My best friend at work is pregnant. She’s had two abortions in the past, but now that she’s married and has a great job, she and her husband have decided that they’re ready. She’s psyched, except for the part where she’s throwing up every 5 minutes… other than that, though, she’s very excited. She found out at 5 weeks, and since I have some sort of supernatural ability to know when people are pregnant, I told her that I already knew, asked her if she was happy about it, and when she said “Yes!” I hugged her and teared up a bit.
She’s had some interesting experiences so far, aside from the normal morning sickness and food aversions. Everyone that she’s told (at work, when you’re puking, you sort of have to share that kind of information) has had a slightly different reaction. Most women hug her, or shriek excitedly. Most men have no idea what to do, and simply smile and say congratulations. Everything seems to go well until she calls it “her little sea-monkey.” No one, except for her and me, seems to think that this nickname is cute. We both have, I guess, a sick sense of humor, or so we are learning.
She calls it a sea-monkey because it had a tail (from week 5-week 9). It also doesn’t look much different from the embryo of any other animal (chicken, fish, dog, human), and we’ve referred to it by many names… “little lizard,” “baby grape” (referring to it’s size), and a few others. We kept those other names mostly private, especially since she got such a terrible reaction to her “sea-monkey” nickname. At the very least, most people look disgusted or confused when she calls it a sea-monkey. One person ever went so far as to yell at her, telling her that it’s a human and she should be treating it that way.
First, we were shocked. Second, we thought this reaction was hilarious. I mean, really, it’s HER pregnancy. Third, I reassured this individual that my colleague, a surfer and a competitive swimmer, meant the nickname to refer to the activities that her child will likely be involved with. That calmed them down, and we were able to move on relatively pleasantly.
I think, since my work-wife (as we lovingly refer to each other) and I are pretty liberal, that we are not bothered by the fact that this little fetus (as it is now, in week 10) was an undifferentiated ball of cells not long ago. Neither of us refers to it as a “baby” yet. We probably won’t until she’s into her second trimester, at the earliest. The colleague who got upset about the nickname is notoriously conservative and religious. He signs all of his emails “God Bless,” and he sang a gospel hymn at our Christmas party last year. I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised by his reaction… but we were anyway. It’s funny how personal other people get with acquaintances’ pregnancies.
Anyway, we still refer to her fetus as “the sea-monkey” and I can’t wait for her to start getting sonograms. She doesn’t regret her other abortions and she feels so much better prepared now, at 28, than she did at 19 and 22 to have children. She’s happy she waited to have her baby, and she couldn’t be more ready now.