In the past week, the following things have been said to me in reference to my pregnant state:
"You've really ballooned since Christmas."
"You're doing a really good job at not getting a big pregnant belly."
"We can really see you're having a baby now."
"Any day now, huh?"
Two things are important:
- None of these things were said to me maliciously. No one was trying to hurt me or intentionally be a jerk.
- None of these things were said to me by people in my inner circle. They were said to me by people with whom I would normally make small talk about the weekend or the weather.
I remember this from being pregnant with Grady. As soon as I hit the 5-month mark and my belly went from "burrito?" to "BABY!" my body somehow became public property. Does that sound dramatic? Let me ask you this: when was the last time a stranger approached you and without even greeting you or making eye contract, rubbed your belly? Because it happened to me on Thursday. It's like my pregnant belly negates my right to exist without comment. And it's bullshit. I'm a 33-year old woman. I have enough body issues and insecurities without the peanut gallery weighing in on what my body looks like, thanks.
Pregnancy is exciting for some people and I know part of the problem stems from that awkward scenario of wanting to acknowledge something without actually knowing what to say. I'm not suggesting that no one should say anything to a pregnant woman ever. I'm just saying that pregnancy is hard enough - and emotionally fraught enough - without adding the (let's be honest, completely meaningless) opinions of other people, so why not add some sunshine to a pregnant person's life? Instead of commenting on her size, why not comment on her beauty? This week someone told me that pregnant women are the most beautiful people in the world and I know he was blowing smoke up my arse but I didn't care. My ankles are swollen. My calves are crisscrossed with varicose veins. My under-eye bags have their own under-eye bags. And for a second I felt like the most beautiful person in the world. If you're going to comment on how a pregnant woman looks, you should strive to make her feel like that instead of the feeling like the unwieldy blob she most likely feels like 24/7.
And if you can't manage that, you could always just say nothing at all (a novel concept, I know).