culture shock · daily life

Mbak, lagi hamil ya?

You’re pregnant, aren’t you?


Ever since I had my enormous weight gain, I have been asked this question many times in Jakarta, mostly by my Uber drivers. For some reason, some of them felt the need to verify my fertility before they took a great care in navigating the uneven pavement of the big durian and hitting the break a little bit before going gung-ho through a large hole on the road. You unpregnant people? Forget that luxury.

not pregnantSource: Pinterest

I could understand it if someone was trying to do something nice, like giving up their seat on the public transport for me, and as a result that exert their misunderstanding. However, in my case, it’s mostly a thing of confirmation. Maybe it’s a linguistic thing. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I’m not sure.

So to say, I don’t think they have no reason for mistaking me as a pregger. I do not fit the standard physical feature of the average Indonesian women here. I’m big. Even before my weight gain I was considered “fat” by Indonesian standard. And I kid you not, I used to be a size 4-6 in the US. On top of it, I like wearing feminine dresses in pastel-ish colors. I guess those are the golden criteria as a pregnant woman here. I just need to hold a plate of rujak (assorted fruit cuts with spicy peanut and palm sugar sauce popular among pregnant women to alleviate nausea) in public and I will be the epitome of someone who supposedly is carrying another human being inside her.

It’s weird, but this never happened in the US. Either people are not aware as much of someone else’s physical appearance or they just think it’s not something that requires a checkbox.

To see it from the positive light, thus far no one has crossed the boundaries even further by petting my belly as they ask when I’m due. That’s when I’ll know I’ve hit rock bottom and I might have to get my stomach stapled for the community’s sakes.

In the meantime, maybe I should just start putting an f-ing bow on my tummy. The next time someone asked me if I were pregnant, I would say yes, lit a cigarette and take a swig from my bottle of vodka just to mess with them.


7 thoughts on “Mbak, lagi hamil ya?

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