Oh Baby, No Baby?

I’m not pregnant. 

Let’s just get that out of the way now, shall we?

For some reason, Stereotypical gender roles indicate that, because I’m 34 years old, I should be well on the way to motherhood by now…but that’s just not the case. Still, my fertility (or lack thereof), and the fertility of all women, is always up for discussion. But I don’t have to tell you we have no boundaries when it comes to women’s bodies, do I?

Even when it’s asked with love, “When are you going to have a baby?” is an inescapable and frustrating question for so many women. There are a bazillion layers to dissect here, so just for today’s blog post, I’m going to focus on the part that hit me the hardest last year: sharing big news.

Shockingly enough, a woman in her thirties can have news to share that isn’t related to having a baby.

When I was going to share the news about our move to Baltimore last summer, I chose my words very carefully. Like, I practiced how I was going to tell people because I knew – I just knew – that if I buried the lede even the slightest bit, folks were going to jump to the pregnancy conclusion.

Think about it. If a woman of “childbearing age” starts an announcement with “I have news…” where does the mind jump? I mean, even the word announcement evokes images of baby bumps and showers and maternity leave.

Still, I had high hopes for my enlightened, feminist friends and colleagues as I prepared to give notice of my international relocation.

I phrased my news as such:

“So, Paul got a new job and we’re moving to Baltimore!”

The response?

“What? Oh, I thought you were going to tell me you’re pregnant!”

Bob's Face Palm

What do you even say to that? Ummmm, nope. Not pregnant, just preparing to leave my job, sell my home, and move to another country, so…NBD, eh?

I’m not talking about one or two individuals here either. With the exception of my nearest and dearest who already knew my in/fertility situation (more on that in a future post), there were a lot of responses of this nature.

It was frustrating because I really thought I had set myself up for news-sharing, baby-avoiding success by phrasing my move the way I had. I was also disappointed that even the most progressive, staunch feminist, liberal minded people still felt the need to share with me that they were expecting a baby announcement.

Now, I don’t blame these people for going there. And I know the question wasn’t intended in any way to be hurtful or even prying. Some even said it offhandedly: “oh, you seemed like you were going to tell me something else – like that you were pregnant.” But the fact remains that we as a society have got to stop being so obtuse when it comes to sensitive and personal questions about women’s bodies.

So, the next time a female friend says she’s got something to share, consider maybe that she’s up for a promotion, or that she just had something published, or that she found the absolute best new pizza place in town. Aren’t all those things worthy of celebration too?

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Just Another Dumb Tourist

I’m confident in the water. I grew up as a competitive swimmer before becoming a lifeguard, teacher, and coach. I even spent some time teaching water aerobics. I have no problem hopping into a lake for swim – though I despise leeches, I’ll deal with ripping one off as needed. When it comes to ocean beaches, I’m usually the first one in and the last one out. I love the water and I’m a huge proponent of water safety.

I’ve spent many hours on the beaches of Atlantic Canada, down through to South Carolina and Florida. I thought I knew a thing or two about jellyfish…how to spot them, how to avoid them, etc.

After several summers of sea time on the beautiful beaches of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, I learned how to recognize a mild* jellyfish sting. They look like a long scratch most times (like that from a cat) and while they do burn, they aren’t generally worth making too big of a fuss over.

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Arctic Red jellyfish – the jellies commonly found on the beaches of Prince Edward Island. http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/12209781

So, it turns out I’ve only ever seen White Moon and Arctic Red jellyfish.

Ever the blogger – even especially when on vacation – my sister, Erin, and I had been traipsing around looking for the best insta-worthy photo ops.

Check out this shot. Gorgeous, eh?

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In this picture, I’m concerned about capturing the beautiful blue sky and the gorgeous coastal vista…and I’m completely oblivious to the fact that I’m inches, INCHES away from a Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish.

Take a closer look.

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Total dumb tourist.

As I was approaching the rock outcrop for my photo shoot, I saw a blue plastic water bottle floating in the water. I thought to myself, “what a shame that there’s plastic floating in this beautiful, clear water” and I even considered grabbing it to throw in the trash when I went back to the beach.

I’m not sure what stopped me but I forgot about that plastic for a minute and did a few silly poses for my sister before swimming deeper into the waves for some body surfing time, while Erin retired her photography for some tanning in the hot sun.

It wasn’t until I had dried off later that afternoon when she turned to me and said “I have to tell you something…” Apparently a local had warned her that she wasn’t to go into the water near that spot because of the dangerous nature of those jellyfish. He even said that he was surprised to see “that girl” (me, the idiot) being so cavalier to pose for pictures next to it.

Fortunately, the local resorts actually work to remove this species of jellys when they’re in the high-traffic swimming areas. Obviously, though, nature, “uh, finds a way.”

I was horrified. HORRIFIED. How did I become such a cliche? Me? I’m Ms. Feet-First-First-Time! I’m the one who tells parents not to let their kids use flotation devices when the tide is going out. I’m the most annoying, water-safety woman around. I could not — and still cannot — believe it.

In my only, pathetic defense, the thing REALLY looked like a plastic bottle. In fact, they’re also known as Blue Bottle jellyfish…so…there…

The lesson to be learned is that we are all naive and dumb when we travel to new places. Experience doesn’t always translate. Be aware and be safe. If you’ve never been somewhere, educate yourself and take necessary safety precautions. Take a look around you before you start your instagram photo shoot. Your safety is more important than a funny picture.

Don’t be me. Don’t be just another dumb tourist!

* The irritation of the sting of an Arctic red can be treated easily with the nearby sand. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/securite-safety/animaux-wildlife

Man-of-War Jellyfish, close up pic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/p/portuguese-man-of-war/

 

Design

My Pumpkin Spiced Nightmare

I’ve never been particularly enamoured with pumpkin. The only exception I can recall is a delicious pumpkin ice cream pie that my aunt used to make for family gatherings.

When I first tried the now-infamous pumpkin spiced latte in 2010, I was immediately turned off by the weird peachy colour and sweet pumpkin taste. Because of this, I was – and continue to be – shocked by the meteoric rise in popularity.

But hey, drink what you love!

I shouldn’t be surprised by how many other brands have jumped on the trend and yet, there are SO MANY pumpkin-flavoured products in the aisles these days. It’s insanity!

When did October become a pumpkin spiced hellscape?

You think I’m kidding around?

Some products, granted, make sense to have autumnal flavours.

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But others are totally bizarre! Pumpkin milk? Pumpkin margarine? Are you joking?

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And if you think this trend isn’t bleeding into non-food avenues, you haven’t witnessed the horror that is this pumpkin spice latte handbag.

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I’m a fan of Betsey Johnson, but this is so not my cup of tea (or coffee, for that matter)!

Please, someone wake me up from this cinnamon scented nightmare!

What’s the most unnecessarily pumpkin product you’ve spotted this season?

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