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Parenthood, Young Married Mom

August 15, 2010

Smile . . . You’re in Brooklyn!

Ever since I’ve been noticeably pregnant—and probably subconsciously a while before that—I’ve found myself making a special effort to smile at other pregnant ladies and ladies with small children when I see them.  For some reason I have a strong sense of pregnancy team spirit; I feel like we’re all in this together and there’s something special and beautiful about bringing children into the world at the same time.  What an extraordinary opportunity to have and what an amazing connection we share, even if our interaction is simply a passing moment on the street, right?

The women in Manhattan don’t seem to take the same view.

I admit I harden my face when I walk through Manhattan.  Let’s be honest—I push my way through the subway system, too.  Without a doubt, I fall into the category of people with a singular drive to get to where they need to be, and not to let anyone else get in their way.

I suppose some of this could be chalked up to the year and a half I commuted to and from New Jersey, and about ninety-five percent of the time ran from the subway to Penn Station in order to not miss my train home.  My behavior might also be somewhat justified by the fact that I work in Rockefeller Center, where The Today Show is filmed live outside in the summer and an ice skating rink framed by a ginormous Christmas tree reign in the winter.

Truthfully, though, this is a manifestation of what can be my tremendous impatience.  I guess it’s also a sign of my not feeling a sense of unity with the people around me.  In midtown, unfortunately, my instinct is to subscribe to the belief that it’s every person for him or herself.

But when you’re pregnant, everything changes—even in midtown.  Strangers give up seats on the subway.  People let you go first in lines for public restrooms.  Other women unabashedly guess the gender of your child based on the shape of your belly, and you get the warmest smiles you’ve ever seen from people you’ll never meet again.

For some reason, this is not the case among pregnant women.  Whenever I try to smile at a fellow pregnant lady in Manhattan, I am given the same hard glare people get for being with screaming children on a bus or holding the doors open on the subway.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m considered a threat to future preschool admissions.  Should tell people that I intend to be back in New Jersey when my children are in school?  Without that barrier, might we find common ground?

In Brooklyn, on the other hand, I have not only seen other women return my smiles, but I have seen them initiate smiles.  I even had a woman say hi to me today.  That’s right—real, honest-to-goodness verbal communication.  What a relief!  I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the brazen sense of camaraderie I’ve experienced in just two weeks.  I very much hope this is a harbinger of what’s to come over the next year and beyond.

When people ask me why we moved to Brooklyn, my response is generally something like, “That’s where the babies are.”  Really, this is where the moms are.

  1. Mom says:

    Love it. I’m glad you’re finding nice people. Please “explore” all the new places with John. This is no time for you to get lost!

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