I think it is cruel to ask a pregnant woman to work if she doesn’t want to. It is a precious and difficult time, both physically and emotionally. It is a lot to ask a gestating woman to handle the various stressful tasks that come with many jobs, but to ask a woman to cope with teaching 100-200 adolescent minds while pregnant? That is just cruel.
Teaching is not the kind of job where you can hide your head in a trash can behind your desk or run to the bathroom to vomit as needed. You are “on” all day long. And when you’re pregnant, your condition becomes the only thing the students can focus on. Every time they look at your belly they remember what act must have taken place. This inevitably leads to extraordinarily inappropriate questions and comments.
Kids seem to lack the mental editing equipment that prevents them from asking their teacher if they still have sex while pregnant (yes, a kid asked me that). They also don’t really understand why the teacher is so insulted by these queries. They’re just curious, Miss!
As if unending nausea and vomiting for three months isn’t enough… As if stretch marks and hanging skin flaps aren’t enough… As if weight gain, a constant need to urinate, weird cramps, acid reflux, heartburn, skin tags, insomnia and hormonal mood swings aren’t enough to deal with…
Here’s 150 fifteen-year-olds to babysit. And oh yeah, teach them Shakespeare and stuff too. These are some of the things students have said to me during my two pregnancies:
1. They love to give you daily updates on your size.
“You’re getting bigger.”
“It’s so big.”
“You’re not that big.”
“Shouldn’t it be bigger?”
And yes, one even said to me, “Your ass is getting bigger!” When I shot her a look, she responded, “What! It’s a compliment!”
“Your boobs are getting huge!”
“You must be having a girl, because when it’s a boy it sticks out like a basketball, but when it’s a girl you just get fat all over.”
2. They love to tell you their plans for procreation.
“I’m not gonna have my baby when I’m old. I’m having my babies when I’m 19!”
“All these old teachers getting pregnant. I’m having mine young!”
“My boyfriend graduates next year and we’re gonna have a baby!”
3. They feel the need to tell you their own birth story.
“I was born on a couch! My mom sat down and my head came out!”
“My mom had to have 17 stitches in her poonanie ‘cuz of me!”
“My mom said poop came out when she was having me!”
“When my mom’s water broke, my dad slipped in it and hit his head!”
4. They have great suggestions for names.
I asked my students to write down a few suggestions for baby names and here are my favorites:
Tupac, Sexi, Lil Uzzi, Tequila, Money, Areola, Kween, Lil Teach, Cinderella, Starbuck, Trucker, K8 (Kate), Strawberry, Laqueefa, Saytan, Pepsi, Phelony, Shithead, Elizabit, Nylon, Daddy, Kurrency, and my personal favorite Fartisha.
5. They ask ridiculous and/or improper questions.
“Do people have sex when they’re pregnant? And if they’re pregnant with a girl baby, can the baby get pregnant?” (My answer was, “Yeah, I think so.”)
“Are you afraid to have that baby? It’s gonna, like, destroy your vag!” The kid actually raised his hand during a lesson to ask this very necessary question.
“Does it rip all the way down to your butthole?”
“Can you get it sewn back up so it’s tight again?”
“Can other people drink breast milk, besides the baby?”
“I can tell you what you’re having. What position were you in? Were you on top?”
“So the baby eats all the food you eat and drinks everything you drink? It’s disgusting.”
“Do you get those hanging things in your butt? My mom did.”
“Why are you still fat after you have the baby?”
“Can you get pregnant from a hot tub?”
“Are you afraid that you’ll sit down to poop and the baby will come out in the toilet?”
“Can you get pregnant from a dog?”
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, HAVEN’T THESE KIDS HEARD OF GOOGLE!?
A student asked me how many months pregnant I was. A few minutes after I told him, he stood up and announced, “September! She had sex in September!”
Another strange aspect of being pregnant while teaching is that some of your students might be expecting too. During my first pregnancy, I had two pregnant students and a junior with a 3-year-old son. I would try to connect with them sometimes but they never really seemed bothered by the pregnancy the way I was.
“Aren’t you tired?” I would ask. “Not really,” they’d reply.
“Aren’t you scared?” I asked. “Not really,” they’d answer.
For some reason this baby stuff was a much bigger deal for me.