Friday, February 28, 2014

33 weeks

After a very long absence, I've decided to resume blogging. I have my friend Emily to thank for that. Our recent conversation went something like this:

"So, I know you aren't on Facebook now. . . but what about Instagram?"

I shook my head.

"Do you use Snapchat?" she asked.

"Mmm, what's that? I have a Pinterest account! I don't use it, but I have one!" I answered enthusiastically. She wasn't fooled.

"Have you written on any of your blogs recently?"

My head hung in shame, "Umm, no, but I probably should."

My internet usage has slowly diminished to little more than checking email, making Skype calls, and binge watching American TV shows. Pregnancy seems like the perfect excuse to not do much of anything, but I feel like I'm letting an opportunity slip by. Pregnancy and parenthood in China is chalk full of interesting antecedents and I should be sharing them. If not for anyone else, then for my future self.

I'm well on my way into my third trimester and the past couple weeks have been somewhat trying. Luckily, I haven't suffered much physically, but mentally, some days are a struggle. I am showing, which somehow gives everyone a free pass to comment on my weight, food and beverage choice, exercise regimen, etc. This is probably true anywhere in the world, but the Chinese in particular seem to enjoy liberally doling out free advice.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, advice is given openly and often to anyone who will listen--relative, friend, or complete stranger--under the guise of concern and helpfulness. In fact, it was this very sort of two-cents offering that brought Ming and I together. His first words to me involved a critique of my ability to lift free weights. It was annoying then, but at least he was cute. It's even more aggravating when the advice giver is a middle-aged lady waiting in line behind me for the ATM.

Her issue?


disease-ridden mongrel
To her utter disgust and horror, I was holding a dog while visibly pregnant. Of the all the beliefs most Chinese people hold about pregnancy, the one that may bother me most is that animals and pregnant ladies are a dangerous combination. Evidently, all animals are germ-carrying, disease-laden creatures that may cause you and your fetus grave harm. What harm? I'm still trying to get a straight answer to that question.

What I find most troubling is that this belief is entirely contrary to what Western medicine has found--that exposure to animals during pregnancy and babyhood is actual beneficial to a child's immune system and may help prevent the development of allergies. Unfortunately, my Chinese is not yet good enough to argue this point clearly, rather swear just words come to mind.  But this time I managed to (pretty much) keep my cool, curtly telling the woman to mind her business. Despite her protests, I continued holding my dirty dog. I then went up to the ATM terminal, angrily pushing the germ and disease covered buttons.