Friday, May 8, 2009

What not to say to a pregnant lady...

No one should ever ever say anything to a pregnant lady about how big or little she is. Really. Just don't say anything at all. All you should say about appearance, if anything, is "You look great!" or "What a cute shirt."

I'm not someone who's very sensitive about my body. Even for a few years in my 20s, when I gained a substantial amount of weight, and really wasn't healthy, I was pretty sure I looked just fine. I probably should have been a bit more concerned than I actually was.

I thought maybe that would give me a by on the whole pregnancy body image crisis thing, and largely it has (ask me again postpartum, though). But what I hadn't expected was people talking incessantly about how little I am (or rather, how little my belly is). I've been tolerating comments like "is there really a baby in there?" since the very beginning, and now, "You can't seriously be about to have that baby, you barely look 5 months pregnant." These comments are coming mostly from women who have themselves been pregnant, and thus should know better. I am already pretty darn worried about this kiddo, especially since he (it feels so strange to use pronouns) is coming a bit sooner than we thought. I really would rather not be worrying that he might not be big enough in there. (Never mind that my million and two care providers keep assuring me he's growing right on schedule. Between the incessant comments and that story in the "Business of Being Born" where the mom is measuring on target but still has a growth-restricted baby, I can't seem to shake this particular worry).

9 comments:

Jean said...

I believe I spotted you on public transport the other day, and what I saw was a happy glowing mother...with a sizeable belly! I don't know what those others are talking about.

(This of course doesn't mean you're fat. Hmm. I see how these compliments could get complicated real quick.)

babypants said...

I swear being pregnant means people think they should be able to openly comment about your body. I am sorry that people are causing you doubt and worry. I can totally see how you would feel that way given all the medical stuff you guys have been going through. I think the only thing you can do is trust your doctors. When is 37 weeks for you guys?? I wonder if our babies will be born close together. xoxo L

Cindy B-E said...

As a fat woman, I actually enjoyed this aspect of pregnancy as it was the only time in my life that I was supposed to GAIN weight. Of course, ironically, there were some worries about my not gaining enough weight. But the baby was fine in there and growing fine. Just goes to show that in a society obsessed with (women's) appearance, you can't win no matter what you do.

You can be beautiful and healthy no matter what size you are, pregnant or not! And you ARE beautiful and healthy, so there. :-)

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

I couldn't agree more! I'm only 30 weeks, but the things people say about my body just astound me. I guess I missed the disclaimer in the pregnancy manual that said people were free to act more rudely and behave as though your body were a public circus.

Sometimes, Cindy's right, you just can't win.

Beth said...

As sad as I am that someone else is having the same experience, I'm sort of glad I'm not alone in the "you don't look as if you're going to have the baby soon" comments. Our little one is due mid-July and so many people feel compelled to tell me that I'm "not very big for being so far along" - gah! Thank you for posting and I agree that the folks who merely say "You look great" win the kindness prize... Here's to hoping you meet with more of them than the "small"-minded commenters :)

poppycat said...

Sorry you have added worry from all those people who don't think before they speak. How soon people forget that every woman and every pregnancy is defferent.

giggleblue said...

ah, it seems when people get around pregnant woman, they just feel at liberty to spout out whatever comes to mind. i know it's hard to ignore them, but really remember these people have no clue what they are talking about, they are merely just talking.

sending warm thoughts and strength!

Strawberry said...

All along people kept telling Nutella how small she was...she couldn't be "that" pregnant, etc. And then out popped an 8 pounder. You're absolutely right- people need to shut their trap about size.

Sarah F said...

I think everyone else has hit some of my sentiments ... so I'll just say I love you. XOXO