That Glow

I’m not a hundred percent sure of how pregnant women feel about their bodies, but let’s just say that it’s not polite to walk up to woman with a big round belly and say, “Oh my God, you’re so huge!”

It’s just not done, partially out of fear that the woman in question isn’t pregnant at all. You know the type, relatively thin in all other places except an abdomen that bulges out from above the waist. “Is she or isn’t she?” We’ve all asked each other about these ambiguous cases. Either you find out from a friend of a friend or you wait a while. If it looks like she’s swallowed a basketball, then she’s definitely pregnant. If that paunch doesn’t get significantly bigger, it probably means that she just needs to lay off the French fries.

But it’s unfortunate that pregnant women aren’t aware of how attractive they are, because if there is one kind of woman who can magically get my head to turn – apparently without me even thinking about it – it’s the pregnant woman, flush with hormones, ripe with life. Of course, all beautiful women catch your eye, but in most cases you can satisfy your curiosity by just glancing at them from time to time. But pregnant women, that’s a whole different biological reaction: like some kind of monster-sized magnet, the expecting mother’s figure draws my attention. I cannot resist. My eyes have minds of their own.

Partially, I am just happy to know that so many other people are having sex. You’d be surprised. Just today in town I saw a gray-haired woman deep in her forties with a pregnant bulge. Then I ran into a girl with a growing belly at the store who looked no older than 16. My favorites are the very extravagant types: the rail-thin wannabe models who are suddenly found pushing a double carriage down the street in high heels because they’ve been blessed with a set of twins. I also like the bookish types, the librarians, the scientists; women who at first glance look wholesome, but have obviously done the deed. Biology does not lie!

I used to be ashamed of my attraction to pregnant women when I was a teenager. I couldn’t figure out why my head always turned in their direction, but I later became comfortable with it. In fact, I came to embrace it as something from the depths of my subconscious, indeed, our collective subconscious. You’ve all seen the famous Venus of Willendorf statuette, the ancient fertility icon discovered in Austria, a stone carving of a pear-shaped figure with enormous breasts, a bulging belly, flesh rolling up and down like a hilly landscape. Ancient societies worshipped large women as the embodiment of fertility, the symbols of life itself. And I must admit that I do too.

Breast-feeding mothers are just as magnetic, in part because their enormous, eye-catching bosoms, but also because some corner of the male brain is simply drawn to those who give sustenance and comfort to children. Without processing any thought, my head will turn on itself toward a breast-feeding mother, my eyes fixing on the milky cleavage, after which the rosy-cheeked woman will tug her shirt up to avoid exposing herself. How embarrasing! But it’s not like I even think about it. Something inside compels me to look. I’m sorry!

Not all breast-feeding women pull up their shirts though. There are a few exceptions. We have one friend who will unashamedly reach into her shirt to pull a titty loose to feed her offspring. The first three times she did it in my presence, I tried and failed to avert my gaze as she clutched the shapely breast and popped its cherry-like milk dispenser into her child’s hungry mouth. By the fourth time, I became used to the sight of this foreign chest and forgot about it altogether. She might as well have been the Virgin Mary herself, feeding a baby Jesus. This was not pornography, this was anthropology; the big stuff of which life is made.

It’s been hard to write this column though, I’ll confess. It’s hard because my growing family requires my full attention. When one daughter wants mango juice, I get her the mango juice. When the other needs assistance in the toilet, I assist her. But sometimes it happens that wife needs help straining the potatoes and the older one wants mango juice, the younger one needs assistance in the toilet, and the baby is eating a newspaper in the corner. It’s a train wreck. In times like these, I ask myself, How did I even get into this situation? Here, I can only blame my biological instincts and hope I can count on them to carry me forward.

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