I had just finished leading worship for the Sunday service and I thought this very kind lady was approaching me to tell me what a great job I had done with the music (It’s true. I’m human and it encourages me to hear I’m doing something well).
But Oh how much pride comes before the fall.
Luckily this woman pulled me aside, apart from the rest of the passerbys, before she proceeded with, “I just have to ask you…when are you due?” She looked at me as though she had uncovered a special secret that no one else in the world had noticed. She waited in anticipation for me to divulge my happy news.
“uh….(sigh)….I’m not”. I tilted my head a little bit and smiled the kindest smile I could muster, hoping it would somehow ease the awkwardness I knew was coming. But this lady did not skip a beat.
“Oh! Are you sure?”
Though it’s hard to imagine, this question was almost more painful than the first. She may as well have said, “Oh honey, I think you’re mistaken. I know what a pregnant woman looks like, and you are one of them”.
“Yeah, I’m sure”.
At this point I was getting more and more embarrassed, frantically looking around for Nolan to barge into the conversation and rescue me. Unfortunately I could see him off in the distance laughing away, undoubtedly at some bathroom joke or youtube video that normally I would have no interest in. I tried to will him to look at me and recognize my agony, but it didn’t work. No, for now I was stuck. Commanding myself not to cry in front of this woman and find a cleaver way out on my own. Meanwhile…
“Oh, so you must just be sitting at the office eating junk food with the guys all day then huh?”
Seriously!? She can’t possibly know what she’s saying.*
“Yup. That must be it”.
Now, think of your most embarrassing moment**. Go ahead. Let all the feelings come flooding back. And remember all that it took to get over it (no matter how silly of a thing it actually was, or how many people said it “wasn’t a big deal”).
Ok, now imagine that scenario happens over and over again for 15 years straight.
Welcome to my life!
I think I would be a tad bit more understanding had this trend of asking me if I am pregnant began once Nolan and I got married, but it didn’t. It started when I was a Sophmore in high school. Since then I have been asked by kids, peers, old people, drunk people, church people, straight-up-mean people, complete strangers. At weddings, at my workplace, at school, at the movie theater, in the lobby of the doctor’s office, in the mall, at public Q&A forums. During my travels I was asked this awkward question at least once a week…for an entire year!
That kind of thing takes a toll on a person. That kind of thing also can’t be a coincidence. I haven’t figured out exactly why I continue having to endure this kind of blow to my self-image*** but I am hopeful the Lord is working in me a quiet humility, and maybe an awareness that couldn’t come any other way.
I don’t know why I have decided to blog about this part of my life now. Perhaps it’s because I already spilled all my other secrets and I figure, what’s one more? And now that you all know, you can help spread the word:
No, I am not pregnant. I am just very unfortunately built. Thank you Cystic Fibrosis.
*Please do not comment on my FB or WordPress about how “horrible” the lady in the story was. She’s not horrible, and I don’t want her to feel worse than she (maybe/probably) already does.
**Let’s commiserate. Email me your most embarrassing moment at firstname.lastname@example.org
***Hear me say this, Pregnant woman are beautiful! I’m simply plagued by a culture that says anything but perfection is unacceptable…shameful even.