Dating at 34 Weeks Pregnant
Open relationships. Tricky at the best of times, and frequently at the mercy of the sort of sanctimonious, won’t-somebody-think-of-the-children bullshit beloved by hand wringers everywhere - yes, even in Brighton. When pregnancy came into the mix, I pretty much assumed that dating was dead to me, for now at least. I mean, I’m not exactly a catch, on paper. “Heavily pregnant, recently divorced woman resembling angry warthog seeks androgynous thirty-something open to non-monogamy, to cook her bacon pancakes and listen to her whinge.” Seems like a tall order.
Or so I thought. Three weeks into maternity leave and I had exhausted every possible avenue of entertainment; there’s only so many times you can repack a hospital bag or clear out under the bed. And I’ve completed Netflix. I ended up tinkering with a profile on OKCupid through a mixture of morbid curiosity (what would happen if I was brutally honest about my circumstances?) and low self esteem (at thirty-four weeks pregnant - and with only six items of clothing left in my wardrobe that fit - I’m not feeling my sexiest). I filled out the obligatory sections, being honest about the pregnancy and my polyamorous status. OKCupid demanded to know, in a somewhat accusatory manner, what I was doing with my life. “Making a tiny human,” I replied, “Which is exhausting and ruins your dating life. I’m still game, though.”
Then a peculiar thing happened: I started getting messages. And not just from closet pregnancy fetishists (no, Brighton, I’m not kink shaming; to each their own) - of which there were few, because I’d been specific that I wasn’t looking for hook ups. And not because I think there’s anything wrong with (safe) sex when you’re pregnant, but because I’ve never been into one night stands.
As I started chatting with people online, it became obvious that the judgy dick with all the preconceptions in this equation was, in fact, me. I had wrongly assumed that people would peg me a desperate gold digger, out on the hunt for a new baby daddy. Instead, I talked with kind, sensitive people who were genuinely interested and excited by the pregnancy. I was blown away by the level of honesty and intimacy people were prepared to share in return for the fact that I had been upfront about what was going on for me.
Pregnancy does change a lot about dating, though. For one thing, have you ever been on an internet date without booze? I mean, seriously. Who even would? The very prospect is so terrifying that I nearly ditched the whole idea. Secondly, it’s not just about you. I mean, nobody who’s casually dating me is going to get an invite to meet my kids anyway, but when you’re pregnant, there’s the whole issue of one of your kids living inside you. That’s a big responsibility, and my sole job is to keep them safe. If meeting strangers from the internet feels ropey on a good day, it’s harrowing af when you’ve got a whole other person in you.
With that in mind - and feeling a good deal more cautious than I normally would - I expected out-and-out rejection when a guy asked to meet me in person and I declined, saying I needed a longer getting-to-know-you phase to feel safe with it. Instead, he was both understanding and accommodating, happy to set a date for a few weeks further down the line.
Whatever comes of the date itself (which, again, NO ALCOHOL JESUS TITTY FUCKING CHRIST), I can honestly say that, after two years of - sometimes literal - hand-to-hand combat with the patriarchy, I feel my faith in humankind has been restored. I’m not going to lie, dating heavily pregnant is not for the faint hearted, but for me, it’s been totally worth it. Pregnancy is a time of joy. Well, I mean, it’s not. It’s mostly a time of puking, crying and panicking in a never ending cycle while you paint on a pregnancy glow with cheap blusher. But some of it is joyful, and dating has given me a unique way of sharing that joy with others (#notaeuphemism).
Follow me on Facebook to be notified of new blog posts.