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Why I LOVE NY…no, really

March 28, 2012
Logo design by Christine Hepner

As my friend Suzy always says, New York City is a great place to raise children for so many reasons. And I do agree, 90% of the time. Being pregnant and 50 in NYC had its advantages, too. For example, New Yorkers have seen it all and make fewer assumptions than small-town people, at least in my experience. No one in New York has come right out and said the dreaded “G” word to me, yet. (Grandmother…..)

I was prepared for awkward situations, I thought. At my age, I knew strangers might look at me, especially on the subway, and wonder, “fat or pregnant?” I’ve done it myself! I will stand up and offer my seat (most of the time as long as I haven’t had a horrible day) to older people (and that one is a potential landmine, too) and obviously pregnant women. And the rule of thumb at work now is, “never say the word pregnant to a colleague unless the baby is crowning, and then only if she mentions it first.”

It has also been my experience that the only people who will offer a seat are other women and Latino men (tautological?). So, some time in the late winter of 2011, I was riding the subway home from work. It was one of the rare times that I didn’t get a seat. I found a corner of the car where I could wedge myself between the conductor’s door and the exit door and hang onto the door handle. I noticed two young Mexican guys sitting across from me, and I slowly tuned in on their conversation. My Spanish is limited to kitchen Spanish and some random phrases here and there, but I did pick up the words “encinta” and “gordita” and realized they were discussing whether I was pregnant or fat. I also know the word “vieja.” I would so rather be gorda than vieja. Gorda, I can diet about, vieja, not much I can do. Anyway, I totally understood the dilemma. The one fellow thought I might be pregnant and wanted to offer his seat. His friend thought I was just old and fat and thought offering the seat would only make it clear to me that they thought I was old and so fat that I looked pregnant. Eventually, good manners won the argument, and they did offer me a seat. I took it, and as I sat, I played up the pregnant belly so that they didn’t feel foolish.

On the other hand, one morning I took the subway into work. I had not been in a morning rush in a long time because D had been driving me in, so I was oversensitive to the crowds. At 42nd Street, this otherwise normal-looking older business man type got on, and for some reason, decided that I was the one causing all his misery in life. He started shoving me, apparently because he thought I hadn’t given him enough space. After a few shoves, which I tried to ignore, I decided to call him out. I said in a loud voice, “Excuse me sir, but no matter how many times you shove this pregnant woman, there isn’t going to be any more room.” Did that shame him? Not a fucking bit. He decided to fight with me. I always so admire a man who will pick on a woman traveling alone in NYC, and I pointed that out loudly to him and everyone else near us on the car. I think I might have also speculated on whatever shortcomings he might have that would make him angry enough to shove pregnant women on the subway. Finally a younger (much bigger) man told him to shut up, and he finally did.

Then pretty late in my pregnancy, I was walking on Broadway in mid-afternoon. I stopped for a light on the corner of 76th Street. I was wearing an overcoat and maybe I’d like to think that I really didn’t look obviously pregnant, but that could just be wishful thinking. Anyway, as I waited for the cross signal, I stepped down off the curb into a small hole, and I felt myself tipping over. I was wearing what I thought were sensible shoes, my clogs, but my foot slid in the clog and my ankle buckled, and the next thing you know, I’m down in the gutter rolling on my back like a turtle unable to right itself. Then, the light changed and everyone waiting to cross the street from the other side came towards me. There were probably a dozen or so people, but to me it felt like everyone in Manhattan just saw me fall. And not a single one offered to help! In fact, one man actually walked by and made eye contact with me and made sure that I saw him shake his head in disgust. Everyone assumed I was drunk! I was so embarrassed. Finally, the last person to cross the street was a very young woman with a stroller. She stopped and asked me if I was OK. By this time, I was back on my feet and tearing up a bit. I wasn’t hurt, I was just mortified.

What was really interesting to me was that when I repeated this story, almost every friend of Irish descent (including my mother who has never had a drink in her life) assumed that people thought I was drunk. Everyone else (non-Irish friends and my therapist) said they would have never assumed that a woman falling in the afternoon was drunk. In fact, my therapist who I had been seeing to help me deal with job stress during my pregnancy, really wanted to explore that further.

I wonder what she should make of this: I do know another Spanish word. Borracha!

Next time: The kindest cut of all….

Thanks for following and reading! I’d love to hear your story of IVF. Please leave your comments below.

© 2012

If you’d like a pen, send $3 for shipping to paypal account . Be sure to include your address.

Please comment below!


From → Pregnancy

  1. Another blog that made me laugh. I cant believe nobody helped you up though!


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Thank you so much! And honestly as a new yorker I didn’t even expect help, but the man who went out of his way to look at me with disgust and shake his head at me! that surprised me.


  2. Janet Arce permalink

    This was too funny!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    I would like to buy a few pens too.


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Email your address again, Janet! I have loads of cute boy clothes that are too small now. Very gently used, too. He grew out of them so quickly. I will send them and some pens, too!!! Thanks for reading and commenting. Your boys are just too beautiful btw.


      • Janet Arce permalink

        Thanks! I’ll send you my address. We are more than happy to receive the clothes. My boys are growing like weeds!! I see your little angel and I say to myself, my boys will be like that in no time!


  3. Margaret Hand Cicalese permalink

    I love reading your blog…seems like we’re back in our dorm room being “moles” & telling stories! You are too funny!! Funny but true, I guess! Love to you & D and that gorgeous little precious one that is making all this possible. Luv Ya!


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Those were the days! Thanks for letting me know you are reading! Are you in touch with any of the other girls? xoxo!!!!


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