Although I’m pretty sure that many women before me have expressed the same sentiment, I’m going to do it again. Because apparently, all the other written blogs, articles, and verbally expressed frustrations from other pregnant women are not enough to stop the general public from offering their unsolicited comments on a pregnant woman’s size. So, again, on behalf of pregnant women everywhere, I write this.
I am urging the public to please keep your comments about a pregnant woman’s size to yourself. When you make such comments, you might mean well. You might think you are offering valuable insight, humour, or perhaps in some strange way, you think you are being complimentary. You are not. You are simply being an asshole.
Pregnant women come in all shapes and sizes. There are the lucky women who grow a tiny basketball belly and they look absolutely adorable. Though I’ve known very few women like this–they do exist. I don’t know what it’s like to sport the cute basketball belly, but I’ve been witness to a fair number of asshole comments towards these women, saying things like “is the baby healthy?” “are you gaining enough weight?” “are you sure you’re not exercising too much?” “pregnancy is no time to diet…” etc.
There’s no need for that. Unless you are telling a pregnant woman that she is beautiful, or unless you are the doctor that’s providing her prenatal care, please keep your trap shut.
I fall into the larger category of pregnant women. I gained almost 60 lbs with my first pregnancy, and over 7 months into my second pregnancy, I’m on track for at least a 50 lb weight gain. As I waddle around in these last couple of months, and for reasons totally unknown to me, I am receiving on average about 3 unsolicited comments per day about my large belly and large size. I don’t know what it is about pregnancy that makes people feel that they are all of a sudden allowed to lose the Tact Filter that says you should never comment on any woman’s body, but it happens when you’re pregnant. All. The. Time.
Earlier this week, I was not even in the work elevator for 30 seconds when a complete stranger commented (with a huge smile on her face) how impressive it was that I was still on my feet with the size of my belly. I told her I had almost 2 months to go, and she looked shell-shocked. And then, she smiled at me politely, told me to have a good day, and exited the elevator. So when it’s done with a smile, I’m convinced that people don’t mean to be assholes. Literally–this woman thought she was complimenting me–I think I was supposed to feel like a hero because I’m still standing? I’m not sure. However, that does not negate the fact this too, was an asshole comment.
Some of the other comments I’ve received include: “Are you sure it’s just one baby in there?” “WOAH. Look at how big you’ve gotten.” “Are you sure the doctor has your dates right?” “Should you be lifting your toddler like that?” (as if I have a choice)….and “Are you worried about the weight you’re gaining?” I could go on and on here. Same shit different pile. Remember this before you speak, random strangers: we pregnant women know what we look like. We are the ones with sore feet and aching joints at the end of the day. We don’t need your comments on top of all of that. Again, I am pretty sure people don’t mean to be assholes, but it’s gotten to the point where I’ve felt both shamed and judged by complete strangers. When the comments borderline body-shaming during what is supposed to be a beautiful time in your life, when you are supposed to get larger, it has to stop.
Here’s the thing….and this is probably surprising considering the body-obsessed society that we live in, but it’s the truth: My pregnant size does not bother me. You want to know why? Because I’m creating a life. My body is manufacturing a human being 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. That’s pretty fucking awesome if you ask me. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the whole point of pregnancy? To end it with a healthy baby?
Here’s the other thing: I am healthy. My blood pressure is fine. My blood sugar is fine. I exercise. I eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. I hoist a 35+ lb toddler around like a badass, day after day, with ease. Most importantly, my baby is healthy and developing well. I’ve asked my doctor if my weight should be a concern, and he said the same thing to me this pregnancy as he did last pregnancy: “Don’t worry about your weight, it’s all water, and it’s all going to your feet.” And he’s right….the 60 lbs came off me the first time, and therefore, I’m not worried here. Ladies and gentlemen, if a pregnant woman’s size does not concern her doctor, it should definitely not concern anyone else.
Let me end this with saying, that there are actually a few rare gems out there that know how to say nice things. I don’t know if these people are saints or just well-trained, charming humans, but for all these rare gems, know that I (and pregnant women everywhere) appreciate you. My husband tells me I’m beautiful every day, and has never once commented on my size. He gets it. I hope one day, that everyone gets it.