Revenge of the Rideau Centre

by DaniGirl on September 28, 2007 · 14 comments

in Postcards from my uterus

I’ve been noodling a post in my head for some time now about how sick I am getting of the Rideau Centre. For those of you unfamiliar with Ottawa, it’s the largest shopping mall in the city, and I traverse it daily from my bus stop to my office and back again. And then, of course, the magnetic draw of the food court pulls me back in a few more times a week. In the nearly three years since the end of my last maternity leave, I must have passed through that damn mall more than 2500 times. I’m truly and fully sick of it.

But the mall must have been listening to these unfavourable thoughts percolating through my brain, because yesterday, the Rideau Centre took a pre-emptive strike. One minute I was getting off the escalator and striding purposefully past Club Monaco toward the bus stop, and the next minute my right knee and outstretched hands were slamming forcefully into the tile floor. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to lock my elbows, or else I would have ended up in belly-flopping on the ground. I was so shocked by the impact that I actually held the pose for what seemed like quite a long time as I ran various mental system diagnostics to make sure all the parts were still functioning. My first thought, of course, was for the baby, but although it was a jarring landing, my knee and shoulders took the brunt of it and I was reassured to feel the baby moving just a few minutes later.

But the part that really surprises me is that not one person even looked at me, let alone stopped to see if I was okay. We’re talking the Rideau Centre in midafternoon – it makes Grand Central Station look deserted – and here’s an obviously pregnant woman on her hands and knees, tote bag splayed out at her side… and nobody did so much as a double-take. So I wobbled back to my feet and lurched on toward the bus stop, determined not to miss my bus despite my throbbing knee. (This morning, it’s sporting a lovely purple bruise most of the size of my palm… and wouldn’t you know it, that’s the same knee that’s been aching with a pregnancy-induced recurrence of my latent patello-femoral syndrome. Ouch.)

Damn Rideau Centre. Of all the things I’ll be happiest to leave behind on a year of maternity leave, it’s at the top of the list.


Speaking of pregnant, and further to the post earlier this week about cool photos at 21 weeks gestation, I was looking for something entirely different when I stumbled across a story from earlier this year about a baby who was born at 21w6d – and survived. And by the wickedest of chances, the day I found this article I too was – you guessed it – 21w6d gestation. I keep thinking of the baby I’m percolating as some lime-sized amorphous blob at this point, but sheesh, that’s a real baby I’ve got growing in there, and aside from the fact that he’s white and she’s black, I’m guessing he probably looks a whole lot like this right about now.

Click to embiggen. Photo courtesy of UK Daily Mail.

So while I found that story both touching and reassuring, I found the story (hat tip to the lovely Brown Eyed Bex, for sending it to me – haha not so funny, Bex!) of the Russian woman who just popped out a 17 lbs baby girl (!!!) a little more worrisome. You have to click through to the article, just to look at the photos!!

Seriously! Seventeen pounds! I mean, I’ve always been absurdly proud of having birthed my 9 lbs and 10 lbs boys, and have joked that I’d better not continue the pattern this time around… but SEVENTEEN pounds? And it’s her TWELFTH baby, no less. The mind boggles. But the part of the article that truly chilled my heart was where she said to the reporter, “I ate everything, we don’t have the money for special foods so I just ate potatoes, noodles and tomatoes.”

Um. Potatoes? Check. Noodles? Check. Tomatoes? Like they’re going out of friggin’ style. (Check.)


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Not So Little Sister September 28, 2007 at 10:05 am

We walked through that mall probably just once when we were in Ottawa in June. We walked BY it a lot though. I can see how you would get sick of it. I’m sorry you fell down. I would’ve stopped to help you! I really can’t believe not a single person even looked your way. I hope your knee feels better soon…

2 Laura September 28, 2007 at 10:49 am

People always sy that Ottawa is a friendly place – well, I beg to differ. I cannot count how many times people did not hold doors open or help me when I was lugging a 10 month old and was 8 months pregnant. I fnd Ottawa TERRIBLE. Poor you. Hope you can rest and I am so glad baby on board was ok. Hang in there.

