Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight

God, look at that gut! Already, hrumph. The first time I got away with it, big time. I mean, I was almost 6 months pregnant before I had to tell anyone at work - and that was just because we had a cursed Conference Ball and I wasn't going to be able to sport my handy-hiding bulky suit jackets for that event. I was so ill prepared, I had to, the day before the Ball, sneak out of the conference, find a maternity store in Birmingham, and buy a dress. The one I had brought was a 'big' (or what I thought was big, apparently not big enough) regular dress. The seams on that one were groaning with the pressure and I thought that kind of explosion was not the way I wanted to reveal my news.

Of course, I HAD to hide the pregnancy as long as possible. As it happened, I started the job already 3 months pregnant. Oops. My advantage there was that when people were meeting me for the first time, they would have just thought I was a bit tubby, as my general state. And I "never drink at work occasions, as I thought it unprofessional". And I had bad fashion taste, with big 80's suit jackets for all occasions, and floaty hippy chick dresses for evening casual. What a dweeb they must have thought I was (am)!! I guess that might have fit in with an image of 'lady who works in a science industry' but I was actually loathe to contribute to the stereotype. My apologies to both stylish- and frumpy-type science ladies, I have done neither category any service. Then they must have thought I 'had a few too many pies' (as they say) over the passing months afterwards. On Ball night, I arrived at the before party in the hotel room, in my fitted black maternity dress, my pretty big 6 month baby belly clearly profiled. SHOCKER. That was quite fun actually, the surprise, the genuine surprise from everyone. I had really got away with it until then.

Second time around I had gained my station with the company, earned my keep as it were, to deserve to tell pretty much right away. It saved me a lot of tight trouser imprints on my stomach, and whole afternoons of constant-inhale-hold-in-the-gut-lunch-has-bloated-me-like-an-inflatable-dinghy. But somehow, this time I am back at stage 1. At least I feel that I am. The company had bent over backwards making accommodations for me to come back, special working hours, working from home, no travel, new office based job, promotion...they have been very generous, and I felt really appreciated coming back. Now I feel very...sheepish. Embarrassed. How could I repay them in this way?? Terrible employee! Bad Employee! I really should be sat in the corner with a naughty hat, a 'No More Babies' hat. I am also meant to be covering the position of someone on maternity leave, who doesn't return until September. Now I'm leaving them high and dry, probably the end of April. So let's count together that's May June July August September 5 months of high and dry. See, oops again! It IS like the first time. My poor boss, what will I tell him?? WHEN will I tell him? How will I tell him? Do I have to tell him? AAck!

Funny, I even reassured him when I came back to work, I literally said "Well, you don't need to worry about any more babies from me [as Mike's away], unless it's by immaculate conception!" Ha ha!!! Joke's on me. Actually, joke's on him. Maybe this is an immaculate baby? Good thing I am not a religious person. Let's not get carried away now.

I was at the pharmacy the other day, and noticed a poster on the wall, with silhouettes of people with big guts, with tape measures around their big guts. It said (along the lines of) 'Is Your Big Gut THIIIIIIIS Big? Then You Are At Risk Of Having Diabetes!!!'. Considering my own profile nowadays, the poster should more appropriately warn 'Is Your Big Gut THIIIIIIIS Big? Then You Are At Risk Of Having A Baby In There!!!'. Or, "Is Your Employee's Big Gut THIIIIIIIS Big? Then You Are At Risk Of A Surprise Work Absence That Requires Annoying 6 Month Coverage Or Unattended Vacancy!!!'.

So, I have begun to don my stereotype frumpy lady attire, again. I look dreadful. Good thing I am only in the office twice a week. My boss won't know what happened - he has been away for 3 weeks on holiday and had left a thin and stylish Science Lady behind. He will be greeted back by a tubby, floaty, frumpy, Gut Buster. I wonder how long until he notices himself, considering the fashion change? Considering my Big Gut is THIIIIIIIIS Big?


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