09 10


Saturday, 13 April 2013

A pregnant lady rants...

It was about this stage in my last pregnancy that I had a supermarket induced rant.

Nearly three and a half years on, here comes another one.

Last time, the rant was about cheese. Or rather, being refused mature cheddar. You can read about it here. Yes, rather embarrassingly, it made national news. For about five minutes.

This time, my ranting is a bit calmer. No letters of complaint have been written, no crossed words spoken. Just a quiet moan here to you, my lovely readers. (Feel free to skip this and come back tomorrow when there'll be some nice sewing pictures and a lot less ranting)

So, there I was going about the weekly shop. It being the middle of the school holidays, I had my three little girls with me.

Any parents reading this will know what that means. You launch yourself into the task with laser like focus. Absolutely no browsing time or hesitating over products, because we all know that the angelic procession calmly following by your trolley can turn into an unruly mob in the blink of an eye. List in hand (or in your head), pre shop pep talk carried out ("Behave nicely girls, and we'll choose something nice from the cake counter at the end"), you attempt to get the task over and done with as painlessly as possible.

Enter a fellow school mum, just next to the soft rolls and special offer Mr Kipling cakes. Not a mum I am closely acquainted with as her children are a bit older than mine - I don't know her name, but we would normally smile and nod at each other.

"Oooooo! (staring at bump) I didn't know you were expecting another one... Now, that's brave!"

I smile and say "Yes". The `yes' being to confirm I am in fact expecting another baby (and not just parading a belly full of cake), rather than to agree that any decision to have more children is brave.

I'm used to being congratulated for being brave. I find it a bit annoying, but can accept it is the response a lot of people give when greeted with the news the person in front of them has just signed up to have more children than they personally have decided to have. They are trying to be nice. I think. And, they probably haven't stopped to think about how someone in my position interprets the comment, or, that I have heard it dozens of times before and wish people would think of something more original to say. Or, failing that, "That's nice!" and a smile would be more welcome than comments about bravery accompanied by a (probably unintended) look of mild horror. In a similar vain, when people feel the need to make pleasant small talk about the fact I have three young children in toe, I like it when they say "What lovely girls", but not so much when it's a well meaning "You've got your hands full!". I know they're trying to be nice (assuming the girls are not mid flow in a riot at the point the comment is made), but we hear it all the time and the subtext is not one I want my girls to have to grow up with.

But, on this occasion, it gets better.

If this were my fantasy game of `Bingo' consisting of all the annoying things a person could say to a pregnant lady, then it gets close to being a full house.

She repeats herself: "Gosh, that is brave. I thought three (she has three children too) was bad enough, but four? You are brave."

I smile and glance around in the direction of the girls and the hope she'll take the hint and stop. Luckily the girls aren't particularly paying attention to her.

"Was it planned?"

Really? No, really?

Am I overreacting, or this is a totally unacceptably nosey question to ask anybody, let alone someone whose first name you do not know? And, what is she really expecting me to say in response to this?!

On this occasion, seething inside, I smiled and said how much I was looking forward to another lovely baby in the family, and tried not to continue to seethe too much after we'd parted company. Instead, I tried to think up some wittier comments for the next supermarket encounter I have with a stranger.

Any suggestions? There might even be a piece of cheese or a cut price Mr Kipling cake in it for the best answer...


  1. I do feel for you Janet. Out of my close uni friends, I'm the only one to have had three children and I met many of the comments that you mention above, especially as there's only a 16mth gap between 2 & 3: to my mind, the world seems split between those who think two is the norm and anything beyond that means that you're going to go on pro-creating for ever and continue to joke about it (have you not already been asked when 5 is due?!) and those who have had more, but have met their limit. I know that I wouldn't be able to cope with any more - sleepless nights for the last 3yrs have finished me off! I'm afraid I have no witty comments, I just used to seethe internally/rant at my husband!!!

    1. Good to know I'm not alone in finding it annoying! People have already started asking if I'm going to be trying for a boy now. I make a point of not asking questions or passing comment on any such issues - even with friends - and cannot understand how some people think it is fine to ask it of strangers. Still - takes all sorts! :) Hope you're getting more sleep now? Lack of sleep is the one big downside of having little ones if you ask me. X

  2. Well I think I would have responded with, actually it's sextuplets, and yes we are very blessed! ♥ (Would be worth it just to see the reaction)! Chin up Janet, and many Congratulations. I had similar encounters after having three children under two and a half! Needles to say I was compared to an elephant (apparently I was 'always' pregnant - or was that just my size? Oh I never thought of that before)!

    1. Ha ha - you always make me laugh, Ellie. Now the weather is warming up enough not to wear my coat on the school run, lots of people are commenting on my bump (and being very nice, I must say!) - but my current response is "It's all Easter eggs!/Cakes! - I'm not having a baby" X

  3. I know how your feeling. I'm pregnant with my third (which will make three 3 years old and under just). And even with my two i get the " oh that must be a handful!" Comment all the time. And a lot of "don't you have a tv!" And " you are always pregnant"! And the one tht annoys me the most "are you sure it's not twins!". I have no witty comment and have found myself in a similar position where I've just lamely responded "we're really happy and looking forward to the new arrival!". So no advice but I know the feeling. Natalie

    1. Congratulations and good luck with everything, Natalie. I had three with the eldest 3 and 4 months - must say, although hectic at times, I absolutely love the fact they are so close in age, especially now they are able to join as a little gang of friends. They play and play together and really do love each other - remember that in all the tiring and chaotic times (which, fingers crossed for you, won't be too many!). I would not have it any other way. X

  4. Oh Janet that woman in the supermarket is the one missing out! I come from a family of 6 children and have 4 of my own. I love it when we are all together, and also the wonderful bond between my children (especially as our baby girl has cemented that). For me I got 'comments' about my age when I was pregnant (being 42yrs when I had my last) People say silly things most of the time - my mother-in-law was the worst offender for that as when we announced the pregnancy her first response was 'where are you going to put it?' - congratulations would've been nice ! Forget about that silly woman, she's not worth it. Just going to pop over to read your cheese rant - I love a good rant I do!!

    1. Thanks Sam. My hubby is one of 8 - and his sister has 8 of her own. I watch them all together and can see how lovely a big family is, and, have loved seeing my own little trio bond and play together this last holiday. I guess some comments say more about the people making them and their own hang ups. I am certainly hardier towards them than second/third time round (when comments predicting doom and gloom about how hard it was going to be with all those little ones would send me into a panic, as I heard it too often). x

  5. OMG I didn't know about your cheese experience. I had a similar encounter whilst pregnant, but with oysters. The oyster bar (at a very chic food market) refused to serve me on the basis that I was obviously pregnant. There was some genteel banter until I realised that they were actually being serious. At this stage, in my best hormonal-pregnant-woman voice I hollered, "Why? Are they not fresh?". I was served post-haste.
    So on to addressing your current blog (not the one from some time ago, sorry), I am sure that I owe you an apology as knowing me I must have said something equally inane. Secondly, you will of course know that being pregnant, or being with a young baby, entitles everyone in the world to say absolutely anything to you on the basis that they "mean well". I'm useless at witty retorts but that is certainly your only defence.