I always hear that celebrities say hello to each other even if they have never met before. There was an entire Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about how strangers who are Prius owners wave at each other because they are in a special club of people who drive hybrid cars. When Red Sox fans see each other in cities other than Boston, they give one another a nod and maybe even spark up a conversation for a few seconds even though they know they'll never see each other again. This is what it's like to be pregnant.
Other pregnant people feel compelled to talk to you and you feel the need to do the same. It's like some weird obligation and you feel rude if you don't fulfill it. It's a club that many people have been a part of at some point, but once you give birth, you're kicked out.
Sometimes I see a pregnant woman in the grocery store aisle. I try to avoid eye contact, but once we see each other, we at least have to smile. It's different once you're in line waiting to check out. Now that you're stationary, the pressure is on. At first, you may try to have a silent stand-off, but it doesn't pay off. It's uncomfortable to remain silent. There are two giant elephants in the room and they happen to be sticking out of your bellies. You at least have to ask the obligatory "How far along are you?" question.
The doctor's office is another place where you just cannot avoid the club talk. You know you are both there because during this short window in your life you are pregnant. You can both try to pick up the tabloid, but at some point your mutual states trump Lindsay. If you're sitting there long enough, you might even get to the "Is this your first?" part of the conversation. And if your doctor is really running late, you'll get to the gender chapter.
Pick-up and drop-off to pre-school are the real killers. You can go a year without talking to another mom, but if you pass each other during the short walk to your car and now you're both pregnant, you have to acknowledge it. You can pretend you're rushed in this situation, but a teenage head nod is the least you can get away with here.
It's interesting, because although I feel obligated, it doesn't annoy me the same way it does when a stranger who isn't pregnant talks to me about my state. They just aren't part of the club right now and I don't just freely give away one-minute friendships.
I only have less than three weeks left in my club membership. I probably won't miss it though, because I'll be carrying a new card that gets me into the newborn club. It's a lot cuter.
Image via jaaron/Flickr