I work with mostly men in a man’s world at a man’s job. What happens when life events of a young woman occur sometime along the way? Let’s look at my wedding and first pregnancy, for examples.
Working in a male dominated field can sometimes leave you lonely for some female companionship. In my world, I left the St. Louis area to embark on a new adventure to North Carolina. I left behind my beloved softball team, the Bombers, and many female friends with whom I had spent hours conversing and sharing the single life in St. Louis.
The construction engineering position I held in North Carolina put me smack dab in the middle of male-dom. The only other female on site that I remember was our secretary, a much older woman and a local, never-been-out-of-North Carolina person. We conversed some at work, but didn’t really have a thing in common.
I became engaged while on that job to my boyfriend who was born and raised in St. Louis and had moved to North Carolina with me. There were no showers or parties for us. The wedding took place in Oklahoma, in my hometown. A quick trip out there to wed, a small celebration and a honeymoon that equated to taking an extra day to make the trip back home and I was soon back to work. Yea, it felt weird, especially with all the hoopla that is spent on gifts and cards for co-workers’ birthdays, births and weddings in today’s world. I guess the guys just didn’t have a clue how to acknowledge my wedding and so they didn’t.
A transfer to South Carolina followed the completion of the construction assignment and within a few years, I was pregnant with my first child. My co-workers and I had developed a real bond over the four years before my big announcement. We regularly went out to lunch, shared dinners with our spouses, and attended local civic events together. An occasional Super Bowl or World Series event would bring us socially together as well. They were part of my family.
When I announced that I was pregnant, the excitement from these wonderful folks was overwhelming. The older workers took on the grandfather and grandmother roles, doting on me along the way. The other guys I worked with acted as new uncles to my unborn child. This really made me feel loved at a time when I missed my immediate family immensely, wanting to have my mom feel my baby bump instead of the secretaries. They played second string perfectly.
I was shocked when a male co-worker suggested throwing a baby shower. His wife’s idea, actually, but this would be no normal baby shower. The invitations were sent to my co-workers, male and female. Spouses were invited. This was going to be a big deal.
My husband and I showed up at the appointed time and had no idea what was in store. All of the guys and their wives showed up bearing presents. The refreshments were rolled out, a cake, of course, soda, ice, and a beer keg. What baby shower is complete without a keg?
I took a poll of the men present to see how many were first timers to a baby shower. All hands raised high. No doubt it was not only the first baby shower for them, but the last one.
We didn’t play any of those silly games to guess how big mama has grown or speculated on the sex of the baby. We ate, opened presents, and the guys drank beer. Soon we settled in anxiously anticipating our new relative who would arrive in the coming weeks.