A woman I’d only met once or twice walked up to me at work holding a pink tissue paper package. She handed it to me and said “You told me you were having a girl, so I thought of you”. Inside were two singlets with little flowers she’d embroidered around the neckline. As I looked down at the teeny tiny cotton singlets a stranger had made for my unborn daughter, I realised it was probably the kindest thing anybody had ever done for me. As a reward, I thanked her through a mouthful of cupcake.
Pregnancy has made me the target of all sorts of random acts of kindness. I assumed that everyone looks at a pregnant woman and thinks of overpopulation, a soiled nappy choking a polar bear atop a melting iceberg, and haemorrhoids. But most people treat me as though I am carrying a Messiah.
Friends and strangers bake for me, they lend me books, they give up their seats on the bus, they give me old baby clothes, they tell me how good I look, they carry my bag and open doors for me. Our new neighbour offered us his car anytime we need it. He takes our bins down to the road and hauls them back up the steep driveway. An Italian cleaning lady at work fawned over my “Bambino”. My pregnant sister lugged over a baby capsule to lend us, even though she was sick and tired. Colleagues have offered to arrange a baby shower. Others who live nearby have asked if they can do the groceries for me. Surly teens let me hop on the bus first. I have never known such good fortune and happiness.
Part of that happiness also comes from new exposure to harmless freaks, who think they are being kind, but are really being harmless freaks. There was the bikie standover man who literally stood over me in court one day and said how awesome it must be to use my belly as a desk. A strange man passed me a note saying: “Marriage and children are the greatest. All the best : )”. A taxi driver told me I must be having a boy because his wife was beautiful when she was pregnant with their son, but “ugly as” when she was pregnant with their daughter. A man in an elevator said he would pray for me. Another man in an elevator tried to make me promise I wouldn’t call the baby Diana. A now convicted criminal told me from the dock that I looked good – she had looked like a “baby elephant” when she was pregnant.
It makes me wonder, what will be left in my life once I have the baby?