When I had my first child, people asked me lots of questions about early parenting. They wanted to know how things were going, and who wouldn’t? Childbirth starts with the spawning of a whole new human being inside one’s body cavity and then squeezing it out through a small and private hole between your legs. Then, if all goes well, this new human latches on to some other body parts normally covered by a bathing suit or a piece of practical lingerie. So really, why wouldn’t I want to talk about this at work?

And I did — mostly to the women that I knew and who also already had children. I needed the support, and on the first day back at work, I REALLY needed the support. I had no idea where the unmarked nursing room was in our building, and I felt like my breasts were going to explode. I called two girlfriends who were nursing newborns, but they were busy. Human Resources, who had given me the key to the room, had no idea where it was, of course. I finally found the answer by asking my male boss. So, you never know who might be your ally in a nursing emergency.

When my second child came along, a number of people inquired about the specifics of the birth as well as the care and feeding of this baby. But this time, I had smartened up. I was onto these people. The questions seemed innocent enough, but I could see the looks on their faces. Were they judging me? Or maybe I was having a strong and undiagnosed bout of post-partum paranoia. Either way, I was able to compile a set of questions that a new mother is often asked by inquiring minds at work, in grocery stores and when you pay for parking at the airport. OK that last part never happened. But it could have.

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Sarah writes with sarcasm about science, gender, feminism and fertility issues on her blog sarahanngilbert.com. She is writing a memoir about her experience becoming a parent. Sarah lives in Denver with her wife, two girls and an ungrateful dog. If she had more free time, she would spend it lobbying the state government to make down vests and flip-flops the official uniform of Colorado. You can talk to her on Twitter @sarahanngilbert.

1 Comment

  1. Damn. Here I thought people were being nice, now it turns out I’m an extra on The Walking Dead who shouldn’t have more kids. Actually… that sounds about right.

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