Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Have Decided to Become a Hermit

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I should be in Salt Lake today, schmoozing and cruising with my other author friends. But I’m not. I’m home, sitting in my pajamas, in front of the computer.

I have decided to become a hermit.

(And, as an aside, a hermit is different than a hobo, since I just learned yesterday that girls can’t be hobos. I was listening to my son and his friend talk about hobos and the friend said, “Girls can’t be hobos.” And my son chimed in, “Yeah, they don’t like to be dirty so they’d just go get a job.”)

Anyway, back to my reasons for becoming a hermit. I know some of you are saying it can’t be done. I’m a mother of six children, about to have another baby, and I’m an author. People with those kinds of responsibilities can’t be a hermit. But I want to be one. Do you know why?

Because whenever I step out of my house, I hear phrases like this (from well-meaning people I’m sure):

You look like you’re about to POP!

You are HUGE! Are you sure you’re not having twins?

When are you due? Looks like any day now.

If you drink a lot of water, that takes the swelling right down.

Oh, dear, how are you feeling?

And two of my personal favorites, given to me by strange men while I was out school clothes shopping with my younger children: 1) “Wow, it sucks to be as pregnant as you in the summer,” and 2) “How’s the baking going?”

Now do you see why I want to enter hermit-hood? When you hear those things day after day after day, it starts to give you a complex!

I wish there were some sort of guide for people who don’t know what to say to expectant mothers. A book of positive sayings. Maybe we could call it: “Happy Things to Say When You Can’t Think of Anything,” or "The Politely Correct Way to Compliment Pregnant People.” Wouldn’t that be helpful? We could include words like, “healthy,” “beautiful,” and perhaps the old standby, “glowing.” We could include phrases like, “I bet you’re getting excited for your baby’s arrival,” or “What a wonderful thing it is to bring children into the world.”

If that doesn’t work, perhaps we could just have a book of “Things Not to Say to Expectant Mothers.” And we could include words like, “Huge, Pop, Wow, Large, Weight, and Swelling,” and definitely warn against phrases that may at first seem complimentary, but to an expectant mother may not be. For example, “Is that a basketball under your shirt?” or “Wow. That’s some serious gas bloating. You should try Beano,” or “If your back side stuck out as much as your front side, you could be a mini-teeter totter.”

Of course those books aren’t available to my knowledge, so my only option seems to be becoming a hermit until the baby arrives. Or wearing earplugs when I’m out and about and just smiling whenever anyone speaks to me.

If that doesn’t work, I guess I can always take a closer look at that hobo thing . . .


At 8/07/2008 1:46 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

I suggest carrying a really big stick...

At 8/07/2008 5:48 PM, Blogger Gamila said...

Forget the earplugs bring on the i-pod with it's white little ear phones. Then you will look young and hip! :)

At 8/07/2008 7:47 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

I always went over at least two weeks and people's well-meaning comments left me feeling like the most incompetent woman in the world since I couldn't even manage to have a baby anywhere near on time. When I saw you a few weeks ago I though you looked fantastic and you didn't even waddle. You're doing fine. I didn't go to booksellers either, I'm still in training at the temple and I don't have a book out until October, so the temple seemed more important, but I did miss seeing and talking to my fellow writers and the marketing managers that make certain I have books to review. I think this is the first one I've missed since the year of the tornado.

At 8/08/2008 12:16 AM, Blogger Janice said...

I went to a wedding when I was expecting my first child. Everyone down the line said "Wow! You look like you're ready to pop!" or "Haven't you had that baby yet?" I was only six months along. We left early.

I would add 'twins' to your list of things to never say to a pregnant woman. Never argue the due date with a pregnant woman. 'Six weeks? You don't have six weeks. Two weeks tops!'

At 8/08/2008 2:03 AM, Blogger Anna Maria Junus said...

I wrote about this 10 years ago when I was pregnant with my seventh child.

It ended up being published in "Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul."

It was originally called "I'm Not Pregnant. I Just Ate a Watermelon."

Not blowing my own horn here, just letting you know, I completely understand.

And by the way, 10 years later, I still look like I just ate a Watermelon.

At 8/08/2008 9:04 AM, Blogger Anne Bradshaw said...

Oh, Julie, I'm so sorry about the insensitive comments. Pregnancy, despite all its painful moments, is such a glorious, creative, and brave sacrifice. You need all the encouragement you can get.

Don't let the ignoramuses beat you down. Keep going out there and smiling--no matter what :-)

At 8/08/2008 9:15 AM, Blogger Just_Me said...

Smile at the people and ask what they mean... "Me? Pregnant? oh, no, I just swalloed a watermelon seed."

Or just look confused and let them sweat it out and be embarrassed. :o)

At 8/08/2008 10:14 AM, Blogger Don said...

Two days before my sister gave birth, we went to the Provo airport to see a World War II bomber that was on display.

As my sister stood in the shade of the wing, looking as though she were 10 1/2 months along, I couldn't help myself.

"Hey, the guys in charge need you to move. People are complaining that you're blocking the plane."

At 8/08/2008 10:32 AM, Blogger Karlene said...

So at your baby shower tomorrow, I shouldn't say things like,

I'm so glad it's YOU and not ME that's pregnant!


What is this? Number 12?


Didn't you just have a baby 6 months ago?

or . . .

[I'm sorry. I'm evil and not a very good friend, am I?]

At 8/08/2008 1:50 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

If I were a better writer (or more inclined to "realistic fiction"), I'd take up the gauntlet thrown down and write that missing book for pregnant women.

Maybe have a "Pregnant Woman's Club" thing where women get together and commiserate about all the rude things people say to them, or something...

At 8/08/2008 2:05 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Thank you for your comments and ideas everyone!

Kimberly, remind me to never make you mad!

Gamila, I love Ipods. Thanks for the tip!

Jennie, thanks for saying I didn't waddle. You are a very sweet woman.

Janice, someone actually argued dates with you? Wow. And I agree about the twins thing. :)

Anna Maria, thanks for letting me know!

Anne, you are the best encouragement a woman could have. Thanks!

Just Me I'm going to totally try that sometime, just to see the reaction!

Don, you made me laugh. That was MEAN, but funny. :)

Karlene, you ARE evil. Everyone knows that by now, right?

Worldbuilder Robin, A Pregnant Woman's Club is a great idea, but if I joined, I could only be a member for three more weeks or so, tops! Cross your fingers for me that this baby comes early, okay? ;)

Thanks again for all the comments. That was really fun to read them all!

At 8/08/2008 2:33 PM, Blogger Melanie J said...


When I'm pregnant, strangers can say whatever they want to me.

Just don't touch my freakin' stomach. I don't know you. It's so weird.

I think next time I'm pregnant, I'm going to collect all the homespun advice I get for inducing labor and then sell it and make a million dollars which will then go into a public awareness campaign titled, "I'm big and I get it. Let's move on..."

Hm. Myabe I'll spend the money on someone to come up with a better slogan.

At 8/11/2008 1:36 AM, Blogger Pat said...

Julie, all I can say is that when I saw you a few weeks ago, you absolutely did glow.
Best of luck to you, and next time someone says one of those insensitive remarks - I give you permission to think of me and the time someone asked me "when is your baby due?"...with me being over 50 and not even owning baby making parts anymore!
(Sorry - too much information - ick!)
Hugs :)


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