Friday, 9 January 2015

8 months pregnant vs German sense of personal space

Now, don't get me wrong: I am fully aware that my stomach is bigger at this stage with this second pregnancy than with the first. Hell, I feel like it is big enough for me to give birth tomorrow. Certainly that is what it and my back tell me in the evenings when I try to get up off any seat located less than 4 feet above the floor. 

We're not talking 'thar she blows' or that I look like I will be having triplets any second, but it is definitely impossible to miss that I am not alone (in more than one sense of the word, but that would be going too far at this point). Albeit Hubby charmingly and repeatedly assuring me I look no bigger than before, I know this is not the case, for many reasons, all valid but none quite as convincing as having to insert the extra special pregnancy extendy-bit of my winter jacket today, in order for my chest and midriff to fit comfortably. Now I look like a wandering little (I am not very tall) black poncho whenever I go out. At least I am not waddling yet.

Having said that, I am sure you can understand my mild frustration when I went out yesterday and encountered, after having to run for my train and up some stairs - not a small feat in this condition - two people exiting the train in the other direction, crossing my path on the platform, and wholly and utterly 'incapable' of moving a couple of inches to the side to avoid bumping into me. Never mind the fact that I had already, in fact, stopped completely in my tracks in order not to present, as well as a large, also a moving target to my fellow travellers.  

photo from

Adding insult to injury, the one guy 'tsk'ed me as he bumped past me! Eeeeeexcuuuuuuuuuse me! Let me just remove my 8 month pregnant stomach out of your way while you waltz down the platform with plenty of space right and left of me for two of you to pass! I am sure whatever you are going to is VERY important. And toodle-pip to the lady in her fifties in front of you who did the same, and whose pension I will be paying in a few years! 

Seriously, I know some people's empathetic powers might not stretch to those of a cactus, but is it that hard to imagine that someone else with a midriff expanded to twice its normal size may not move as fast as one would normally expect? 

Speaking of 'normal' expectations: What is it about that particular path you have chosen on the platform? Will all hell break loose if you veer off it by an inch or two? Will chasms leading straight to your doom open up at your feet? 

Also on the topic of 'normal' expectations: we are not talking just about sticking to ones chosen invisible path, but also the sense of personal space when faced with someone in my condition (that sounds like I am ill...... eeeehhhh, can't think of a better term right now, so bear with me please) or anyone else, in fact. 

When exiting said train I found myself being run into by a teenage waif who quite easily should have fit through most gaps one can imagine....... except the 5 inches she seemed to have mistaken for at least 10 feet between me and the person walking next to her. Ok, so, with her, after my experience of getting to the train, I braced and the waif took a bit of a blow. Is it my fault she thinks she is 3 inches wide???! Northern Germans - people in the area where we live, so I will restrict my ranting to this - seem to be wholly unaware that they are really a quite healthily sized set of the human species.

Even more perplexing was the situation I found myself in later in the day on yet another mode of public transport. About to get out, I headed for the nearest door to my seat, as, at least in my mind, most sensible people do. Not so for everyone, I discovered, when I found myself in the aisle between two groups of benches and faced with a - how should I say this - somewhat sizable woman. I may be highly pregnant, but between the two of us, I was not the one using up more than half the aisle width. 

Said woman faced my way, and, seeing me, continued on her path towards me and away from my chosen door, unperturbed. This particular collision of bodies ended with me fearing for a minute that we might stay stuck at the bottle neck section of the aisle, where the ends of two benches poked inwards, while the two of us struggled to get past this particular impasse. Plopping out the other side, I headed straight for the door, and escaped onto the platform, only to find that my previous opponent also had gotten out and for all her attempts to cut short the distance she walked once getting up from her seat, I - the 8 month pregnant one of the two of us, mind you - ended up walking ahead of her down the platform steps. I am sure that was worth it for her! 

While I am at it - ranting that is - I titled this post 'German sense of personal space' as I can only speak for my experience here, more specifically mostly in Northern Germany. After all I have been pregnant mostly here, so if this counts for anyone else, feel free to include them too! 

If anyone can explain these phenomena to me any better than somehow Northern Germans don't seem to realise the extent of their physical dimensions, please get in touch! That and the local habit of responding with 'ooops' when bumping into someone rather than 'excuse me' will never cease to fascinate me

PS: Heute geht es um meine Erfahrungen '8 Monate schwanger' vs mancher Deutscher Angewohnheit die eigenen Körper(aus)maße zu unterschätzen. 

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