Pregnancy has definitely been a roller coaster of adventures. For one, the belly gives all sorts of random perks: people holding the door open for you, letting you cross the street without trying to run you over, etc. Those have been fun.
Towards the beginning of the pregnancy there was something else that at first kind of annoyed me, but now I actually really enjoy and is something I’m truly going to miss: the instant conversation starter!
Never before have I had so many random people start conversations with me, whether at Staples waiting to print pictures, checking out at the grocery store, buying something at the mall, or depositing a check at the bank. At first I was a little annoyed at having to answer the standard questions over and over again (“how far along?” “do you know what it is yet?” “is it a boy or a girl?” “is this your first?” “are you excited?”), but I realized that 1) it’s kind of shitty to be annoyed over something like that, and 2) people were genuinely interested, which started making me genuinely happy after the first few months.
After I got over this minor annoyance, I started paying attention to how frequently this happened. I’m sure the growing belly helped as well, since people were beyond the “is she pregnant or just has a beer gut” kind of thing (we’ve all been there…). After the initial questions, some people would start to share about their children, how many they have, how old they are, how quickly they grow up, etc. I’ve really enjoyed this! I love that complete strangers are willing to open up and have a personal conversation with me. All that was needed was a visual sign that we have something in common, or will have.
It makes me a little sad to think about how many connections and conversations are never had because there is no visual sign of that interconnectedness that we probably have with so many people. I probably have walked by people who have traveled to Guatemala, have a passion for non-profits or traveling, have been to Machu Picchu, have read my favorite book, worked at Starbucks and have a crazy story or two about a regular customer, etc. Think of all the interesting conversations you could have if you knew the person standing in line next to you at the grocery store was also interested in the differences between The Walking Dead show and the comic! In our society we are so focused on the comings and goings of our own lives, rushing from one place to the next, or checking our phones for the latest updates from our friends on Facebook, that I wonder if this even crosses our minds. Or we’re too shy to reach out and start a random conversation with a stranger. It blows my mind.
I know this is probably a very obvious conclusion, but I honestly hadn’t thought about it until now, until I have this perfect sign and conversation starter, until I realized what I was missing out on.
On the plus side, I still have another couple weeks to chat up complete strangers. Who knows, maybe babies are just as awesome of a conversation starter as a big belly!