I am twenty seven weeks pregnant. The beginning of the end. I remember having dinner with a friend in the fall, she was about where I am now. She was sitting with one leg up on a chair and just looked unbelievably uncomfortable, all I could think was, 'Oh stink, it's coming.' As I was talking to her she said that she hated this phase because it just wasn't 'ladylike.' This got me thinking, what really is 'ladylike.'
Pregnancy is one of the thing that ladies do. Only women can do this, why is it that when we are in the midst of this are we considered unladylike? Your normal walk, whether it started 'ladylike' or not inevitably turns into a waddle. All those things that are stuff of ladies, high heels and nylons, become impossibilities. Earlier this week I was hopping about on one leg, belly hanging, struggling to get some leggings on and thought, 'This must be the most grace-less thing I have ever done.' Thankfully there were no witnesses.
Today was the first day that I felt really big and uncomfortable because of that very big-ness. I was standing in church with legs together, a polite position, it occurred to me if I stood with my feet shoulder width apart I would feel better. So I did, and my body expanded and felt better. Soon I won't be able to cross my legs; another 'ladylike' affectation gone.
In my first trimester my body produced too much saliva, Google it, it's a real symptom. I couldn't stand to swallow it because I was so sick, I have no idea why, but it was abhorrent to me. Every time I spat into a sink I thought, 'Really? And, I hope no one just saw me.'
Now with ever present heartburn, a condition that causes me swallow, burp, and grimace like an old man, I feel my very insides are rebelling against anything 'ladylike.'
Rather than debates about whether it's more polite to cross your knees or your ankles maybe it's time we re-defined ladylike. Instead of looking to the poised Miss America stereotype as our model maybe it's time to think about what really makes a 'lady.'
Is it hiding all bodily functions?
Is it the way you sit?
Is it always moving with a sense of grace?
Or is it the same friend mentioned above who invited us to dinner on the first night we moved to the North Shore. That seems pretty ladylike to me.
Or is it bringing someone a meal after they've had a baby or lost a loved one?
Or is it being nice to the barista even after they've messed up your order?
What do you think defines a lady?