Elizabeth Broadbent

This Is What Makes Me Feel Like Punching Someone

Posted on November 19, 2017

When you were a free woman, people rarely bothered you. Oh, you might get an annoying wolf whistle or two, or the barista at Starbucks might say she liked your hat, but for the most part, strangers left you the hell alone. Then you popped out a baby. And all of a sudden, the world’s got something to say about it. Talkative strangers have become not people, but a long string of humans I want to punch.

Side-eyeing Restaurant Lady

Look, I know my kid’s making a racket. In fact, no one is more aware of this than yours truly. But he’s gonna shut up as soon as I extract my boob from the depths of this bra. So stop looking at me like I’m surreptitiously murdering a kitten in this back booth, ‘kay?

Side-eyeing Restaurant Man

Yep, that’s my tit. Yep, that’s a small child attached to it. You know what happened when he attached to it? He stopped crying! So you can deal with seeing a sliver of my admittedly glorious breast, which will allow us all to eat our meals in peace. And no, I’m not going to the fucking bathroom. Do not even go there. Do not even complain to management. You do not want to start this shizz. I have been going to La Leche League since I was a week postpartum and I know my legal rights, jackass.

Photo by Emma Frances Logan

Photo by Emma Frances Logan

Old Lady In Target: Sock Edition

It’s approximately eight million degrees in the shade, lady. Maybe your old bird bones are feeling the chill of the grave, but my fat little chunker’s quite comfy. So no, he does not need to wear socks. Socks which he would only rip off and throw, never to be found again, thus wasting more money I could spend on random Target shit. His feet are not freaking cold. Your feet are freaking cold from the air conditioner, which is the only thing that makes life bearable in this hellscape.

Old Lady in Target: Hat Edition

There’s a myth that all babies emerge from the womb fully behatted. However, you birthed your kids in the era of twilight sleep, so you have no idea what a newborn baby looks like, let alone if God gave it a hat. And maybe your children’s heads didn’t see the sunlight until they were fifteen. But it’s 2017, it’s seventy degrees, and my kid has a head of hair like Rapunzel. Don’t insinuate I’m some neglectful harridan by not pulling some bonnet over his noggin.

Woman Who Calls My Child A Girl Despite Obvious Gender Cues

Yes, I can only assure you that my child is a masculine child. Notice the fact that he’s dressed in blue, a contemporary signifier of boy babies. If that’s not enough, notice that his shirt says, “Boob Guy.” Guy is also a traditional signifier of the masculine, as is one who likes boobs. Unless you happen to be a lesbian, and they haven’t developed a magic lesbian detector for infants yet. So yes, he’s a boy. Oh, and he has a penis.

Babywearing Naysayer

Bitch, that sling recall happened in 2010, plus this is an Ergo. My baby is not going to suffocate. This “contraption” is not going to kill him. I know back in your day you just exposed children to the elements and let the strong survive, but he can’t walk and I can’t carry one of those carseats, hold a latte, and push a cart at the same damn time.

Carseat Guru

Yes, I am grateful you ran halfway across the parking lot to show me how my seat was installed wrong. I am even more grateful that you got all up in there and installed it correctly, showed me where the chest straps should be, and how tight baby should sit. But did you have to be such a smug asshole about it? These things are fucking Rubix-Cube complicated. Cut a new mom some slack and don’t make her feel like a neglectful dumbass you’re on the verge of phoning child services about.

The When-Are-You-Due Bitch

Sweet baby Buddha, you are the worst. I actually have to curl my fists in an effort not to punch your bland, vapidly smiling face. Do you see the newborn I’m toting? It is physiologically impossible to get knocked up so far your tummy pooches like this in the short time after birth. You’d know that if they had comprehensive sex ed in your state and you knew the basic maxim of womanhood: Never assume another woman if she is pregnant until she is spouting amniotic fluid on your damn floor. Basically, you’re saying I should have worn my Spanx, fuck you very much.

Photo by Freestocks.org

Photo by Freestocks.org

These interfering people mean well. But postpartum hormones and human stupidity are a bad combination. My recommendation? Take a long hard chug of that latte and pretend it’s alcohol. Smile. Nod. Agree if you can and ignore them if you can’t. Perhaps feign deafness; I’ve been known to pretend I can’t speak English by saying loudly, “I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH!” People find this baffling and off-putting enough to move on. Which is all you can ask for in this brave, new, nosey-ass world you’ve entered.