Reflections on motherhood...


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Now I'm pregnant, feel free to comment on my body

It's a common gripe amongst pregnant women.  Suddenly your body is not your own, people feel free to comment, they touch your stomach without asking, bla bla.  Last time around, all the comments about my shape and size floated right past me, mostly unchecked and unnoticed.  I was also slightly in denial, telling everyone who commented on my size that I would be having a nice, normal-sized 7 pound baby, thank you very much.  Little did I know.

But I'm really noticing it this time.  Probably because I'm a little bit tired, and, according to the last person who looked at my scan, and the one before that, "this is going to be a very big baby".  Great.  Nice to know.  But does everyone have to comment on the fact that I look like I'm either (a) carrying twins or (b) about 8 months' pregnant?  And what is it about these comments that makes me conversationally inclined to make the commenter feel better about the faux pas they've just committed?

Almost daily I have a conversation that goes something like:

"You haven't got long to go."
"Three months, actually.  I'm not due till January."
[surprised look, reassessment of belly size] "Gosh, are you sure there's just one baby in there?"
"Yes, definitely just one baby.  He's just a big baby."

Or this one:
"Wow you look like you haven't got long to go!"
"Months actually, I'm not due till January"
"Gosh, really?"
"Yeah, don't worry, it's just a big baby boy"
[someone else, chipping in] "My daughter's about to have a baby in a few weeks and she's the same size as you"
"Is that so?" [Did you seriously just say that to me?!]

These one-liners didn't really deserve a response:
"You're huge!!!" [Thanks, I was hoping I could just stand over here unnoticed]
"You look really tired, have you got the weekend off?" [Are you kidding?  I have a three year old at home]

For some reason, I find it even more surprising that it's men doing a lot of the commenting.  Men are well-trained to know that comments on body shape/size/appearance, even the most positive and well-meaning, should be approached with extreme caution.  But once you're pregnant, it's like that rule goes out the window, and it's open season on commenting. actually has some great suggested responses.  My personal favourite:
"My excuse is that I'm pregnant, what's yours?"

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