Just before we left California, I met one of my neighbors at the mailboxes. She was shocked after asking “the question” to discover that, in fact, I am not pregnant. After all these years, I finally came up with a response to put people at ease. I told her that I really need another major surgery to repair this deformity, but I’m not willing to risk my life when it’s more fun to watch people squirm after blurting out the question.
Of all the strangers who have innocently inquired about my baby-that-isn’t, this woman had the nicest comeback. Without a blush or apology (the usual reaction), she said, “I just noticed how you are so happy and glowing, that I assumed you had been blessed with a late life surprise, and I wanted to rejoice with you.”
In case you ever make the mistake of asking a non-expectant woman this horrible question, please concoct a similarly gracious reply.
What gives me hope is that on a good day, people respond to the evident beauty of Christ reflected in my life, wrinkles and poochy stomach and all. Little by little, I am gaining victory over my sin and flesh, and learning to apply the power of the gospel even in the mundane struggles of life. The fact that I was not embarrassed helped the mailbox lady to be at ease after her “bloop.” She wasn’t even apologetic. I love that.
Rejoicing over this blow to my usual sin of vanity, it seemed a contradiction to then attend a formal social gathering where appropriate MOG* (see sidebar) attire required me to squeeze into that torture contraption known as “shapewear.” Ugh. Even then the dress did not fit properly.
My mom always says, “You can’t have looks and comfort.” In this case I achieved neither, and I have serious regrets. I enjoyed watching my husband and kids enjoy themselves and each other, but I was too physically miserable to enter into the fray at the reception. For that I am sorry.
There, I said it. Keeping it real. The dress will not be worn in Mexico or anywhere else. I’m dumping it at Goodwill this week. Next time I will wear a tent if necessary, just so I can breathe and be myself. By then, maybe I will obviously be old enough to avoid “the question.”
From my summer reading program, I recommend these for your Amazon wish list:
- Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, by Jerry Bridges
- When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man, by Edward T. Welch
- The Gospel Primer, Milton Vincent
- Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, by Paul David Tripp