Kindness and Swagger–A Pregnant Physician’s Perspective Part III by Ilene Goldstein, M.D.

Gentoo Penguin walking on the Beach. Bertha's Beach. Falkland Islands.

So I officially have that “waddle” thing going on. By the end of each day, it looks like a bonifide limp.  I wish we called it the pregnancy “saunter” or maybe even “swagger”, something that sounds a little less like the movements of a large marine mammal.  I now weigh more than my husband, a title in the household I never aspired to achieve.  But, us type-A folks do like to be the best at everything (or so people have told me!) so, i’ll expect my trophy in the mail any day now.  In the last few weeks, I’ve gone from “Is she pregnant? I can’t tell so I better not ask…” to “Wow, that baby must be due any day now!”

What I’ve noticed during that transition is how much people love pregnant women!  I suppose I’m so accustomed to seeing oodles of pregnant women every single day that it’s become my normal.  Now that I AM the pregnant woman, I realize how the rest of the world sees us, and they LOVE US!  People smile at me without provocation.  I’ve been told how pretty I look by perfect strangers.  I’ve been offered help out to my car from the market.  Everyone inquires how I feel, whether I know the gender, if I’ve selected a name – and by everyone I mean people with whom I’ve never previously exchanged more than a hello in the elevator.  I caught several people watching my husband and I jamming to live music on the boardwalk last weekend. It’s certainly possible they were staring in disbelief at the  very poor dancing skills of two middle-aged-rhythmless–souls but their smiles gave it away. People love pregnant women!  As far as I can tell, it isn’t selective.  It’s not only men or women, elderly or young, it’s everyone.  My hunch is that it is not directly related to the curve of the belly, the glow of the expanding cheeks, or the “swagger”, but that the pregnancy itself is a symbol of hope.  Perhaps seeing a pregnant woman triggers memories of a fond personal experience.  Or perhaps it is the recollection of the sleepless nights and we all know misery loves company!   Regardless, I have appreciated being on the receiving end of such kindness. Sadly, the word on the street is that it’s also quite transient.  I anticipate as my belly deflates and my glow is replaced by dark circles, we will all return to avoiding eye contact in the market and playing on our phones in the elevator.  I would be happy to be proven wrong, and I am going to try to incorporate the love and kindness I’ve received into my post-pregnancy world.  However, I’m also going to apply it to all the non-preggo’s out there.  Everyone deserves to experience unbridled kindness…at least for 9 months!  Stay tuned for my next chapter on activity in pregnancy. Can’t wait to show you what I’ve been up to! – Ilene

Ilene Goldstein, M.D. is an ob/gyn physician with Virginia Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC.  She practices in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, VA.  She and her husband, Len Futerman, DDS, are expecting their first daughter in November, 2015.