Hey, Other Pregnant Ladies!

Hey, other pregnant ladies, quit avoiding my gaze.

All I want to do is chat you up, find out how many weeks pregnant you are and maybe talk some shop — you know, where you’re delivering, what you take for heartburn, what you think of cord blood banking and the new iPhone app that times contractions.

I just want to be friends, pregnant strangers.

I’ve never done this baby thing before, and I’m always hoping we’re going to see each other, do a secret handshake and have a moment.

However, it seems you gestational types aren’t that into me. For a while, I tried to smile at you when I saw you in line at the movies or feeding your meter or buying groceries. I tried to look welcoming, but you looked right past me, and off I went with my tail between my crampy legs.

It’s not like you don’t see me. I’m the one who looks like a physics problem, like I shouldn’t be able to stand upright without toppling over. At first, I wanted to assure you that I wasn’t just carrying my weight in a very unfortunate manner, so I would rub my stomach in that ginger way only pregnant women do. But no dice. You and your fetus snubbed my fetus and me.

The truth is, I’ve been a social disaster most of my life, so I’m not unfamiliar with the sensation. I just can’t figure out why this dismissal is so pronounced.

Honestly, if we ran into each other wearing the same shoes or carrying the same handbag, we would probably at least look at each other and chuckle and maybe say, “Nice purse,” or “You have great taste.” A richly hued and hilarious interaction it would not be. But a human connection, yes.

If I were walking a mini-schnauzer and so were you, we would stop and have a chat about our doggies, compare schnauzer notes. Arguably, an entire friendship could spring forth from this one, shared characteristic. If we were both wearing Phillies hats or driving Mini-Coopers or reading “Eat, Pray, Love” at The Coffee Bean, there would be a warm interaction. But both heading into childbirth (big deal) and motherhood (biggest deal ever), and nada.

Important point: This pregnant girl snubbing only pertains to complete strangers.

I have now made three new friends simply because we are all pregnant at the same time and mutual acquaintances hooked us up. I love these moms-to-be, and seeing them feels so right and comfortable that even when we don’t get together, we end up texting and e-mailing all day.

I’m more pregnant than two of the girls, giving me a few extra weeks of wisdom, which is a luxury in a situation that is so new I mainly feel like a bloated dunce who is constantly faced with decisions she can’t understand: I’m 33 weeks pregnant and have yet to choose a hospital, a name for the baby boy or even a brand of nipple pads. I’m lost and sometimes euphoric, as well as 40 pounds heavier, three cup sizes bigger and 20 degrees hotter than I ever was.

Pregnant ladies who walk right by me on the sidewalk and turn away like I’m about to make you sign a petition about saving marine life, I know you can relate.

So I can only imagine there is some sort of animal kingdom thing at play here.

When I see you out and about, I sense you getting protective about your personal space and your baby. Maybe this is insane, but it’s almost like I represent a threat, another mother bear that might somehow compromise your safety or shrink your available resources. Is there something evolutionary going on, as in, that lady better not get more shelter, berries, attention or protection from strong males in the tribe?

In the classic horror movie “When a Stranger Calls,” the most chilling moment is when cops tell the terrorized babysitter, “The call is coming from inside the house.” There is a decent chance that this call is coming from inside the house, the house being my own haunted mind. Either I am unknowingly giving off a cold vibe that freaks out the women I’m trying to befriend, or I’m reading into this parade of pregnant girls some animosity that doesn’t exist.

Like I said, my social skills have never been great.

In the end, this could all be solved with an ice-breaking secret handshake. Or if that’s too intimate, maybe we just throw up a sign — one finger per trimester, sideways, OG style — and know for a sly, passing moment that we’re in the same crew.

Teresa Strasser is an Emmy-winning television writer and a multimedia personality. She is the author of a new book, “Exploiting My Baby,” the rights to which have been optioned by Sony Pictures. To find out more about Teresa Strasser and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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