I just gave birth to my second child and I couldn’t be happier! Not only is it amazing to finally meet my little boy but no longer having to be uncomfortably pregnant and having to deal with the ridiculous comments about my body that I had to endure during my pregnancy days are over with! Hooray!
I had been counting down the days to not have to go in to work being so far along in my pregnancy, but not for the reasons you would think. I didn’t mind doing my work duties or anything like that. The real reason I was so anxious to stop going to work was because of all the unsolicited comments I would have to endure each and every day from the public.
My first pregnancy was much easier in terms of how I felt and my body in general. I felt like an ethereal goddess honestly, it was a beautiful experience, especially after trying for years to get pregnant and seeing fertility specialists and the like. Our bodies are amazing and I was truly understanding that for the first time in my life, how absolutely incredible it was to be making magic inside my body when I had been told it wouldn’t happen naturally for us. The power of positive thinking and visualization is amazing.
As my first pregnancy progressed and I began really showing I was still feeling really good about myself and my body. I had never experienced any negative body shaming and I had a positive body image. And then all of a sudden I started showing and the comments started coming. Now mind you, I’m a petite woman, I’m only 5’2″ (and a half!) and typically weigh less than 110 lbs when not pregnant. With both of my pregnancies I gained maybe 25 pounds, and it was all belly, I was not that big for my size I thought but boy did some other people think otherwise. I know a lot of women retain water and gain a lot more than that and some gain weight all over and their bodies change drastically more so than mine did. It breaks my heart that other women are subjected to the same comments as I was (or worse) but may not have a strong positive body image that tells them they are beautiful just as they are.
A lot of the comments were very sweet and nice, like congratulations and what are you having or when are you due? But then there were a lot that were not so nice. I work in a place with a lot of employees, like 800 or more employees so I obviously don’t know the majority of them but I see many of them in passing. I soon found that many people who never even talked to me ever before, those that would pass by me day in and day out without ever even saying hi to me over the years were all of sudden all up in my business and had become very bold and would come right up to me and say things to me about my changing body.
It was like open season for people I didn’t even know to analyze and judge and comment on how my body looked. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed talking about my pregnancy to those people who I actually knew, who I worked with and talked to me, those I considered acquaintances. I also didn’t mind the nice sincere comments from people I didn’t know about how cute my bump was or how I looked great or that I was glowing.
This second time around being pregnant and starting to show at work brought back all those feelings of having to deal with the unsolicited comments once again.
It really bothered me when someone would say something inappropriate but I’d smile and push through and try to respond to their questions/comments as nicely and professionally as possible so not to get in any trouble but inside I’d be gritting my teeth, cussing and thinking how awful it was that pregnant women were subjected to such unwelcome comments. I honestly thought about putting a sign around my neck saying “yes I’m pregnant, yes I’m big, no I don’t want to hear your opinion or comments about it”.
I don’t think most people realized how annoying their comments were nor do I think that they were intentionally trying to body shame but the majority of the comments I endured came from other women!? Of course men would say ridiculous things too but coming from a woman, especially women who have been pregnant before was unbelievable to me!?!
So here’s my top list of things people need to quit saying to pregnant women:
This list is not all-inclusive and understandably all women have their own opinion on what they feel is acceptable or not but this is just my list of things I wished I never had to hear again when pregnant or if I ever decided to get pregnant again:
- “You haven’t had that baby yet?” Oh dear I haven’t had I? I didn’t notice, I guess I haven’t?! Thanks for pointing that out to me kind soul! I must have left my magic wand at home that allows me to pop out this baby whenever you feel like I should have already had it.
- “Whoa!” as I walk by someone in the hallway who feels the need to say this loudly in a shocking manner as if they’d just seen pigs flying overhead and are in complete shock. I guess I must have been the first pregnant person they have ever seen.
- “You’re ONLY 7 months? You look like you’re about to pop any second!” Yes, women tend to get much bigger as they progress, that’s because there is a human being growing inside of them! Babies don’t come out the size of oranges, they come out the size of watermelons. A lady in the restroom literally flew back about 3 feet when she thought I was due any day and said this to me. Shocking, yes only 7 months.
- “Did you know you’re waddling” Yes, I actually had a woman at work come running up from behind me as if I had toilet paper stuck on my shoe to tell me that I was waddling as if I could stop it. As if I needed to hear that. I’m walking around all day in a suit I can hardly move in and heels that are hurting my feet while creating a person in my belly and my hips are splitting. Does my waddling annoy you? Do you want me to stop, I’m so sorry.
- “Are you done or are you having more?” This one was not so annoying or body shaming but come on, let me just get through this pregnancy for real before I start making plans for the next one and discussing it with you. That’s like asking someone who is in the middle of their wedding ceremony if they are going to re-marry if they end up getting divorced. Just let us get through this one baby at a time okay?!
- “You’ve dropped, that baby is low” Oh, I didn’t know you had MD credentials to diagnose when my baby drops. I heard this seriously throughout my whole pregnancy, how low my baby was from complete strangers. Why do you feel it’s necessary to analyze the shape of my baby bump when you don’t even know my name?!
- “You’re much bigger this time around” Okay thanks for sharing that with me. I’m glad you remember exactly how big I was last time and are able to compare it to this time around. That just made my day! Can you tell me everyday how much bigger I am so I don’t forget, thanks.
- “Can you get any bigger?” Wow. I’ll just not even comment on this one I heard many times.
- And just the looks that some people would give, it was as if I was walking through an X-ray machine and their eyes were the lasers that analyzed my body shape. And please, no touching, rubbing, or poking the belly, EVER!
It’s just ridiculous to me how some people feel like they can say things with no regard to a pregnant woman feelings when it’s such an incredible thing they are going through. So next time you see a pregnant woman tell her how nice she looks, tell her words of encouragement, just be nice. Emotions are high as are sensitivities and hormones when pregnant. At least now I get to enjoy my new baby and my body without having to face another work day of unwelcome and unsolicited comments from people I hardly even know.