with you my alternate headline for this blog: "Big, Slow and with the Lung Capacity of a Chipmunk."

And where or where did I drum up the "Big, Slow and with the Lung Capacity of a Chipmunk" headline? Well, perhaps it was while attempting to Christmas shop in a crowded mall. There's nothing better than being the slow and large pregnant woman trying to navigate the narrow aisles of a department store, while anxious shoppers rudely step on your heels in their impatient attempts to pass you and gain that extra second. It was a bit unbelievable, actually, the manner in which people "tailgate" - when it's so clear they have alternate paths available to them. I mean, people, is it really necessary to all but push the pregnant woman over?

Fact is, I know I move slowly nowadays. And I know that especially because I typically move ever-so-quickly (I UNFORTUNATELY have the speeding tickets to prove it). But that fast-paced perspective does NOT allow me to quickly forgive those who seem to lack compassion for my condition and its symptoms. To the contrary, I will now forever serve as a champion of those who move slower than others -- be it because they have a medical or personal reason...or simply because, yes, they have the lung capacity of a chipmunk.

Alright, so with that "tirade" over, I would like to share with you my latest bits of wisdom - those comments imparted by family, friends, colleagues and perfect strangers. Read on, my friends, and you'll understand better my selected headline.

11. "You looked SO big on T.V. last night." This from a colleague who should know better. Of course, they say T.V. adds 10 pounds (at least) to any person. Now... when you're already packing on an extra gazillion pounds due to pregnancy, you can imagine the probability that you'll appear gigantic on the air. But it's not like you really need the reminder that that is... in fact... the case.

10. "Even your lips are getting bigger." And this from the exact same colleague. True story. Perhaps, as a father himself, he really should know better???

9. "That's just mean to capture your profile." Admittedly, my dear, lovely and ever-so-supportive mother is responsible for that comment. Now, I'd take her comment with a grain of salt (if my water-retaining body could handle the extra sodium), after all - she's only looking out for her daughter. But her message was clear: "a side angle of your belly on T.V. is rather shocking, Karla." My response to her? "Mom, I think the jig is up; people know I'm pregnant."

8. "I don't think you're going to make it." This comment from a relative a full TWO MONTHS before my due date. Apparently, I was already moving just a little too slowly for her to believe that I could carry the baby full-term. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

7. "We need a wide angle lens for you." Really, I mean really? And that comment is compliments of yet another "supportive" relative.

6. "You must be due any day." "Ahh... no," was my response to this complete stranger in the mall. But read on to get a sense of just how deeply he dug his hole.

5. "Well then, it must be twins." "Ahh... no." Again, same mall stranger... still digging.

4. "Well it must be a boy, then." "Ahh... no." Or yes. Who knows? But bottom line, that SAME MAN - a complete stranger - would just NOT drop his shovel. Fortunately, it was the Christmas season; I remained kind.

3. "You just look so uncomfortable." Now this relatively well-meaning comment really comes from all corners. In some cases, you welcome the empathy from other women. In other cases, you simply realize that "looking uncomfortable" translates to... "you look really, really awkward, large and yes, gigantic."

2. "You're still here?" I suppose I hear that most from my dear colleagues. I mean, I can't actually blame them much. I've looked 9-months-pregnant for the last couple months, after all. Still, I'm asked that question more often... than "How are you? How's your day going?" Etc..

And the best comment of all, comes from a colleague known more for his talent that his tact...

1. "Did the ground shake when you ran after him?" Now, I believe the context of his comment was a conversation about having to run while reporting a story. But the context is insignificant; it's the direct quote that lingers. Yes, people, a full-grown man with children uttered those very words. Lucky for him, I forgive him and still consider him a friend.

THAT WRITTEN, it is because of that #1 comment that I hatched my headline. (Mind you, I'm the kind of person who ALWAYS thinks of the witty comeback minutes after an exchange. I attribute the delay to my tendency to over-analyze and "process" a person's comments...). But no more, people, no more. From now on - and in these final days of pregnancy, I will respond to such ridiculous comments with: "I'm pregnant, what's your excuse?"* And please know this: that in the case of my dear colleague, my response would have most definitely applied. I'll just leave it at that.

*A word: I need to attribute the source of that wit to none other than the HBO show, "Sex and the City." Yes, scandalous as it may be, I actually enjoyed that series. In one show, the character, Charlotte, defended her friend, Miranda - a new mother - by saying to a man in a bar: "She just had a baby, what's your excuse?" And therein lies the inspiration for my pregnancy-modified version of this response. From now on, I say - "bring it," bold men of so little tact, because I have my retaliation prepared! (Please know, I also encourage other pregnant women to borrow the phrase. You never know, it just may come in handy when you're targeted by a seemingly innocent but astoundingly clueless word-slinger, be it a relative, friend, colleague or stranger).

And with that, I'll end my pregnancy tales of trials and tribulations... Perhaps it's the last such chapter on that topic. But before wrapping up that chapter completely, I do want to note - for those who read and may take exception - that I still absolutely treasure this time. Despite the "moments," I'll always consider pregnancy and the child that comes at the end of it to be a true blessing. So yes, I'm grateful. But that doesn't mean I - nor anyone - should ignore the ridiculous realities of our world when we encounter them. By all means, I think a dialogue about the dumb digressions can be helpful, humorous... even healing.

And finally, I do want to wish EVERYONE a Happy New Year! I do hope 2012 brings joy and happiness - strength and resilience to us all. I really believe this will be a good year. Of course, I'm a bit biased in that belief - what with expecting a new little one any day - but I'm hoping for the best for our country as a whole, and of course, our Minnesota community.

Please continue to have a safe and warm January. I will do my best to stay in touch during my maternity leave. And please also feel free to stay in touch with me - through my blog; my Facebook page (Karla Hult); and on Twitter (@karlahult). Take care, everyone, and in the words of Mike Wallace, "do well, and do good."

(Copyright 2012 KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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