Thursday, 31 January 2013

Pregnant Women are Smug

DISCLAIMER: Firstly, not all pregnant women are smug, and if you survive infertility hell and become pregnant or are an adoptive parent, you have earned the right to be smug. The title references a song from the folk duo Garfunkel and Oates who are sort of a female version of Flight of the Concords. They sing about everything from the ease of accessing medical marijuana, the inability to perform a good hand job and unexpected pleasures whilst go-kart racing. This particular song was inspired when one member was visiting with three pregnant friends and one asked her "So, what do you even do all day?" Perplexed by the question, but before she could even respond, the Smug Pregnant Friend (SPF) interjected, "I can't remember what I even did before I was pregnant, as it all seems so meaningless..." I highly recommend watching the Youtube Clip of their performance if you need a good laugh, and can relate to having an SPF who seems to reference her pregnancy every chance she can (you know, just in case you forgot) or who subtlety implies that her life is superior to yours now that she's great with child.  Again, not all pregnant women are smug, but it's great that someone called out the ones who are.

I first discovered Garfunkel and Oates and this song while randomly flipping channels and stumbled on their featured performance on Comedy Central's Half Hour Comedy show just a week or two before I flew out for Myrtle's shower. I watched the clip on my phone before the shower started and I sung the song in my head at times during the shower. To be fair, with the exception of one moment, Myrtle really wasn't smug at all during her pregnancy. When she came out to visit, she explained that she takes her prenatal vitamin during dinner and placed the bottle on my dinning room table and asked me to remind her to take it. Well, on the first night we went out to eat and returned home around 11 pm, when she discovered that she hadn't taken her vitamin. Her first response was to blame me for not reminding her. I simply pointed out that it wasn't time sensitive like birth control pills and she could just take it now (and shut up). She protested that she couldn't as she had already brushed her teeth (?) and she continued to chastise her husband and mine individually for not reminding her about her vitamin. Geez, were we going to have to prompt her to feed the baby once he or she arrives? Seriously, why couldn't she just have quietly taken the damn vitamin. She was one more mention away from having the line "Maybe the Dingo ate your bab-ah" thrown at her. Maybe I was being over sensitive, but I suddenly felt like such a loser for diligently taking my prenatal vitamin when I wasn't even pregnant.

Anyway, this post was inspired by my interaction with the most smug pregnant woman that I have ever met, which considering how many pregnant women I interact with everyday is saying something. I was attending Husband's company holiday party. I feel this requirement should be included in the marital vows: Do you take thee in sickness and in health and agree to spend an awkward evening with a bunch of people that you don't know, don't have any common interests and the food may or may not be any good? I had wandered over to the food table where I was soon joined by two other women. One was approximately 6-7 months pregnant and she looked as if she was in her mid, if not late 40s. My first thought was that she probably had many years of infertility issues and now was finally expecting her rainbow baby. The other woman was gushing all over her pregnancy, so the pregger gave her all her details. This was her third and she was 44. When she mentioned the ages of her other children, I quickly did the math in my head. She had her first when she was 39, second at 41 and now third at 44 or 45 depending on how old she would be at the time of delivery. Wow, thanks to science, I thought to myself, but was wrong again. She went on to describe that all her conceptions were spontaneous. When she and her husband first tried, they succeeded on their second or third attempt. When that baby was a year old, her Ob/Gyn advised her to try as soon as possible if she wanted a possible second and she conceived that month. They debated about having a third for a while, but once they made the decision to take the plunge, she stopped breastfeeding and conceived two months later. Now I was truly impressed, I don't think I've ever had a patient with two spontaneous (and successful) pregnancies after the age of 40. I could almost allow her to be a little smug with that accomplishment. However, she took it to a whole new level. "I'm living proof that you can do it," she started to explain "You can wait to start your family later in life." If she didn't already comprehend how rare her situation was, she expressed how oblivious she was, "I don't understand how people struggle with fertility. You just have to understand the science and get the timing right."

 We weren't trying to conceive at that time, but as a professional in women's health, I was extremely offended by her lack of sensitivity and oh, say general awareness. I usually don't reveal what I do for a living at these functions, as I've got into some heated arguments regarding some of the more controversial topics in women's health and I feel that I have to be on good behaviour as these are husband's colleagues. However this time, I couldn't hold back. There are so many fertiles who think that conception should be as easy for everyone else as it was for them, but the fact that this women didn't seem to appreciate that she was the exception to every norm and rule of expected probability that really got to me. I started to lecture that it's more than just science and timing, there are many more requirements; quality sperm and eggs, patent tubes and a functional uterus. Not to mention that even when all these conditions are satisfied, nearly half of infertility is still unexplained. "And what do you do?" She demanded to know my qualifications. She wasn't humbled at all. "Well, I didn't have any of those problems." she said. Smugly.

 I walked away and headed to the bar to numb myself with a strong drink. I would later learn that she's a high ranking scientist within the company and apparently no one challenges her. (Fortunately, she works in a different department than Husband, so I didn't have to worry about any threats to his job) Not only had I stood up for women experiencing infertility, I had earned some credibility among Husband's scientists colleagues. This party might be enjoyable after all...


  1. Ugh.
    I am kind of speechless, how clueless, how annoying. What a total douche, how's that for eloquence?
    And, I love that video. I want to check out some of their other stuff.

  2. Ugh. People like her are not only smug, but as you said, they are doing a giant diservice to women everywhere. Her situation (IF she is telling teh truth) is a giant giant exception. When people like her spout this 'info' and celebs in theri 40s don't acknolwedge DE, they are perpatuating the myth that you can get knocked up on your own at 44 or whatever. It is just not the case. How rude. Glad you confronted her!

  3. I love that video! The brunette in the group used to be on the tv show Scrubs.

    Thank you for putting the smug lady in her place, even if she didn't realize it.

    1. Her facial expression on the viedo are priceless!

  4. Wow, that is just crazy!! Thank God I have never experienced anything like that, because I think I would be so hurt I wouldn't even know what to do. Thanks for standing up for us infertiles everywhere! :)

  5. That video really is awesome. I can't believe how ignorant some people can be. Does that woman really live in such a bubble that she has no clue it's not that easy for some people? That is so rediculous and kinda pisses me off. I am so glad you spoke up to her, doesn't sound like it did a lot of good, but still.

  6. Wow! Can I just say THANK YOU for attempting to explain how BASIC REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCE works... to a scientist... in the face of smug pregnancy? Honestly, that's amazing. I have zero tolerance for such ignorance. It's one thing if the person is just clueless and is trying to be nice, it's another when they're brushing off millions of women who can't get pregnant by saying they need to relax or just time it right. Ugh.

  7. That song is just perfect! Thanks for the link. As for this know-it-all beeyotch scientist, I'm firmly in the "she's lying her ass off" camp. For her to defy nature not one, not two, but three times? Seems too incredible to be true. I've known a pathological liar or two in my time and they'll truly say anything (i.e. sudden death of a relative that never existed) to get attention. That's where my vote is going. Glad you stood up to her!

  8. Ugh. Thanks for sticking up for the infertiles. It's probably a good thing that happened before you were TTC.
    I'm excited to watch the video. I actually have a baby shower to go to on saturday so I'll make sure to watch it before :)

  9. What a smug bitch. I'm really glad that you put her in her place.

  10. Thanks for standing up for us! Loved this post, because I can totally relate. Smug b*t*hes!

  11. This is terrible. It makes me cringe just reading it. I don't know how you didn't start throwing 'bows. And I'll second all of the women commenting before me. Thanks for your courage in standing up for us!