Only a few short weeks (fingers crossed) until Bus Baby arrives. In honor of our nine-month adventure together, last week’s Real Change column:
Great Expectations, Part II
More joys of busing while pregnant
1. If you think being a bus chick requires “restroom radar,” try being a bus chick with a five-pound weight resting on your bladder. To ward off disaster, keep a list of available restrooms near your regular stops–along with relevant codes and key locations–in your bus chick bag. Also, don’t forget to time hydration. Do not drink anything within an hour (preferably two hours) of any bus excursion.
2. After the “constantly sick and exhausted” phase of the first trimester passes, you might feel well enough to run again. When deciding whether to run for a bus, consider that, A, any jostling of the five-pound weight might adversely affect your bladder (see above); and B, even if you were a track star in high school, these days, you can barely keep pace with an 80-year-old woman pushing a walker (no disrespect to my 80-year-old bus chick sisters). Face the fact that you are unlikely to actually catch the bus you are “running” for. Finally, C: It will take you the entire ride (or the wait for the next bus) to catch your breath.
3. People will (kindly) offer you help when you don’t need it. Some examples: holding your arm when you board the bus and offering to carry shopping bags that aren’t heavy.
4. People will not offer you help when you do need it. Prepare to stand on full buses and at crowded stops — no matter how badly your back hurts — regularly.
5. Remember that expression, “Everyone loves a pregnant woman”? Well, everyone on the bus really loves a pregnant woman. (Personally, I don’t understand the fascination. I’d rather see a cute baby in the flesh than a woman with a big ol’ belly any day. But I digress.) You will be asked when you are due and the gender of your child on almost every ride you take. You will be told stories of daughters, wives, and nieces who are also expecting, and, unfortunately, of horrific labor experiences. While constant baby talk can certainly get tedious, it’s best not to fight it. (Not that you could. Not even headphones, a book, and your best “don’t talk to me” expression will prevent the questions.) Besides, for this bus chick, “When’s your baby due?” beats, “What are you?” (and all associated questions) hands down.
6. On a related note…
If you were looking forward to several months free of Howyoudoin?s, Whatsyourname?s, and Youmarried?s, prepare to be disappointed. You will, in fact, continue to be propositioned — both by members of that group of discerning gentlemen who don’t bother to actually look at the women they’re chatting up, and by an even more disturbing group: men who are actually attracted to pregnant women. Listen, don’t say I didn’t warn you. On the plus side: You don’t have to worry about fitting your enormous belly behind a steering wheel.