courtney heringThe ink was barely dry on our marriage certificate when my husband and I found out we were going to be parents -- actually, I found out the good news the first day back from our honeymoon.

Sure, some of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy were already there, but I honestly chalked everything up to pre-wedding stress. It was only when I finally had a chance to slow down in South Beach that I realized something didn't feel right.

When my new husband leaned in for a kiss one night, with whiskey and Vidalia onion chips breath, I was disgusted: "I swear, if you don't get away from me with that breath right now I'm going to barf on your face," is what I told him. And, to be clear, I usually love whiskey. That's when I realized something was up.

So much for a romantic getaway.

We also jinxed ourselves on the honeymoon. We'd talked about how awesome it was going to be to exist in the "double income, no kids" category for a couple of blissful years, and how we'd be able to afford to take occasional trips like this. Plus, every time we saw/heard a kid at the resort we were staying at, one of us would make some snarky remark like, "Jesus, this is South Beach...haven't these people heard of Orlando?"

Since I found out I was pregnant, I've vacillated between being absolutely thrilled, and freaking terrified. Not to mention spanning every emotion in between. Mostly though, as determined by my crazy hormones, I have been downright surly...T-minus four weeks, and I am so over it.

Today, I had to go pick up supplies for my hospital bag at Target. Word to the wise: Never, ever, ever go to Target in your last month of pregnancy. Odds are, every rotten kid and their exhausted, embittered mothers will be there, and it will put the fear of God into you.

(Side note: My husband is currently hovering over my shoulder correcting my grammar as I type. Apparently he has a death wish, even though his hovering is under the guise of giving me shoulder rubs.)

There, that got rid of him. Now we're alone again...

Target. F*cking Target.

I'm slowly waddling through the aisles, trying to discern from my Lamaze checklist what I really, truly need (I kid you not, one of the items on there is a vibrating massager) when I hear a kid the next aisle over saying:

"Mom! Mom! Mama, guess what? Guess what, Mama! Mommomomomomomomomom, guess what?"

At which point I can no longer take it. But he's certainly not letting up.

"Guess what, MOM!"

Which finally invokes a disinterested, "What, dear?"

No more than one minute later, the cacophony of whines, sniffles, wails and gnashing of teeth is interrupted by this mother of the loudest offender absolutely freaking out, screaming (and I assure you I am not exaggerating this one teeny-tiny bit),

"SHUUUUT-UUUUUPPPPP!!!!!!"

I swear it was so quiet you could have heard a ghost queef. Everyone within my immediate (and not so immediate) vicinity was finally struck mute, which I found to be a thing of awesome beauty. Don't get me wrong: I never thought I'd be totally cool with a parent verbally abusing her kid in such a way, but, in that moment, I kind of got it.

Then, breaking the silence, a little girl of about five or six who'd been staring me down for a while before tugging on her mother's sleeve, asked: "Mommy: Why is the lady's belly so fat?"

Now, despite the leanings of this note, I am not a total monster. I wasn't pissed at the little girl for asking the question -- or even for her utter lack of decorum. Somebody should have taught her "fat" isn't a nice word to call people in public, but it certainly wasn't her fault.

It was her mother's dispassionate response upon examining me that got me: "I don't know, honey."

What a lazy bitch. At that girl's age, I totally knew about pregnant women. It's not like the kid needed a biology lesson for the woman to say, "There's a baby in there, sweetheart." Because clearly, CLEARLY, there's a baby in there. Even if there was a question, the cart full of maternity clothes could have -- should have -- confirmed or denied such a conclusion. In other words, Mommy Dearest just let her daughter call a stranger fat with no explanation or apology.

And, basically, my greatest fear is becoming one of these women. Considering the example of motherhood I admired most was the lady who freaked out on her kid (hey, at least she was paying attention to it), I have to wonder if being an attentive, loving mother sucks as much as it seemed to the women I encountered today.

Better yet: How do I avoid this happening to me?


Since that's not Lemondrop's area of expertise, we turned to an expert to give Courtney some advice. Click here to see what the Answer Mama over at Parentdish.com suggests. And of course, if you have your own advice, leave it in the comments!

Courtney Belsley is a newlywed living in central Illinois with her husband and two cats (a.k.a. practice babies). She is expecting her first real baby any day now (!) and is very much looking forward to becoming a mother. Before her third trimester, Courtney worked as a licensed massage therapist at a local spa and enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games in her copious free time.