It was like the post-WWII baby boom at my publishing company in Manhattan. The ladies' room was full of women patting their stomachs, complaining about morning sickness that lasted all day and chugging Cheerios to battle nausea. I had never seen anything like it at any place I've ever worked. At my last job, many of the women were older and had never been married, and when I worked in sports, somehow a job was eliminated once a woman uttered, "I'm expecting."
I already endured these women flashing their two-carat diamond bands in my face while they illustrated their strategies during sales meetings, like flight attendants pointing to emergency exits. Their eyes glowing, they tried to hypnotize me with their love bling. "Look into my diamond and agree with everything I say." The Frisky: Don't Judge Me Because I Had A C-Section
They began wearing loose-fitting blouses at six weeks, flaunting a not-yet-existent baby bump, like someone who unzips her pants after a large meal complaining she's stuffed. When I walked into their offices they instantly minimized their computer screens, but not before I could see what they were really working on—UrbanBaby.com. I pretended I didn't notice. While they munched on crunchy food during conference calls, I resisted the urge to stick my fingers in my ears. When they slugged down water like they had been hiking in a desert for four days, I blocked out the gulping swallows. And this was only their first trimester.
I know I should have been more sympathetic, because at least two of these women experienced major meltdowns trying to bear offspring. One miscarried during a client dinner in Chicago. Excusing herself, she left behind a large stain on the chair she was sitting on. We surreptitiously cleaned it up. Another went through the ritual of daily injections and herbal teas for months. And then used a $10,000 grant from the company for in vitro fertilization, praying and praying it would take. She also shared with our entire staff every step of the process. TMI. She thought it would help explain why she was out of the office at least two days a week at doctor appointments, why she often left early and why she was so distracted. The Frisky: If The Pregnant And 16 Girls Are Glamorizing Teen Pregnancy, They're Doing A Crap Job
I gave her a copy of The Secret to be supportive, and soon enough her future offspring sunk into my subconscious, too. I was dreaming of a baby boy every night.
Unfortunately, it did not go unnoticed when sales plunged 75 percent. Working in marketing, I tried relentlessly to motivate her sales staff, but grew frustrated when I realized I was the only one working past 5:01 p.m.
On doctor-ordered bed rest for an entire month after being implanted, she felt she couldn't harp on her team when she wasn't there. In the process, two staffers resigned, and when our only male sales rep took a two-week paternity leave, I found myself in an office resembling The Shining.
Ironically, I had my own heart-stopping pregnancy panic and wonder during the initial baby boom. My body was trying to get in on the action. I was eight days late when I began imagining how I would break it to everyone that the 29-year-old, single marketing director—who hadn't been trying—was with child.