Being pregnant in Cambodia has its benefits. Cambodians loooooove everything to do with children and they are tickled pink that we have finally come to our senses and are being a normal couple. (Waiting over five years to have kids after getting married is completely incomprehendable in this culture.)
The past few months have been a lot of fun in our different cultural approahces to babies, pregnancy and kids. Cambodians are particularly concerned about me these days. Most days I feel like a big bellied rock star. (At least now, I'm not just considered fat!)
You know you are pregnant in Cambodia when…
-every day you arrive at the office on your bicycle and at least three colleagues cluck their tongues in disapproval and ask you when you are going to stop riding that baby killing machine. Before you leave the office, your colleagues do a weight test to make sure it isn't too heavy for a pregger to carry.
-people stare at your stomach. all the time.
-you reach up on your tip toes to write at the very top of the white board and your colleagues gasp "NO!!!" in unison. Confused, you ask what is wrong. They tell you that you should never stand on your tip toes and stretch your arms because the umbilical cord might become detached.
-when wearing maternity clothes, a couple of girls ask you why in the world you are still wearing pants (and not a mumu which is Cambodia's preferred pregnancy attire).
-the staff in Bangkok's public transit system, will not let you go through the normal entrance way. They insist the 'lady with baby' must go through the excess baggage/disability gate.
-everyone looks at you with great pleasure and approval and says, "oooh! Ptea Pua" (house stomach) followed by questions like: how many months are you, is it a boy or a girl, etc.
-you receive no end to pregnancy advice and do's and don'ts.
Sometimes it's hard to tell where cultural wisdom ends and superstition starts. But one thing is for sure, Cambodians have a deep respect for children and pregnancy. The enthusiasm of our Cambodian friends (and complete strangers!) makes us more excited about this new adventure too.
It's a pretty amazing, community experience. And so, we want to hear your comments too. What gender do you think it is. And why?