While riding a cab, waiting at the doctor’s clinic, or buying something at a store–everywhere I go, people can’t seem to resist asking the same questions when they take a peek at my bulging belly:
“How old are you?”
“How old is your husband/boyfriend/baby daddy?”
“How long have you been together?”
“When are you two planning to get married?”
I thought I’d have gotten used to them by now–the looks that say you’re just another statistic, questions that are nothing but thinly disguised judgments and criticisms. But no. Every time some stranger becomes ‘curious’ about me, I shrink and automatically respond with a memorized lie: “I’m 25 (sometimes 26); the baby daddy’s 26 (sometimes 27); and we’re married (or planning to tie the knot real soon).”
I don’t know why I’m compelled to lie, or even bother weaving a story, when I know people will judge anyway. Nothing I say or do will keep them from speculating, from searching my face for an age, or my finger for a ring.
So let’s get it all out there once and for all… I’m 22, my partner’s 23. We’ve been in a loving, healthy yet challenging relationship for 3 years now. And no, I don’t owe you any further explanation.
Because this time, I refuse to be reduced by your disapproving looks and stares. This time, I refuse to let your insensitive questions and assumptions make me feel unworthy, or consume me with doubt and shame. I may only be 22, inexperienced and a idealistic to a fault, but that doesn’t mean I am incapable of birthing or raising a decent child. That doesn’t mean you have permission to comment about my life or my choices. So unless you mean well and want to offer genuine support and encouragement, I’d rather you look away and pretend I’m invisible. I can live with that.
My body and my baby are my business.