So a colleague who’s not my favorite of the bunch asked me at a lunch today how I’d been feeling. I said, “Fine.” He said, “Really? Was your other pregnancy easy too?” Noting in my head that I’d said I felt fine, not that anything was easy, I continued, “Oh you know, it was a pregnancy, it was fine.” He said, “Well, you know not all women have easy pregnancies. For some it’s hard.” I said, “Yeah, I know,” and picked up my water glass and said something to someone else. Should I have revealed more? Should I have identified myself with these other nameless “not all women.” He has a wife and two adult children, perhaps she’s one of them. But I didn’t feel like it.
Something I’ve learned over the past five years–I don’t have to out myself among everyone everywhere. I can keep my shell on when and where and with whom I want to and that’s okay. Sometimes I tell a random stranger we have a dead child. Sometimes I tell them I’ve spent a year and a half of my life essentially alone looking at ceilings and/or computer screens. Sometimes I don’t. If he brings it up again, I’m going to look him in the eyes and tell him, “If at the end of the pregnancy, both the baby and I are alive, I call that a good one.”
Someone else might tell him I’ve been on partial bed rest all semester. It might come up. And then I suppose he’ll wonder why I didn’t tell him. And I don’t care at all.