Baby bump or goodwill ambassador?

Is it me, or is it the year of the baby? It seems every fourth person I know  either recently had or soon will have a baby–myself included. I never expected that when I would one day get pregnant that I’d be the only person going through this experience, but it seems an inordinate number of family members, co-workers, friends, old classmates, and acquaintances are on the baby track as I type.

And it’s amusing to me how much those of us experiencing mommyhood can talk about it! Two strangers who have never met before, and who would never otherwise strike up a conversation, see each other’s baby bump, and the floodgates of conversation open. Two classmates who haven’t talked since high school, and even then were only mild acquaintances, discover via Facebook that they’re both expecting and begin conversing regularly.

And this phenomenon is by no means limited to expectant moms only. I was at the gym two nights ago and had two friendly ladies approach me to inquire about my pregnancy. When was I due? What was I having? Was I uncomfortable?  Then I learned about their respective pregnancies and the accompanying  ups and downs. It’s as if this baby bump is a goodwill ambassador of sorts. People who don’t even know me want to discuss personal issues like constipation and labor pain, and strangely, I want to discuss them too.

It’s the community of mommies, or maybe just the community of humanity. My random conversations with strangers are by no means limited to members of the female gender. Many men see the bump and smile or nod their approval (the exception being some young men who see the bump and tend to recoil in fear)!

What is it about carrying a new member of the human race in your uterus that provokes kindness and a willingness to befriend a stranger or old friend? Why do two mommies-to-be find they can talk for hours about things they already know from all the books on what to expect? Why has someone (me) who is normally quiet and reserved become such a chatterbox when asked about my unborn daughter?

Perhaps it all goes back to the circle of life. Today’s newborns are tomorrow’s senior center volunteers. Today’s toddlers are tomorrow’s President Obama. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s innovators. Perhaps. And perhaps that is why we can’t help but express our excitement while they’re still in the womb. We have so much anticipation for what wonderful gifts–both big and small–these little humans will bring to our lives even if they’re not our own children.

That makes me hopeful for the future and optimistic about the world in which my daughter will live.

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