I’ve been pretty relaxed during my pregnancy in that I’ve been quite happy to play Buddha and let anyone who feels the need give my tummy a rub. I’ve also been pretty good about listening politely to random ladies when they tell me their pregnancy stories. But there was an incident while Col and I were on our babymoon, which I feel took advantage of my open-minded state.
We were in queue at Mr Price buying Col some tracksuit pants. In front of us was a rather scruffy looking fellow with a much neater looking wife and child in tow. After a few minutes this gent turned to Col and said, ‘Dude, you showed your crack to the world when you tried on those pants.’ Col had tried the pants on over his shorts in the aisle, an event clearly witnessed by our queue-friend. He opted for humour in the awkward situation (feeling that perhaps he’d been in the wrong) and made some light-hearted comment. Taking this as an invitation, the bloke then turned to me and said, ‘When are you due?’ ‘End of September,’ said I. ‘What date exactly?’ said he. ‘The twenty-fifth,’ said I (wondering why my previous answer hadn’t sufficed). ‘Are you having a natural birth?’ said he. ‘Yes, I’d like to,’ said I (now feeling he was being a tad over eager).
Feeling a little desperate, I started looking around for an escape. The tills were taking ages to process their customers and the queue behind us had grown substantially in the interim. We were trapped. ‘Are you having the baby in Ballito?’ was the next question launched at us. Col explained that we were just down on holiday. ‘Oh, so I won’t know your doctor then,’ the chap mused. ‘No,’ I replied, with a touch of frost in my voice. ‘What pain relief are you considering?’ he asked next. ‘I haven’t decided yet,’ said I, hoping a vague answer would end the pain of this conversation. ‘Well, you really must remember to have warm bath. It eases the pain of contractions and helps your cervix dilate for the delivery. Oh, and about epidurals …’ At this point Col was muttering, ‘Did this man really just start talking about dilating cervixes?’ while I was glancing at his wife in disbelief hoping she’d stop him. She merely smiled at me encouragingly.
Mercifully a till opened up, and the wanna-be midwife had to move on. Col and I stood in absolute shock while he paid for his items. Once he was safely out the door, we dissolved into hysterical laughter and didn’t recover for hours. It seems one should never outgrow certain childhood lessons, and I’ve been a lot more wary of talking to strangers since!