I spent the 22nd week of my pregnancy in London, where I attended a conference, worked in an unfamiliar office with excellent snacks, and marveled at the fact that I had brought pretty much entirely the wrong clothes with me, given that it snowed for two and a half of the eight days I was there. I'm sorry, but I lived in the south of England from 1991 to 2002 and I can count on one gloveless hand the number of times I remember it snowing, let alone snowing in late March. So sue me for bringing my bikini and my flipflops.
(I didn't really bring my bikini and my flipflops. A couple more pairs of fleece-lined sweater tights wouldn't have gone amiss, though. Or a balaclava.)
I hit a couple of milestones during my work trip to London, and one of them is that I finally looked pregnant enough—or stuck my tummy out far enough and rubbed it shamelessly enough?—that someone offered me their seat on the train. It happened on two different occasions, actually, and it tickled me both times. I thanked both seat-giver-uppers profusely, of course, although a teeny-tiny part of me felt like a bit of a fraud, and an even teeny-tinier part of me thought it might've been sort of hilarious to paste a confused look onto my face in response, burst into offended tears, and stammer "What? But I'm not pregnant!"
The second major milestone is that the baby has now started kicking hard enough, upon occasion, for other people to feel it. This meant that I spent much of last week frozen in a weird and slightly awkward tableau with someone else's hand on my belly as we both waited for it to happen again. Seriously, I cannot count the number of times I suddenly shouted "ooh, the baby just kicked!" in the middle of a conversation and the person I was with immediately leaned over the table, clapped a hand onto my lower midsection, and then looked at me expectantly as the seconds ticked into minutes and we both tried to ignore the fact that we were touching more intimately than most people do on a third date.
I know a lot of pregnant women get weird about the belly touching, but I have to say that I don't really mind it at all. I've been pretty surprised by how many people want to do it, but hey, it's not like I'm going to make you buy me dinner first. What's more awkward is claiming that I felt the baby kick and then waiting desperately for him to perform again so that I don't sound like I'm making it up. I'm pretty sure a few people last week were just like "oh yeah, I totally felt him," if only to find a gracious way to pull their hand away and put an end to what had been starting to become a rather uncomfortable interaction.
The only other noteworthy thing that's happened during week 22 is my sudden inability to hear about anything sad or terrible happening to a child. I mean, it's not like I had previously rejoiced in sad and terrible things happening to children, of course, but I had usually been able to think "oh god, how sad and terrible" and then move on without it ripping up my life.
Now, however, I am as sensitive as an English person's pale freckled legs on a beach in Florida when it comes to awful things befalling poor wee innocents—and their parents!—and I had to physically force myself to stop reading a man's newspaper over his shoulder on the tube last week once I realized I was weeping over the story of a little girl's stroller being blown into the path of an oncoming car. It's become so bad, in fact, that I can no longer even stand it when the spam filter on my blog asks me "are you sure you want to delete this comment and all its children?" because what? All its children? I don't want to hurt any children! No, no, no, let's just let this garbled solicitation for knock-off viagra stay where it is. It's fine, honestly. Unless you want me to start crying about it.