We've all heard the dreaded remarks.
You know the ones... they make everyone who actually remembers being pregnant
[or has any empathy/consideration whatsoever] cringe.
They go something like one of the following statements:
"Wow, you're looking BIG"
"Are you sure you aren't having twins?"
"Only 28 weeks? You've got a looong way to go"
"Looks like we're getting close. Wait, you're only 28 weeks!??"
"So really.... you're sure you aren't having twins?"
Let me explain, because if you've never had the experience of being pregnant maybe you don't understand. Being pregnant is this wonderful experience where you are helping bring a little innocent spirit to earth and you. gain. weight. But for everybody it is a completely different experience. Some women are worried about not gaining enough because they're barfing their guts out for so long. I have a cousin who swears she gains a baby in each thigh when she's pregnant. Some little tiny things gain 60 lbs per pregnancy and have 10 pound babies and pop right back. Our bodies are different, our babies are different, our pregnancies are different.
How it's worked for me is this. I have always struggled a bit with weight. When I got pregnant I was down about 30 pounds, the healthiest I'd been in years, and weighed about what I did my freshman year of high school. Then I got nauseous. My whole regimen of eating habits/shape went down the tubes. I was exhausted. Working out seemed ludacris. [try finding the desire to work out next time you have the stomach flu. not impossible, but really hard] Vegetables sounded disgusting. I had to eat every two hours to keep the nausea at bay. I wanted to dry heave thinking about eating pretty much anything, especially proteins and good carbs. Forget even thinking about leftovers or prep-ahead meals- the smell of that microwave was like death. So really, I ate a lot of soda crackers and top ramen/yogurt. It wasn't exactly the healthiest/best time of my life but I was trying to stay the least nauseous I could while still getting some kind of nutrition for baby Winters. All of a sudden around Thanksgiving I started feeling better, so bring on the holiday food, baby! And because I hadn't really gained anything at all up until this point I just ate the food. [plus, holidays people. holidays] Then we followed December with a cruise in January. [read: cruise=unlimited food at all times] then came cravings, then came the pop of the tummy.
Then came the "huge" comments. Then, and only then, came any insecurity. Up until that point I had been blissfully happy and growing a baby and taking it in stride and watching my belly grow. I was absurdly proud at night when that little bump would start to show and didn't think anything of the weight gain. Then came the comments.
First, let's just think common sense. Would you say anything that held those same connotations to anybody other than a pregnant woman? Is it ever acceptable to comment on a woman's weight gain when it happens any other way? Probably not. Every one of those comments implies we are either gaining weight at an unnatural pace, looking large enough to house another small child in our growing belly, or are just huge. I'm not too easily offendable, but I just can't seem to twist any of those into a rose colored lense and make them into something nice.
not cool batman.
I don't care if we are huge. Show some dang respect for the work we're going through. Show some respect for the nausea we've endured, for the fitful sleeps, and [for some women] the miserable miserable full 9 months. Have some respect for the years we are about to encounter: the baby raising years. We are brave enough to take that on, and maybe we aren't brave enough just yet and need some support. There are lots of women who refuse to go out after a certain point in pregnancy because people just don't show enough respect. I implore you to think about how you make people feel.
So next time you see a pregnant woman, and you feel inclined to say something... make it kind.
You don't have to be dishonest and tell us we're tiny. We don't care about being tiny.
You do not have to ask if there are extra babies in there: we've had ultrasounds.
You can tell us you like our shoes.
Or you can tell us we look great, beautiful, cute, darling, etc.
You can even say how excited you are we're having a baby. Guess what, we are too.
If none of the above work out for you and your filter: keep it to yoself.
Please and thank you.
A Pregnant woman