When I learned I was pregnant with my son I was equally terrified and elated. As a newly married, career-driven woman, I suddenly realized that I not only knew very little about the domestic expectations of marriage—I also knew absolutely nothing 'bout birthin' babies! In my mid-30s, college educated and city-savvy, I had somehow managed to live my entire adult life without having had any close contact with a pregnant woman, let alone an infant.
So I found myself in the unenviable position of desperate ignorance, turning to any and all possible sources of information about my rapidly growing bump. And, as is usually the case with folks you meet in random encounters during pregnancy, people were only too happy to offer their advice and predictions about the nature of my pregnancy and my future offspring.
The Greek waitress at the restaurant where I ate breakfast each day on my way to work would pat my belly and smile knowingly, saying, "You carry low, so it has to be a boy!" The Italian counterperson in the same restaurant, however, swore that my cheeks were too rosy for that: Mom's rosy cheeks mean that a girl is on the way.
After reading an online article that suggested it might be dangerous to my baby for me to sit in front of a computer screen too long, I adjusted my setup at the office so that my screen was positioned slightly more than an arm's length away from my belly. I wasn't going to take any chances, even though I was straining my arm muscles, inducing daily tension headaches from the effort of working in that awkward position.
A nervous gum-chewer, I was warned by a health-conscious co-worker about the evils of aspartame in my favorite sugarless bubble gum: It would make my baby hyperactive and cause lifelong learning disabilities, she insisted, so I threw away the controversial pink stuff and began chomping on sugary cinnamon gum instead. That is, until another friend told me I was destined to lose at least one tooth to decay during my pregnancy.