Friday, September 14, 2012

Pregnant in Paris

There are obvi many reasons I love Paris, but this is solely about the treatment of pregnant women in Paris. Of course, it  wasn't 100% positive...nothing is perfect; however, in my stay, 99% of the time the preggo perks were positive.

Case in point...

In "queues" (they use British English here mostly), you can ask the guard at the door if you can skip to the front of the line. My husband always did that for me because I told him it was probably more forgivable when I don't demand my pregnant rights (*wink*). et voilà... I was granted VIP quick access in front of probably a 2-hr wait (for tickets + security/entrance)  at Musee d'Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp store at the Galleries Lafayette (I even got to pay in a separate line; no waiting; in and out in 5 mins flat!), and got to observe and take a picture of La Jaconde (Mona Lisa) in front of this swarm of people.....

and galleries lafayette....(so many asians in line for their obsession with luxury goods).

On the metros, some woman gives up her seat and then a man nearby her follows suit insisting I sit. One woman even took a good look at me and then scoffed, "Tout le monde assied!" (trans. 'everyone just sits!') then pointed out a seat to me as soon as it emptied.  Even at the Charles de Gaulle airport, I bypassed all security lines and even got two seats to myself to elevate my feet. 

(Edit upon return to the US: This does not work in the US; our flight was delayed and then they overbooked the next connection flight because we missed ours and all the security lines that were snaking around to the far back, of which I was at the end...we asked kindly to no luck. Welcome to America. No real perks for the pregnant, just gushes and everyone wants to touch your belly.)

I'm not gonna lie, it's a great perk considering I walked around all over Switzerland and Paris for 8 days straight. Had I not been so big, my hubby and I would've rented bicycles (I keep having to remind him, I'm too far along in my pregnancy to be whizzing through town on a's his first pregnancy too). My feet and legs swell a lot because I'm constantly on them. My little one inside seems to LOVE the ride. The instance I sit down, she is relentless in her kicking. But my point is, to be carrying around an extra 25 lbs + human does make things a bit cumbersome, especially little things I used to take for granted like standing for more than 8 minutes in one place or walking without my low back hurting or legs swelling. 

However, Paris has spoiled me. With each glance at my swelling belly, I am met with a warm smile and a kind gesture: they don't like to see a pregnant woman wait or stand around. No one touches my belly; they respect my space. No one asks me how far along and comments on my size (big or small). This is what I miss about the city. The daily interactions with people that still reminds me we DO care for one another. Sure, I've experienced a few Parisians who seem to have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. It's not peak season for holidays/vacation but the city was swarming with tourists. If my city was swarming with tourists and they expected me to understand their language, I think I would likely be the same. The people of Paris, particularly my friend Laure, whom I haven't seen in years, and her fiancé Sebastien, whom I'd just met, have welcomed us into their homes for some foie gras, escargots, local wines and pâtisseries with the greatest hospitality.  Perhaps when you focus on the beautiful things in life, beauty abounds. I don't know how I get so lucky all the time, but maybe it's just how I choose to focus on the minor things that make me grateful or happy every single day. I swear it works! 

Moral of the story? go to paris when you're visibly pregnant. 

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