In past posts, I've talked about how becoming pregnant suddenly makes you public property and my frustrations with that. People feel that they are welcome to say whatever they want to you, giving unwanted advise and asking overtly personal questions, even going as far as feeling that it's ok to touch your body without permission. It can be awful and uncomfortable, and as someone who is naturally introverted it makes me extremely uncomfortable.
However, this morning I realized just how much of a blessing it can be as well. While there are rude and insensitive people, being pregnant can also bring out the most beautiful and personal parts of people as well. During this pregnancy, I've found myself listening to the pregnancy and birthing stories from women all across the board. My co-workers talk of their successes and issues while pregnant or giving birth. I've listened to the sympathy from those who had rough pregnancies, and the joy of those who had amazing pregnancies. I've heard birthing stories from strangers, and had random people stop and want to talk about my baby without knowing anything about me. When I stop at the gas station on my way to work, the woman who works there often asks how much longer I have left. This morning I found myself listening to her birthing story from 16 years ago as she cashed me out. I heard about the normal pregnancy of her first two children, and how she gained 70 pounds and had an 11 pound baby for her third. I know these are stories that she doesn't share with just anyone, and it gives me both some insight into who she is, but it also builds a special bond between women to share those moments.
So today I am grateful. While the invasion of privacy often frustrates me, I also understand the beautiful and amazing community bond that women feel with other pregnant women. We look out for each other and want to share our stories. We want to share our triumphs and our failures, and help others know that they are not alone in their experiences. I'm thankful to each woman who has shared her story with me, and even those who wanted to share their advise. Thank you for the kind smiles, the loving stories, the warnings and the laughter. It's moments like this that I understand just how beautiful pregnancy can be.