Monday, September 26, 2022
HomeLifestyleYes, I’m Pregnant. No, I Don’t Need Your Thoughts.

Yes, I’m Pregnant. No, I Don’t Need Your Thoughts.

“You guys are both pregnant,” the young man said.

He was maybe in his 20s, younger than us, clean-cut and bright eyed, wearing a baseball cap. He seemed to be bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet, or it might have been the movement of the bus.

“Are you sisters?” he asked.

Lucy ignored him. I shook my head. The bus came to a halt. People started grousing in the back, some asking to be let off, but the driver did that thing of facing forward impassively and pretending not to hear them. Outside all I could see was construction and traffic. I didn’t know where we were. It was the kind of situation where you have to trust that eventually you’ll reach your destination, that everything will be all right, because you can’t control what’s happening and some other authority is in charge. Two months later, when I was in labor at the hospital, in a rush of confusion and medical personnel shouting about problems with the delivery and how to fix them, I would go through a larger, more terrifying version of this same feeling.

I closed my eyes. When I looked up, the young man was still staring at us.

“You guys should do pregnancy porn,” he said.

I put my hand on my belly. “I don’t know about that,” I said.

“You can make good money,” he insisted. “A lot of people are into it.”

I glanced at Lucy, who had adopted the bus driver’s stare-straight-ahead strategy, then back at the young man. He was more earnest than threatening; he seemed like he was sincerely trying to be helpful. “Thanks,” I said.

“Think about it,” he said. “Good luck!”

The bus came to a stop at the L, and he bounded off. Lucy and I got on the train. We both made it home, and later we both had our babies safely and gave them non-nature-energy names. Sometimes we asked each other for advice, but more often we’d tell stories about the weird and unexpected parts of being a mother. At night I’d rock my baby to sleep, thinking about the people he was going to meet in his life, the strange and beautiful life I hoped he’d have.

Alix Ohlin is the author of “We Want What We Want: Stories” and the novels “Dual Citizens” and “Inside,” among other books.

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