Since Mr K was born, I’ve had the pleasant experience of people falling over themselves to help me when I go out in public with him. They hold doors open for us, clear paths for us, and spring up from their seats to offer them to me. I even had an elderly lady help me haul the pram (and the grumpy baby therein) onto the bus today. It’s great!
I can’t help but feel a little frustrated on behalf of my former self, though. When I was pregnant, it was a different story completely. I had a grand total of two people offer me seats during the whole forty weeks (and two days), and both of them (a mother with a baby and a very old lady) were in need of seats themselves. There’s nothing like catching the bus on what is supposed to be your due date and STILL not being able to get a seat.
While the pram can be a bit of a pain to lug around, doors present a strange new challenge and I feel even more anxious about taking up too much space in petite Japan than I usually do, I am physically fine. Yes, I’m tired – sometimes very tired – but I otherwise feel pretty much like myself. I wouldn’t say managing Mr. K in public is necessarily easy, but it’s something I feel capable of doing.
When I was pregnant, though? I felt crap almost from the outset. It was nine months of extreme fatigue, physically and mentally, not to mention the morning sickness and aching body. I might not have felt utterly incapable of getting myself around, but it frequently meant summoning reserves of energy and exerting extra effort.
I know it can be hard to tell if someone’s pregnant or not sometimes and there’s a risk of awkwardness (Japan doesn’t have that excuse, by the way – pregnant women have been getting the above-pictured tags issued by their cities for their bags, which clearly state the woman is pregnant, since 2007). While I’m not ungrateful and I don’t wish to sound it, if I could choose between getting those little acts of kindness right now and back then, I would be choosing pregnancy.