A new cultural experience I'm about to embark on is the 'Pregnant Lady in Brazil' experience. In Canada, pregnant women exist (obviously) but, in my experience, they aren't fawned over nor do the seas part when a pregnant lady walks into a room. Pregnant women, in turn, do not expect such treatment (at least I don't think they do).
In Brazil, pregnant women are like Goddesses, carrying the Miracle of Life in their pouches. The Law even bows to pregnant women, as it's actually the LAW that Preggos can move straight to the front of any line (name a line - the bank? Yes. A crowded 5-star restaurant? Yes. A food bank? You can count on it.) They get the preferential seats on the bus and they also get to line up in the preferential lines at the grocery store (and probably move to the front of that line even! They can trump any line!)
The reason I've been thinking about this lately is because I just don't have this natural instinct in me, to finally take advantage of this special treatment. I recently spent the weekend with a good friend who happens to be 7 months pregnant. She fully pulled out her pregnancy card everywhere we went (btw, if you are with said pregnant woman, you ALSO get to butt the line!) She even pulled out the "it's the law!" card. She told me that since the beginning, she has carried her ultrasound photo around with her taking advantage of her right wherever she goes!
I find this shocking simply because I admire her guts! I guess I've been a little conditioned to believe that pregnancy isn't an illness, and therefore shouldn't award you special treatment. I had to come to terms with this change in perception after moving here but I can honestly say that I love this law. I love the way Brazilian culture looks out for its citizens who are a little less-than-able (that goes for seniors as well as pregnant women). For a culture that I perceive to be so "everyone for him or herself", Brazilians have really pulled together to respect this courtesy and make sure others respect it too.
It makes me a little sad to know that I won't be staying here to fully experience this huge gesture of kindness (we are moving back to Canada to have our baby - more on that in another blog). In fact, it was slightly distressing to me to speak to a Canadian friend who told me that she parks in the 'Expectant Mothers' reserved parking spots because "pregnancy isn't an illness." News flash. Neither is old age. Should we take away their spots too?
I'm not taking one opinion and turning it into the opinion of an entire country - I trust my loveable Canadians that they wouldn't do that! But I'm curious to know if other expats were surprised/annoyed/un-phased by this pretty strict law?? I did find it a little shocking since it's about the ONLY law that all Brazilians really abide by.... I mean, we all know that nobody respects traffic laws! Similarly, have any Brazilians had any interesting experiences being pregnant outside of Brazil?