Luis: ¿Como está Paola? ¿Como va su embarazo? (How is Paola? (René´s wife) How is the pregnancy going?)
René: Bien, normal … (good, as would be expected)
Joan: body turned toward computer as though in deep concentration, however if you were listening carefully you would have heard the hydraulic of her internal satellite dish reorienting to fix itself directly over these two guys that seem to heading toward thin ice.
René: (continuing with a tone of exasperated authority as though covering well trod territory): “….quejandose acerca del dolor en su cadera …. pero pasa así … el bebé crece más rapido en el primer trimestre que en los otros y las caderas necesitan expandirse para acomodar la creatura.” (…..complaining about the pain in her hips, but that´s the way it is, the baby grows faster and bigger in the first trimester than in any other and the hips need to expand in order to accommodate the baby.)
Luis (Bio: neither father, gynecologist nor obstetrician): “¿Está con nausea y mal humor? Siempre es así con todos los cambios en el cuerpo y por las hormonas.” (Is she nauseous and crabby? With all the changes in her body because of the hormones, it´s always like that.)
René: “No con nausea pero con dolor de la cabeza y siempre está pensando, con cada sensacion en el cuerpo, que algo malo está pasando pero yo le dije que todo lo que está sentiendo es normal.” (No, she doesn’t have nausea, but she does have headaches and with every little thing she feels she thinks that something is wrong but I told her that she is feeling what all pregnant women feel.)
Luis: “Sí es así. Ellas necesitan mucho consuelo, como niñas” (Yah, that’s the way it is. They need a lot of reassurance, like little girls.)
Joan: (rrrrrrrrr, sound of satellite returning to it’s original position)
Now one might conclude that what was said was not nearly as bad as what my first husband said to me. (In fact it was a series of these that lead him to receiving the number before his title) When #1 heard me recounting to a friend how utterly painful labor was he said in all honest to god seriousness; “You weren’t in pain! Giving birth is like having the biggest orgasm possible.” (What? Hello? You weren’t in that room with me? Oh ya that’s right, you kept trying to sneak out to get something to eat! You were the one experiencing discomfort and pain. You must have missed my screaming and crying out and begging for a cesarean! ) To this ridiculous myth deserving sure and immediate death I retorted; “Yeah, “big” in the same way pooping out an 8 lb watermelon is.”
So it wasn’t that bad what Luis and René had to say. Still, there was an irritating attitude of ‘all-knowing’ as these guys discussed what it was like to be pregnant. I am THERE, in the room with them, natural birth mother of two, listening in … and not even a ceremonial consultation for accuracy. Man …. But do you know what was the first thing that came to my mind? It was NOT that all men every where act as if they had been female in a previous life, because this is a truly perplexing and horrifying universal phenomenon across cultures. NO! Instead, the first thing I thought was; “Oh my gosh. They are speaking in Spanish about this because they don’t want me to know what they are saying. They know that they are fools and they know that I would totally bust them if I heard what they were saying so all boys-clubby like. They don’t think that I can understand them!”
Yes, it was insecurity over my Spanish! Can you believe that! My “I am woman, hear me roar”, took a back seat to what I perceived as their critique of my Spanish! Rather than being amused (I’m too old to be outraged at this kinda stuff anymore) by the universal folly men seem to demonstrate about all things female, I was instead completly crushed about what I thought, they thought about my Spanish.
Holy cow, I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it a thousand times more …. three steps forward, one step back. (But psst…lean in a little…..would you think me petty and childish if I were to tell you that I felt a little better this morning when Luis asked me; “What does it mean to ‘jump sheep’?” Biting the inside of my mouth I said with all the respect I could muster; “That’s ‘jump ship’ honey, ‘jump ship’. Seguimos adelante, Joan