3 urbanpedestrian September 28, 2007 at 11:20 am

Malls are horrible, horrible places. Their airless, exhausting populated by uninspired chain and big box stores and over-processed fast food. People who hang out in malls are products of this environment so it’s little wonder they don’t give a fig for their fellow human beings. It’s not Ottawa, it’s malls everywhere. Stroll some of the neighbourhoods where the independent shop owners are and you’ll meet a different class of people. And, while it is possible to go around the Rideau Centre to and from the bus, I wouldn’t want to do it in the last stages of pregnancy.

4 Dal September 28, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Not only is the baby HUGE, but what’s up with her belly button? Where is the stub and why is there green ‘ink’ around it?

5 kgirl September 28, 2007 at 12:15 pm

uh yeah, why is it that every single pregnant woman I know has been sent a link to the 17lb baby story? Many people have a pretty evil sense of humour, no?

And the Rideau Centre does suck. Even more because it made you fall.

6 alison September 28, 2007 at 1:28 pm

I’m sorry that you fell and no one stopped to help. That really surprises me. Oh, and you better throttle back on those hashbrown lasangnas, lol, or you might end up with a 17-pounder too. *ducking to avoid thrown objects*

7 Loukia September 28, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Oh, I hope you are okay, that sounds like a nasty fall and I’m sorry no one was courteous enough to ask if you’re okay, or to help you up! You know, I find Americans are sometimes way nicer then Canadians, and the malls I frequent in the USA have a better calibre of people in them anyway! Ha! (Seriously, the food court level of Rideau Centre has some of the scariest people I’ve ever seen!)
On another note – since working downtown several years ago, especiallly in your building, when I did, Dani – not a day went by that I did not go to Rideau to buy something, anything… I’m addicted to just shopping, it’s pretty bad to be honest with you! Now, on my lunch break, I will drive there… from Laurier Street! Shame, shame, I know… but there is always something my son needs… or me… 😉 I think I will miss the ability of just going shopping on my lunch everyday when I am on mat leave. At least I’ll be saving money though, right?

8 Karen September 28, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Oh Dani, that’s pretty awful that no one came to help you!

I was quite clumsy when I was pregnant – something about your balance being really thrown off even with the slightest additional weight and internal shifts in your body to account for it. THat’s my excuse anyway.

I know Ottawa fairly well, used to travel there a lot for work and my boy loves the museums, so am quite familiar with the Rideau, (also it’s handy attachment to the hotel). It’s not the best mall, but at least it’s a mall which is very needed in your very harsh winter days there.

9 Kellan September 28, 2007 at 4:51 pm

A YEAR maternity leave?! How nice! I would have stopped for you – I’m always that one that stops (I don’t know why). Someone should have stopped! I hope you are okay. And … I think any mall – is a good mall (like to shop!!!). Have a good weekend.

10 crazymumma September 28, 2007 at 9:22 pm

I CAN believe how many people did NOT stop for you.

honestly. sometimes I do not know what our world is coming to. I am sos so so so glad you are ok.

11 suze September 28, 2007 at 11:31 pm

I’m appalled that no one stopped for you – even in the souless Rideau Centre. I’m glad everyone’s okay, aside from your bruised knees…

12 Barbara September 29, 2007 at 4:26 am

I’d be indignant at the thought of no one stopping if I hadn’t been pregnant in Ottawa as well. People just aren’t conscious of the extra bit of courtesy pregnant women would benefit from. I always found women between 20 -45 (you know, in their “child-bearing” years) to be the worst about not offering their seat on a bus or holding the door. Teenage boys were the best – I think they hope that being nice to pregnant women will lower their chances of becoming a father too soon ;+) I’m always on the look out for pregnant women – I want to share their happiness about the baby on board. Sometimes I give a “hang in there” smile so that I want blab on like a baby-crazed old lady. I definitely offer my seat or to help even in the Rideau Centre, which we agree sucks a bit of your soul.

13 liz September 29, 2007 at 9:20 am

Also with the indignation here. How DARE they not stop?

Not only is your balance thrown off by the baby being in there, but the hormones that are stretching the ligaments around your uterus and in your pelvis are indiscriminate. Knees, shoulders, elbows hips, ankles are all getting loose and stretchy.

14 slouching mom September 29, 2007 at 1:19 pm

How could no one have stopped? That’s appalling.

“system diagnostics” — heh.

I am a proud preemie — born at 30 weeks, weighing in at 2 pounds.

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