I was at Tim Horton’s a few days ago. I know, could I be more Canadian? My husband and I were waiting in line to get a bagel. A woman walked right in front of me so that she could see what donuts they had. She then went over to her husband to tell him what kind she wanted. The first thing I noticed about her was that she had a rather rude demeanor. Just the way she invaded my personal space and spoke to her husband. She just didn’t seem like someone I would want to spend anytime with. And then I saw it. The belly. She was definitely pregnant. With her second child, as her husband was holding a toddler in his arms.
Okay, fine. Whatever. I have come to accept that I cannot go ANYWHERE without seeing a pregnant woman, or an adorable newborn. That is the reality of life. Depending on where I am on the infertility roller coaster, sometimes I just blink hard and move on. Sometimes I feel a pain in my chest that lingers for a few moments. Sometimes I can’t hold it in and I start to cry (always silently).
On that particular day I took the middle ground – a heavy heart but no tears. I thought about how that doughnut request was probably an example of a pregnancy craving. Her husband probably realized it too and looked upon her lovingly as he knew this was all part of the pregnancy package. That wonderful hormonal woman was going to deliver their baby. I thought about how badly I wanted to share that woman’s cravings: bring on the deep fried pickles dipped in peanut butter! But I didn’t have any weird food cravings. The one thing I was craving could not be ordered at Tim Horton’s drive thru, or satisfied with a late night run to the grocery store.
So far there is nothing exceptional about this story. We have all been there. But then I walked outside to our car and saw that little family again. The father was putting the toddler into her car seat in their nice SUV. What I saw next floored me. The pregnant mother was standing outside the SUV – having a CIGARETTE!!! I did a double take. Maybe I was mistaken and she wasn’t really pregnant. Maybe she just had an odd belly fat distribution. Nope! There was no way that was not a pregnant belly. I was shocked and disgusted. This woman was carrying the miracle of life within her and didn’t care enough to stop smoking????
Now, I am not a smoker nor have I ever been one. I understand that it would be very difficult to quit. But c’mon. You have a life growing inside you. And this is your second child, which means this is probably the second opportunity you have to quit smoking. You are also clearly middle class with a support structure. This was not a 14 year old girl who accidentally got pregnant and doesn’t have the maturity or resources to make some lifestyle changes! This was a middle-class woman in her late 20s/early 30s who has a family that she presumably chose to have.
So, we drove off and I started to cry. What I really wanted to do was go yell at that woman for her ungrateful and reckless behavior. I know my anger towards most pregnant women is unfair. They aren’t doing anything wrong. But the smoking belly was. With every puff she seemed to be mocking me saying “you are exhausting all of your mental, physical and financial resources to try and get what I have yet I couldn’t care less about what is growing inside me.” And there was nothing I could do about it. So, I ate my bagel and planned out this blog post.