There’s a malady married women of childbearing age seem to be unable to escape. I call it pregnancy suspicion. If you’re a frum woman between 17 and 47 and are married, you’re a suspect. The most mundane statements can and will be used against you. It doesn’t matter if you’re cradling a newborn or flaunting a tshirt saying “I tied my tubes.” You’re married, you’re eligible, you’re a suspect.
When I was single I used to crave donuts in peace. Now? You wish? The past few days I’ve been craving cinnamon buns, and while, no, I’m not pregnant, there are at least a half dozen people convinced I am.
If you’re nauseous, it’s morning sickness, no matter if you’re clutching your seat during turbulence as the plane flips 45 degrees and the man next to you hurls into a bag. If you want ice cream, you’re having cravings. If you have heartburn, there’s a hairy baby growing inside you. Tired? Must be the baby, zapping your energy. And don’t you dare, ever, ever, sport even the tiniest belly. If you do, you’re hopeless. Might as well start up the rumor mill yourself.
Of course, when you actually are pregnant, and announce that to your friends and family, they will all say they already knew. It was obvious. You once told me you were hungry. Or that your daughter’s vomit made you nauseous. Gosh, can’t you hide it better? It was so obvious.
Which it was. And always is. Whether or not you’re actually with child.
I assume some people get good at never expressing any feelings that could be construed as pregnancy. I’m not that talented. On Saturday night in front of (gasp) my brother in law and sister in law, I said I was nauseous. I do not actually remember saying this. But my husband told me there was a look, a glance, from his brother to him. An unmistakable question mark. Is she?
I think next time I have heartburn I’ll keep it to myself. But I still think I deserve the right to crave a cinnamon bun in peace.
Even if I’m not pregnant.