I know, I know, I’m not the only one who gets this kind of treatment. Being pregnant seems to leave you open to ‘fair game syndrome’ — as soon as you are showing or wearing maternity clothes, everyone seems to think that they should get to say whatever they want about your (my) pregnancy. Now, granted, I get that most people are really attempting to engage you in conversation about pregnancy, perhaps share something in common with you. Other people just run off the mouth because they are embarrassed or don’t know what else to say.
Everyone always asks when I’m due (at least in a roundabout way) and then tags on a comment once I answer. For me, the comments tend to run in one of 3 themes: 1. how huge I am, 2. birthdays, 3. how hot summers are — let’s address these one by one, just for kicks.
1. Yes, I am huge. Barn huge, and yes I have a long way to go. It is spawned from 2 different things–one being the fact that I’m overweight to begin with (which I freely admit), and the second being that I’m short as a stump and have no place to go but OUT! No variation on ‘you about to burst’, ‘are you sure it’s not twins’, ‘wow I thought you were due any day now’ and so on, is helpful in the slightest. Really. I get that I look huge, I accept it, now let’s move on. I rarely go out, so a lot of these are church people. I have no reason or rhyme to offend them, nor them, me. The rest are complete strangers, the cashier in the gas station, and so on. Now I’m not REALLY offended by the comments, because I do have a high level of education, and I CAN read people’s voices, body language, and facial expression very well most of the time. I’ve seen no malice in people’s faces. There is some amusement, a LOT of disbelief, and some concern. I think the ‘disbelief’ part is where a lot of people get into trouble. They can’t correlate what they are seeing to what they are hearing and thus… open mouth, insert foot.
2. I’m so glad your birthday is in August. I’m excited for you. However, I will NOT try and aim for your birthday, you random person, you.
3. Yes, I know I’m pregnant through the summer. No, it doesn’t bother me. If it did, what do you expect me to do about it? Give up?
There are variations on a theme, almost all of them want to know if we’re having a boy or a girl. Most people, especially the older ones, like to know that we’re having a ‘surprise’.
To that end, there are innumerable things people could say. So the next time you run across someone who is obviously pregnant….What you could say instead: I like your shirt. Those flip flops must be comfortable on your feet. I like your pedicure, that’s a nice summery color. Comment on ANYTHING other than their pregnancy. They will appreciate it.
I guess I’m not very approachable. No one ever patted or rubbed my belly or made inappropriate comments. In my non-pregnant state, I walk like a cop and can ward off strangers with a glance. Apparently it works when pregnant too. People who know me know I wouldn’t have appreciated it.
I wonder what it is that makes it okay for strangers to touch or comment indiscriminately when pregnancy is involved? I would never dream of it!
My stock phrase? Said with complete sincerity, because I believe it with all my heart? “You look wonderful!”
And you do. You’re doing what you were designed to do, building a baby, and you do it with grace and you glow, too. Anyone who says otherwise is free to kiss my ass. You can sure tell ’em that, too.
One of the girls in my childbirth class with baby#1 had an elderly lady approach her in the crib section at Sears.
“Oh you’re so pretty, honey. Are you planning to breastfeed?”
When my friend answered yes, the old woman HONKED HER BOOBS and said, “You’ll do well at it, you have good breasts.”
I always tell women that are pregnant how beautiful they look.
However when I was pregnant I didn’t mind the comments at all. I loved the opportunity to talk to anyone who would listen about my pregnancy, my baby, the heat (As I was pregnant through a Texas Summer and it was triple digits the whole last trimester!). I didn’t mind that I was huge, I loved it! I think there is nothing more beautiful than an enormous pregnant belly. I get why some men think that is the sexiest their mate ever looks. You may not feel it, but it is the truth!