Performing Pregnancy 101

Nora McInerney was the first person I’d ever heard speak on the idea of performing pregnancy.
​What did that mean exactly? Why wasn’t she interested in this performance? 

Sure, she was months into a pregnancy a very short time after her husband passed away, but wasn’t she the gushing, excited, beyond happy momma to be?

No.

And that is okay! It is also okay if your situation is very much different than hers and you’re still not interested in putting on a show for the world, which is something I could never have understood without going through this process myself. It is also okay if you ARE the glowing, gushing, over the top excited momma to be.

As you may have figured out, I fall in the former category. I do not enjoy the barrage of questions from complete strangers regarding a process that is painful and hard and sad while also being beautiful and miraculous and wonderful. HOWEVER, I need to stretch myself to understand that the questioners are simply trying to connect with me. And yes, it is sometimes in a way that may personally grind my gears, but ultimately I know this is not their aim. 

Full disclosure here, I’d typed out a bit of a rant post regarding how pregnant women (or at least me, as I am no spokeswoman) are peppered with inane personal questions. I never posted because it didn’t feel right (also, raging hormones), and I’m glad I didn’t. A coworker who I don’t work closely with was asking questions about my pregnancy while we washed our hands after a simultaneous bathroom break and then shared with me her own struggle with infertility, a ticking biological clock, and a deep longing to be undertaking the experience I am now.

As easily as she shared all that with me, something clicked. What the majority of us seem to want is to be acknowledged, seen, and heard by another member of the human race. I think this may be why pregnant women are often a magnet for others of both genders—they have an automatic in to speak to you. It is not about me or the baby growing inside me at all, but rather a way to connect with another person on the most basic human level. Like my brother said, “Everyone loves a pregnant broad”. 

To put it simply, the point is grace. 

I need to be better about remembering that these interactions with others are coming from a pure place, or at the very least a place that has absolutely nothing to do with me. But I need to do that always, not just when the questions are in a higher quantity because I am pregnant. As an introvert, it always sends me mentally running for the hills when I can tell a stranger is going to talk to me.

But how am I going to spread God’s love when I make every interaction about me? 

I can’t! Treating others kindly and in a way indicative of my faith is so much more important to me than answering the same questions over and over again is annoying to me. I shouldn’t need to utter a single word regarding my faith but it should be apparent in the way I behave toward others.

Pregnancy is hard and painful and full of curveballs but then so is life. Removing myself from the center of each and every interaction is important now as well as every other day I get to breathe and interact and be a human. I’m thankful for an incredibly easy pregnancy as well as for the experience to have opened my eyes to others in such a powerful way. 

We never really have a clue what another person is actually going through, so grace upon grace is how I aim to treat others. It sure is how I prefer to be treated.

Performing pregnancy is not the point any more than performing humanity is. And if you want to break it down (or have a breakdown) to a person who knows exactly how human you feel, by all means ask me something personal regarding growing another human inside me.

I’ve got you.

Love,
​Ashley

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