Not too long ago, the pregnancy and childbirth process used to be very different. Three months after marriage, women promptly sprouted bumps. Soon thereafter were unceremoniously transferred to respective parents’ house and a few months later they returned with a tumbling child in their arms. Nobody seemed to pay much attention to this process, including their husbands. Rinse and repeat every year.
Things changed a lot of late. It’s socially acceptable and very cute to talk about pregnancy. If a person is my friend or family, I am the best guy to discuss every aspect of pregnancy. But if a person is a colleague, I really wish they are more discrete about what information they divulge and how they divulge it.
If you are my colleague, not a friend:
- You must forgive me for not excitedly participating in the discussion about your wife’s amniotic fluid. Please don’t take it personally. I have nothing against colleagues or amniotic fluid. It’s the combination I am not crazy about.
- If you are a guy, please don’t announce “We are pregnant.” No you are not. She is. You just contributed, hopefully. Say something like “we are expecting”.
- Guess what this is:
A drugged up, half-sleeping, exhausted woman with hair all over her face which is kept in place by sticky sweat, IV fluids and other goo. She is holding a 3 second old child. A lot of tubes hanging around. Worked into this mess is a smiling face of a proud father.
That’s right. This is your very first family photograph, taken moments after your child was born, even before your wife had a chance to cover herself fully. Wonderful. Just go ahead and keep it to yourself. That’s all I ask. Please, for the love of God, don’t email it to everybody at work.
- Sonograms are not cute. They belong in a file in doctor’s office not on your cube wall. And no, that’s not a nose. That’s probably a smudge on the printout.
- I know you are pregnant. I know you have to pass my cube every time you go to the restroom. You don’t have to sheepishly explain to me, “The bladder gets smaller, you know.” I know. But you must believe me that I have more things to do at work than keeping count of your bathroom breaks.
- If you are a guy, don’t come around proudly announcing “I cut the umbilical cord myself.” The whole father cord cutting thing is an artificial tradition to involve the completely useless father in the process of delivery. It’s nothing great. Don’t expect me to atta-boy you as if you pushed a baby out of a 2 inch opening in your body.
- What’s with video taping the birthing process? I know people who went into labor rooms with professional video equipment and lighted the vaginal passage like the inside of Louvre. What do people do with these videos? Watch them on family gettogethers? Play for guests over dinner? Don’t answer it. It’s a rhetorical question. I don’t want to know.
To top it all, yesterday a female colleague of mine tells me, “Oh we are seriously trying for a baby.” Now I am stuck with all kinds of images of how they are trying and in what positions.