The Sea-Monkey

15 Dec

My best friend at work is pregnant. She’s had two abortions in the past, but now that she’s married and has a great job, she and her husband have decided that they’re ready. She’s psyched, except for the part where she’s throwing up every 5 minutes… other than that, though, she’s very excited. She found out at 5 weeks, and since I have some sort of supernatural ability to know when people are pregnant, I told her that I already knew, asked her if she was happy about it, and when she said “Yes!” I hugged her and teared up a bit.

She’s had some interesting experiences so far, aside from the normal morning sickness and food aversions. Everyone that she’s told (at work, when you’re puking, you sort of have to share that kind of information) has had a slightly different reaction. Most women hug her, or shriek excitedly. Most men have no idea what to do, and simply smile and say congratulations. Everything seems to go well until she calls it “her little sea-monkey.” No one, except for her and me, seems to think that this nickname is cute. We both have, I guess, a sick sense of humor, or so we are learning.

She calls it a sea-monkey because it had a tail (from week 5-week 9). It also doesn’t look much different from the embryo of any other animal (chicken, fish, dog, human), and we’ve referred to it by many names… “little lizard,” “baby grape” (referring to it’s size), and a few others. We kept those other names mostly private, especially since she got such a terrible reaction to her “sea-monkey” nickname. At the very least, most people look disgusted or confused when she calls it a sea-monkey. One person ever went so far as to yell at her, telling her that it’s a human and she should be treating it that way.

First, we were shocked. Second, we thought this reaction was hilarious. I mean, really, it’s HER pregnancy. Third, I reassured this individual that my colleague, a surfer and a competitive swimmer, meant the nickname to refer to the activities that her child will likely be involved with. That calmed them down, and we were able to move on relatively pleasantly.

I think, since my work-wife (as we lovingly refer to each other) and I are pretty liberal, that we are not bothered by the fact that this little fetus (as it is now, in week 10) was an undifferentiated ball of cells not long ago. Neither of us refers to it as a “baby” yet. We probably won’t until she’s into her second trimester, at the earliest. The colleague who got upset about the nickname is notoriously conservative and religious. He signs all of his emails “God Bless,” and he sang a gospel hymn at our Christmas party last year. I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised by his reaction… but we were anyway. It’s funny how personal other people get with acquaintances’ pregnancies.

Anyway, we still refer to her fetus as “the sea-monkey” and I can’t wait for her to start getting sonograms. She doesn’t regret her other abortions and she feels so much better prepared now, at 28, than she did at 19 and 22 to have children. She’s happy she waited to have her baby, and she couldn’t be more ready now.

6 Responses to “The Sea-Monkey”

  1. Alicia December 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    A) Fantastic nickname!

    B) As ridiculous, and probably upsetting, as your co-workers reaction was/should be, I also find it terribly amusing. Even if you consider a fetus human with all the rights and protection as such, it’s not like a fetus in-utero can hear mommy call it names. And if it could, I highly doubt it has the brain functionality or life experience to be insulted.

  2. Kore December 16, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    “Sea Monkey” is reverential compared to what I’ve heard other women calling their fetuses that they plan to keep. One friend posted an ultrasound on Facebook with a caption that read, “I’m not too sure what it is, but it looks like it’s about to take over the Starship Enterprise.” A friend replied “Congratulations! It’s a chicken nugget!”

    It really is okay to have some levity about pregnancy and fetuses. They’re only human, after all.

  3. Steph L. December 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    I like the nickname. Some people just seem to go out of their way to be offended and complain.

  4. juliewashere88 December 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    I knew a woman who refereed to her wanted pregnancy as a parasite. It wasn’t derogatory, it was a description of the nature of the relationship.
    Anyway, a woman can call her pregnancy anything she wants. It’s hers. What sense does it make for others to be offended on behalf of that which cannot possibly be offended?
    Incidentally, do people often get offended at slang terms for children, like “rugrat?” I’ve never seen it.

  5. juliewashere88 December 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    That’s supposed to be referred, not refereed. Stupid spell-check. Stupid uneditable comments.

  6. Divine Oubliette August 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Yes, I was one of those women who LOVINGLY referred to her pregnancy/daughter as a parasite.

    Embryos and fetus’ are parasites, have you ever read a obstetrics textbook describing the implantation of a fertilized egg? It’s described as comparable to invasive cancer, the way a fertilized egg high jacks a women’s body to survive.

    And afterwards if you choose to breastfeed, a baby’s parasitical nature is even more obvious!

    So for 18 months I was host to a parasite, 9 months of her growing inside me and another 9 months of breast feeding every 3 hours!

    It’s not hurtful/offensive to call a pregnancy a parasite or parasitical, it’s medical fact that they are but if other’s want to get their panties in a twist over my nickname for my pregnancy/daughter then they can just live with twisted knickers because I don’t care.

    Maybe THEY should examine why they have such a knee jerk negative reaction to hearing such a thing? Seems to me that those kind of people would have the reaction regardless of whether the pregnancy was wanted and being kept or terminated through an abortion because they want ALL women to conform to their ideal of motherhood.

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