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Don't Let Silly Comments Ruin Surprise Pregnancy

May 28, 2000|VICKIE IOVINE

Dear Vicki: I am facing the joys of impending motherhood for the third time. However, the future little bundle's conception occurred almost two years after my husband had a vasectomy! The initial shock is starting to wear away, and we are beginning to look forward to our latest addition.

But I am having a hard time dealing with the reactions of those around me. I am the talk of the ob/gyn department where my doctor works. Every time I go to the office, I feel like I am being paraded about like an abnormal specimen in a jar. Everyone looks and stares. I am constantly barraged with comments like, "Oh, you're Dr. So-and-So's patient."

To make matters worse, our friends, while they know any "hanky-panky" on my part is out of the question (I can barely handle one man, let alone two!) seem to love making jokes about "Wait until it comes out a redhead!" or "What are you going to do if it has the mailman's eyes?" It was funny at first, but now it's just irritating. What can I do? I still have five months to go, and I don't think I can take this the whole time. Help!


Dear Frazzled: Well, if ever a baby wanted to be born, it's this one! As you suggest, you and your husband both know that and are looking forward to this cosmic surprise. Congratulations, both on your pregnancy and on your emotional resilience in dealing with such an unexpected event.

You didn't mention your other kids' ages, but I'm going to guess that, whatever their ages, they have you running pretty ragged--at least enough to have given your husband the intestinal fortitude to undergo his little surgery.

If you feel anything like I did with the third pregnancy, you are probably finding it difficult to even schedule OB appointments, let alone spend too much time planning for decorating the nursery and considering baby names. And now, as if your own personal upheaval weren't enough, you seem to have the world staring at you and your growing belly. Pregnancy is a tribal matter, and society has some primitive interest in joining in, no matter how inappropriate or intrusive.

Just remember how many total strangers came up to you in your first two pregnancies to touch your belly and ask your philosophy about breast-feeding.

Dealing with your friends' comments and those of the public at large are probably two separate issues. You didn't mention this, but I have to assume that your husband appreciates the ever-so-clever remarks about the mailman's genes even less than you do.

I don't think he'd admit it, but I'd bet good money that my own trusting mate would have succumbed to at least one moment of doubt about whether I was really at all those PTA meetings I rushed off to before the dinner dishes were cleared.

So, if it's hard for you to tell your friends that it's irksome to hear the same lame remarks, speak up on behalf of your husband. After all, their jokes are dissing him in some way, no matter how unintentionally.

As for the yokels in the ob/gyn waiting room, you should mention to the doctor, and he or she to the staff, that you feel your doctor-patient privilege has been breached by their discussions about the circumstances of your pregnancy. Unless you are wearing a sign saying "Leaky Vasectomy" on your belly, I don't know how complete strangers would know anything about you.

If personal decency doesn't keep them quiet, the fear of legal repercussions will. Pregnancy is a hard row to hoe, both physically and emotionally, and this won't be as pressing a concern as soon as those hemorrhoids start acting up. So try to ignore the silly commentary and enjoy the fact that you can probably still sleep comfortably for another week or two.

Don't let irritation cloud this miracle for you. It might really be your last visit to the cabbage patch, and you're entitled to find joy and ease whenever the heartburn isn't too distracting. Good luck and Happy Labor Day!


Vicki Iovine may be reached at Iovine is the author of the "Girlfriends' Guide" series of books, as well as parenting correspondent for NBC's "Later Today" and Child and Redbook magazines. Write to her at Girlfriends, Southern California Living, L.A. Times, Times Mirror Square, L.A., CA 90053; e-mail

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