11 July 2013

that look

I'm pretty sure I got "the look" yesterday. The one where you can tell that someone is judging you. The one I try really hard not to give other people. I've gotten variations of it since I became more visibly pregnant, usually the, "Is she pregnant or just fat?" one. That one I don't mind so much. This one, though, I did.

I was walking through the grocery store parking lot, and an older gentleman gave me an askance look. The one that said, "You're much too young to be pregnant and that's bad." I didn't see a glance at my hand, but since I'm not wearing my wedding ring right now (my fingers tend to swell a bit in the hot weather), that wouldn't have told him much. He might have assumed that I'm unmarried and judged me even more.

I'm aware that because I am short and young-looking, people sometimes think I'm much younger than I actually am. Back in September (or maybe it was October), a guy in line behind me at the liquor store accused me of being seventeen. I sighed and pointed out that I was twenty-five. I had one person blurt out, "Were you a child bride?" when I mentioned that J.'s and my fifth anniversary was coming up this year. Yes, we got married young, but not that young. Honestly, I think most of the time it's the height. I'm so short that people think I'm still a teenager, even though I don't act like one.

A few weeks ago, I ended up chatting with another woman at the maternity clinic. We have a shared dislike of one of the doctors at the practice and do our best to avoid her--me because she gave me crap about my mental health and stress levels and then proceeded to stress me out at each subsequent appointment I had with her, and this other woman because the doctor gave her crap at her first appointment because she'd had a baby at fifteen (although given that she was in for her second pregnancy five years later, is really none of the doctor's business). I was surprised because she didn't look that young to me. I suppose parenthood helps with maturity levels to an extent, but from this, I reinforced my belief that age doesn't necessarily equal maturity or lack thereof. I've met teenagers with more maturity than forty-year-olds, for instance.

It's true that my demographic--North American, white, college-educated, female--tends to put off having children until late twenties or into their thirties. Or at least that seems to be the trend for a lot of people these days. I've already screwed with those statistics by getting married young, and having a kid in my mid-twenties, though not too far out of the ordinary, is still messing with the stats a bit. I'm okay with that. I didn't want to be having kids in my thirties if I could help it, and even though we'd been thinking a year or two in the future for having children rather than right now, we're at a transition time, with me finishing school, that makes it easier to jump into parenthood because we knew things would be changing anyway. Neither of us is terribly interested in many of the typical 20-something activities. J. has an entertaining friend who is really in to the party scene, and while his stories are funny, they aren't something we want for ourselves. The last time we went to a loud party that had lots of alcohol and pot, neither of us drank or smoked. We left early because it was loud and boring and we were tired.

I haven't run into much judgement for being young-ish and heading towards being a parent, so it confuses me a bit when I do. There are times when I feel much too young to be having a baby, but that's about where my head is that day, not about whether or not I'm actually capable of this. I'm glad that this person didn't bother to talk to me. I could have corrected his assumptions, but it's too hot and I'm too exhausted to be getting into arguments with complete strangers.

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