I have never understood it, but even before I was pregnant I frequently received comments here in Italy about “not looking my age”…insinuating that I looked like I was 18, not 28. But now that I have spent 7 months of looking 18 and pregnant (in a country where most people don’t even marry until 35) I have had the hilarious pleasure of offending every one of my neighbor’s bourgeois sensibilities. Now, not only is the 18 year-old shacking up with some man in the building (they can’t imagine that we could possibly be married) but she is very pregnant!! Let the gossip begin!
I have grown accustomed to the wide eyes and double takes as I walk down the street. When speaking to me, those unfamiliar to me often hesitate to ask me about the father (though I understand, of course that this complaint could easily go in the opposite direction). It’s ludicrous! The best part is when I am doing my pre-baby shopping by my lonesome (usually because my mature, successful husband is working). Despite being well dressed, groomed, and attractive, I have been on multiple occasions blatantly ignored at a baby store in favor of some frumpy, OLD (sorry to sound so bitter) mother to be, when I have clearly stated my intent to purchase something expensive. WTF???
Anyway, I guess this is just the product of living in such a mono-culture where the mold is strictly not meant to be broken. I am sure that my outsiderness leads me to be more sensitive to such behavior, but while there are certainly those who have showered me with compliments and wishes of good luck, I can’t help but feel annoyed by the others. I mean, come on…
Italy is certainly a country obsessed with the icon of motherhood, I am just learning that the icon only holds if she has gray hair. And it also appears that this cult of elderly momhood is upheld and promoted by the same old guard that keep their 35 yr old children living at home.
Oddly, a lot of men hit on me here– way more than I would expect anywhere as a huge, preggy babe . I think maybe I have touched on some psychological nerve here in Italia that will probably take more than 9 months to fully understand. For now though , I would like to state to all my neighbors that no, this is not a teen pregnancy.