One pregnant coworker is about to give birth. It’s quite easy to avoid her as we don’t work on the same floor. When she comes upstairs to the lunch room, I usually can just go back to my own office if I don’t feel like seeing her. I thought that I’d be kind of safe after she goes on maternity leave mid-January. Then my Dear Colleague dropped the bombshell that another coworker announced her 7-week pregnancy during a work lunch potluck. Fortunately I was on vacation so I was safe from the details surrounding this pregnancy. But it puzzled me to know that people actually announce their pregnancy once they find out about it. It probably never crossed her mind that something could be wrong with it. She probably never had a friend who had a chemical pregnancy or miscarriage. Or she may have friends that have experienced that but never talked about it. Ignorance is bliss? On the flip side, extra knowledge about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t serve us good either because we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Anyhow, ever since I returned to work after the holidays, I have been avoiding my newly pregnant coworker. She and I work on the same floor, so I get many chances of bumping into her. And we have been friendly. That was why she shared with me a little while ago that her doctor told her to lose some weight before she started trying for a baby. I had that piece of information in my mind and hadn’t thought much about whether or not she would get pregnant because she looked like the same size to me as before. When my Dear Colleague wondered out loud to me after our work holiday party why this particular coworker was hiding in the corner not drinking, I dismissed her observation and said that I didn’t think they were trying. At least not until she loses some weight. On the first day of work after the holidays, I saw her at the front desk chatting with another coworker about how sick she had gotten over the break. I quickly walked by. She looked up and said Hi cheerfully to me, as if she was waiting for me to ask her how she was doing and how her break was. I said Hi back cheerfully and walked away. When I got back to my office, I could hear her voice from the next hallway. Someone had asked her to do something and she responded, “I am pregnant but I will do it for you.” I was standing in my office having a difficult time believing my ears. Why do some women have to add that qualifier to everything that they do? What does pregnancy have to do with doing your own job? That totally boggles my mind. I mean, she is usually a sensible person and I like her a lot. Somehow being pregnant can turn you into someone who does not make sense anymore? Does it mean that I have to endure this kind of conversation in the hallway for another 30+ weeks? She’s not even 10 weeks yet.
I finally found out how she announced her pregnancy at seven weeks. She had an abnormal pap smear and was told to schedule for a surgery to scrape her cervix. She had been putting it off for quite some time. We don’t know how long, but she told that she got more than a few phone calls to urge her to schedule a time. She finally did. At the pre-op appointment, an ultrasound was performed and it was found that she was pregnant. The surgery could not be done because of the pregnancy. So this sounds like she did not really try to get pregnant. This is an accident Why she had to share with everyone about it at the potluck at such an early stage is beyond me. My Dear Colleague was expressing how she thought that it was so unfair: This person who clearly does not take care of her body and let this abnormal test slip for a long time without fixing the problem got pregnant, but a person like me who tries to take care of my own body has such a difficult time achieving something so easily attainable by some. I appreciate her sentiment. She has walked this road with me and my husband from day one. I know that she’s ready for me to just get pregnant already, and I am too. What can we do when this is not something that you can just work hard to get? Nothing. We can do nothing. We just pray and wait.
I think eventually one day my newly pregnant coworker will come to me and share her news with me. I hope that I’ll have the courage to tell her a bit about my circumstances and to kindly request that she not share extra details about her pregnancy with me. I thought about it and I think that it’s doable. We’ll see how it goes when/if she does it. Otherwise, I’ll just treat it like a knowledge that I never had, and go about my work days as usual. I hope that I won’t hear too many “I am pregnant but…” out in the hallway. I think I”ll go a little crazy.