I thought I was really clever, getting pregnant in July. I can use “eating for two” for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. If the baby holds out long enough I can even use it for my birthday (although if I am still pregnant on April 10th you might not want to remind me). It’s easier for E to get time off during the holidays so we’ll be able to see our family a few times – which means they’ll have plenty of opportunity to buy us baby stuff. I had these movie-like scenes in my head of busy Christmas shoppers stopping to buy me hot chocolate or give up their bench at the mall for the happy, glowing pregnant woman. It didn’t occur to me that no one can tell I’m pregnant.

When you’re NOT pregnant, you live in fear that your empire waist dress or flowy top makes you look knocked up. You dread people asking when your non-existent baby is due and having to tell them “sorry, I just had a big lunch.” But now that I am pregnant, people are too concerned with insulting a fat chick to say anything. My winter clothes (it’s freezing here!!!!) don’t help. Those amazing maternity jeans look so much like regular pants no one can tell. Sweatshirts, warm sweaters and puffy jackets hide my still kind of small belly almost entirely. At the grocery store I bought pickles, cupcakes, ice cream, hot sauce, peanut butter and milk – but the looks I got were more like “you don’t really need that ice cream, chubs” instead of “oh you silly pregnant people and your cravings!” I’m 17 weeks along and no one has smiled at this happy, glowing pregnant woman yet. I’m afraid that until my water actually breaks and I’m in active labor not a single stranger is going to congratulate me.

I’m not saying I miss the unwanted belly touching and unsolicited advice many pregnant women complain about. This is my first baby. No amount of rational thought is going to convince me it shouldn’t be the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD to every person I meet. This is probably the only time in my life I’ll wish I was fatter – and I’m sure in four months I’m going to wonder what the hell I was thinking – but until I am totally, unmistakably, hugely pregnant I don’t think I’ll ever believe this baby is for real.

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