The third trimester of pregnancy was the longest 13 weeks of my life. I was huge, uncomfortable, and impatient to meet my baby. To make matters worse, every time I dared to go out in public strangers felt the need to comment about my body, give me unsolicited advice, and touch me without permission. By comparison, the people who showed me human decency, kindness, or compassion seemed like angels. Yes, there are strangers you will fall in love with in the third trimester, because not all heroes wear capes.
There's the person who picks out the awesome free stuff you get for setting up your Amazon registry. Then there's the person in front of you at Starbucks, who not only refuses to say anything about the so-called dangers of drinking coffee during pregnancy, but actually pays for your latte. I love that person. There's the experienced mom in the baby gear aisle who can tell you everything you need to know about car seats, baby carriers, breast pumps, and bottles, and without making it awkward because she's totally been there. And, of course, the UPS guy, who will carry your boxes all of the way up to your door. A BFF, for sure.
Like Blanche in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," but never was this so apparent, or inspirational, than when I was in my third trimester, because, you guys, I fell in love with at least one stranger every single day.
The Person Who Returns Your Cart
I always return my cart. Always. But by the end of my pregnancy I was so swollen, sore, and exhausted that shopping was really hard. So, yeah, the nice person who offered to return my cart in the parking lot totally became my BFF. I love you, you saint of a human being.
The Person In The Baby Gear Aisle
Baby gear is confusing. It's so easy to feel lost in the baby gear aisle, especially as a mom-to-be. Like, what do you actually need? And does expensive automatically mean better? How do you know? For me, it was a kind stranger who told me what I did and didn't need to put on my registry that made all the difference.
The Person In Line In Front Of You At Starbucks Who Buys Your Latte
Words can not express my level of affection for the guy who bought my latte one morning, while I was roughly 3,000 months pregnant. If I ever see you again, I'm totally buying you one in return.
The Staff At Your Favorite Restaurant
I had hyperemesis gravidarum and felt sick until the day I went into labor. So, I can't tell you how much I loved the staff at my favorite restuarant who never questioned my weird requests for food I could actually eat. When I asked, "How sour can you make a smoothie to soothe a pregnant tummy?" they accepted my challenge, no questions asked.
The Cashier At Target
I stocked up on formula before my youngest was born because I knew I was likely going to need to supplement. One day at Target, someone in line behind me asked why I was buying formula before I "tried to breastfeed first." Without missing a beat, the cashier said, "because she's smart." I fell in love right then and there.
The UPS Delivery Driver
Before I found out I was pregnant our driver would sort of toss our packages on the driveway in front of our garage. Then, one magical day during my third trimester, I heard the truck stop and asked him if he wouldn't mind bringing them to the door. Once he saw how pregnant I was, he happily complied. I haven't had to carry a package upstairs since.
The Person Who Chooses Free Stuff For Registry Gift Boxes
I love free stuff. I mean, who doesn't? While pregnant, it was so fun getting free mommy-to-be packages with all sorts of goodies to try. If I could find out who picks out those goody bags, I would totally send them a thank you card.
The Person At The Gym Who Tells You You're Awesome
Working out while pregnant generally means that at least one stranger will ask you if "should be doing that." Every single time. So when someone would tell me how awesome I was instead, it made me feel amazing.
The Shoe Salesperson Who Finds You Shoes That Actually Fit
I had preeclampsia during my second pregnancy, and by my estimate, my feet swelled to about 500 times their regular size. In late October. When I couldn't even wear my flip flops anymore, I totally fell in love with the shoe store salesperson who actually found me shoes that fit and kept my swollen pregnant toes warm. I love shoes, and that kind stranger.
The Nurse At Labor & Delivery Who Says You’re Actually In Labor This Time
During my first pregnancy I went to the hospital three times because I thought it was finally time to deliver. So believe me when I say I was so excited to find out I was actually in labor for real and, as a result, I totally fell in love with the nurse who said that it was officially go time.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.