Pregnancy makes people giddy. They abandon all social etiquette, and touch pregnant women's bellies without thinking twice.
Some expecting moms get upset over the unwanted attention, but I understand. Babies are intoxicating, and the way they grow is miraculous.
Still, there is one thing I can't stand about people's fascination with my swollen belly: Their comments about my appearance. And everyone has one.
Strangers guess my baby's gender based on how I'm carrying. (Wide hips for a girl, straight out for a boy. Wouldn't you know it? I get a lot of girl guesses.)
Doctors warn of excessive weight gain, and children, the most honest and humorous of all human beings, tell it exactly as they see it.
A few weeks ago my family and I were in the car when I was lamenting to my husband about how large I feel this pregnancy. "I swear I peed on the stick and my belly instantly popped out," I said. "And don't get me started on my butt!"
Just then I could see my husband squirming in his seat, searching for a response that wouldn't send him to the doghouse, when my 5-year-old son piped up from the back seat, "You're not THAT fat, Mom."
We all laughed ourselves silly, and thanks to my son's comic timing, my husband didn't have to sleep with the dogs.
Fat comments aside, one of the most delightful things about my third pregnancy has been experiencing it through my son's eyes. He is infatuated with my growing stomach. He places his little hand on it in hopes of feeling his baby brother or sister kick. And he's developed sweetness toward me that never existed before.
When we first told him we were expecting, he shyly smiled and said little.
"Do you have any questions?" my husband and I asked.
"No, I kind of knew it already," he said.
Later when he was alone with my husband he asked all sorts of questions that left my husband fumbling for an appropriate response.
"How did the baby get in there?" he asked.
"When mommies and daddies are married, the Lord often blesses them with a baby that grows in the mommy's tummy," my husband said.
This answer sparked more questions. "Where does it come out?"
"It comes out mom's belly," my husband said, which is technically true if I have a C-section.
"Does it come right out of her skin?" he asked, dismayed, probably picturing a scene similar to the one in the movie "Alien."
"Yeah, kind of like that," my husband replied.
I'm not sure what else my husband said to my son, but at some point in the questioning, my son must have decided that he needs to comfort and protect me while I'm expecting.
Nearly every day after lunch, we snuggle up on the couch, and I take a much-needed nap while "Sesame Street" plays. He sits right next to my belly and rubs my back until I fall asleep, and he says, "Mommy, I want to take care of you because you're pregnant."
With love like that, I can withstand a few fat comments from time to time.
Shasta Clark is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband and two sons. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.