Early Marriage | Part 21

by Elouise

1968 Jun David and Elouise waiting for babyC

~~~Seven months pregnant, June 1968

I’m pregnant! Also self-conscious, excited, apprehensive, disbelieving, elated and more.

There’s no denying it: D and I have been ‘doing it’! Doing it?

I’ll never forget a conversation with my 18-year old daughter. She was visiting from out-of-town, and we decided to have lunch together. Just the two of us. Not at home, but in a restaurant. Daughter had some things she wanted to talk about with me. Girl talk.

So here we are in a restaurant full of noontime customers. We’ve already received our orders and are just beginning to eat. Daughter looks up and asks, “So tell me Mom, do you and Dad still do it?”

Do it? Do what?

Daughter seems a bit uncomfortable but forges straight ahead. “Well…I know you did it at least twice—once for me and once for Brother. So do you still do it?”

I was ready to slide right under the table. Surely the entire dining room of customers had heard her every word! I certainly had.

My discomfort then was similar to my discomfort as soon as my first pregnancy began to show. Now everyone will know we’ve been doing it, even though it’s none of their business! Do I have to be a walking neon sign for the next 6 months?

I’m not sure what all the above says about me except this: I was a painful introvert with absolutely no history of talking freely and openly with anyone about sex.

Even being pregnant was emotionally draining. I didn’t know how to be in public without feeling self-conscious. Even though I also felt a bit of pride.

In fact, it felt just as bad as the day after D and I got married. Now everyone would know we did it.

Nonetheless, despite my discomfort, I loved wearing maternity clothes. Not because they publicized my private life, but because I felt special when I wore them. And, I’m almost embarrassed to say it, I felt like a ‘good wife.’ Isn’t this what we’re supposed to do? Get pregnant and glow?

Of course without any other babies, it wasn’t difficult to glow and be perky. Not most of the time, anyway. In fact, the moment I knew I was pregnant and not recuperating from viral pneumonia (another story), I began visiting the fabric shop nearby.

I stood for hours, flipping through maternity dress patterns. Looking for the perfect dress with just the right lines. Then I searched through bolts of fabric, looking for just the right fabric and colors.

I wanted to look attractive and feminine—even with my belly sticking out in front of me! I didn’t want to look sloppy. I wanted to look sexy! Even stunning.

Why? Because I felt uncharacteristically good about myself. I also knew that nice-looking maternity outfits would offset any drawbacks that might be associated with my pregnant body.

That’s why I loved the pink dress a church friend made for me. It was more than gorgeous. It was sexy. Well, almost. Don’t you agree? See below.

Belmont House Pink Maternity Dress 1968

Six months pregnant

That was the first time I remember feeling this way about myself. Somehow my tastefully simple if not elegant pregnancy outfits would carry the day. Even though I was also wearing a neon sign that said, “We did it! – at least once!”

Is this what it means to be a Total Woman?

Looking back, I have to laugh with myself. What was this all about? Hormones gone wild? I’m not sure. I just know I kept cutting out those patterns and wearing my new status statements proudly.

These may have been the happiest, least burdensome months of my life. It seemed everything and everybody was going my way, including my relationship with D.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 6 July 2015
Photo credit: EJFraser, June 1968, and DAFraser, May 1968