After I discovered that one of my coworkers announced her pregnancy at 7 weeks, I avoided her like crazy when I returned to work from the holidays by not eating in the lunch room and not walking the hallway if I didn’t have to. When I heard her voice down the hall, I waited until it was gone before I headed out. The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I saw her in the morning waiting for the elevator with her patient outside of my office. I made eye contact with her, smiled, and patted on her shoulder. I could see that her belly had already started to bulge out a little. I checked my emotions and found that I was feeling okay seeing her. So I decided to bring this one level higher: eating in the lunch room to see what would happen. While I was heating up the lunch, my pregnant coworker walked in. She was at that point about 10 weeks or so. I said Hi. She said Hi and asked how my long weekend was. I decided to see where the conversation would lead, so I told her that I had a great weekend and also cleaned the whole house on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. She said, “Oh that was great!” She went on to say, “My husband nowadays has to do that because you know, I am pregnant and get so tired so easily. He’s nesting like crazy.” I didn’t say “Oh wow congratulations!” or “I’m so happy for you.” She hadn’t officially announced her pregnancy to me but I am sure she knew that I knew, since words travel fast. All I could mutter was, “Oh yeah you’re pregnant.” Then I deliberately changed the subject by asking her how her husband was doing. He was injured at work a while ago and I thought that he was back at work. Apparently he returned to work but psychologically wasn’t ready so he got sent back home. At that point, my coworker said, “Oh I have to run… I have to pee all the time these days.” That was our conversation. Her official announcement to me. My official acknowledgement of her pregnancy. I was feeling fine talking to her, but couldn’t help but wondered, Who would nest so early on in their pregnancy? Well I guess I was ignorant as the American Pregnancy Association points out that nesting can happen anytime during a pregnancy. So I can now tell my skeptical self that it could happen to me when I get pregnant.
Ever since that encounter, I have eaten in the lunch room most of the days. Sometimes I can stand the sight of her. Sometimes I can’t. But I am feeling good that I made that first step to acknowledge her pregnancy so she officially knows that I know. If she ever comes to tell me any pregnancy symptoms and if I can’t stand it, I am still planning on telling her the CliffsNotes version of my struggles so she would back off. I’ll cross that bridge when it happens. I don’t even feel guilty (nor should I) that I didn’t say congratulations.
In the meanwhile, I am also bracing for my immediate supervisor to announce her pregnancy any time now (as I know that she was planning on trying after her wedding last October). I am quite sure that another coworker who just announced on FB that she and her boyfriend had become Mr. and Mrs. would start trying right away, or maybe have already started trying. It’ll just do me good if I can adjust my attitude right now so I can survive emotionally at work.
One day at a time.