Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Watch Your Mouth (Pregnancy Etiquette Part 1.5)

I've started to make a habit out of re-reading old blog posts each month from the year before.  It's a neat thing to do - defnitely reminds me how much my life has changed and how much I have to be grateful for. I can't wait until I have TEN years worth of blogs to look back on.

Ironically, almost exactly a year ago I wrote this post on "Pregnancy Etiquette."  I wasn't pregnant at the time. (In truth, I was busy trying to convince Jeff we were ready with little progress.) Instead, my post was about things I thought pregnant women "shouldn't do" to respect the rest of us.  It was kind of tongue-in-cheek, and - for the most part - I still agree with most everything I said.  HOWEVER, at the end of the post, I asked pregnant women to speak up on what un-pregnant women needed to know about them.

Well, I may be a year late; but, I've got some things to say now...

First, I just want to make clear how much I LOVE my baby and the absolute MIRACLE that God is working in my body as we speak.  NONE of the comments I'm about to make make me ungrateful or regretful of this pregnancy for one second.  Just know that.  Ok.

I honestly thought I was prepared for the comments people make when you are pregnant.  I'd been warned.  But, here I am with still three months to go, and I am SO tired of people telling me how big I am.  I consider myself a patient and tolerant person (I teach high school afterall), but I might really blow up at the next person who asks me when I am due and then proceeds to freak out and make a comment about how HUGE I am, and how miserable the summer is going to be when I tell them July.  DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT I DON'T REALIZE MY SIZE WHEN I TRY TO WRAP MY BATH TOWEL AROUND ME, OR SIT IN A DESK, OR SHAVE MY LEGS?
Wikipedia
(FYI: Demi Moore was 7 months pregnant when this photo was taken in 1991 - same as me.  I'm not denying that she is beautiful, ignoring that this photo may have been airbrushed, or saying that I look like that -- But, she obviously has a belly, right?  It's more than just a little mango pushed under her skin.)

Just yesterday, this went down in the check-out line at Staples:

Stranger: When are you due?

Me: July.

Stranger: Wow.  Your belly is soooo big.  My friend had a baby recently and her belly was never that big, even when she was about to give birth.

Me: Well, your friend must be a freak of nature.  I have a HUMAN BEING growing inside of me, and I'm emotional, and I think you are rude and too old to make comments like that.

(Ok... I didn't really say that in response.  But, I wish I had.  That's where I am.)

Source
Men get a bad rep, but really this one falls totally on the women.  Men, honestly, are scared stiff of pregnant women.  They hold doors for me, offer to carry things for me, and move out of the way when I am walking down the hall.  They don't really say anything. But the women... they are the WORST.  It's like they completely forget what it's like to be pregnant and feel a total compulsion to spit out whatever thought pops into their minds when they see my belly.  I think it hurts even more because we expect that we are on the same team.  We expect other women to understand our bodies and the incredible work they doing.  But, they don't.  They say things like: "Are you sure it isn't twins?"  "Wow, you'll never make it to July"  "Whoa, you look big today" or "That's one big baby."  Just to name a few. 

Furthermore, a lot of people talk about women's hormones during pregnancy.  I'm not totally disputing that our emotions are a little out-of-whack because of hormones, but I blame some of it on the ridiculous comments we have to listen to and smile at every.single.day.  Would you be in a good mood if people commented on your weight all day every day?!? 

TOUCH my belly all you want (I don't really mind that a bit), but just tell me I look cute, ok?!?!  Seriously.
P.S. I honestly didn't write this for sympathy or as a cry for "you're beautiful" comments.  Ya'll have been wonderful already!  If you want to comment, tell me about your own experiences in this area and/or just general thoughts. Thanks friends!

14 comments:

  1. I 100% agree with you on this! It's like people lose their brain to mouth filter when they're around a pregnant woman! I've not yet been blessed with motherhood, but everyone better give me a wide berth when I choose to! I will not be one of those women who welcomes the touching and you'd better beware of my retorts if you dare to make a comment on my physique LOL! I've already warned all my friends and family :)

    I'm sure it's a constant struggle to keep your cool, but I bet you're handling it with more grace than I'll be equipped with ;)

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  2. My sister is nearly 6mo pregnant with her first baby and she gets SO frustrated with everyone (namely women) telling her what to do and how to do it all the time. She says their already telling her (not suggesting... telling) how to raise her kid and how to feed it properly and what types of diapers to use and what type of car seat and crib to buy and when she should start potty training and how she needs to eat right now and when to run to the hospital and when not to and who she should have in the room with her and who she shouldn't, etc. etc. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to listen to all the mumbo jumbo that people give pregnant women. It's ridiculous.

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  3. Oh gosh, that drives me crazy. I know I'm not supposed to have opinions on these things since I don't have kids (that's a little tongue-in-cheek, but you know how it is...) but it's kind of crazy to me how once a woman becomes pregnant, she's all of a sudden public property! Give people some privacy, really :) No need to announce to the world that someone looks huge, because I'm pretty sure their eyes work and they can see that someone is largely pregnant (and probably fairly uncomfortable). Way to state the obvious in an insensitive way, ha!

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  4. E-

    Here are 3 of my favorite comments during this pregnancy... all from men!

    "She's gained 30 lbs already"- from a family friend when I was only 4 months pregnant. I am 9 months and have not gained 30 yet.

    "Are you sure you're not having twins? How big does the doctor think your baby will be?"

    "You aren't due til April; you will be huge by then"

    Jen

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  5. Here's another part to watch your mouth:

    My husband and I have been trying to conceive for six years. A year ago, we were successful and then went on to lose that baby at 10 weeks. I am generally very happy for my friends who find themselves pregnant. I cannot, however, tolerate some of the constant complaints people make over the "inconvenience" of pregnancy. If you manage to get and stay pregnant, you should feel so blessed. So many of us never get to that point. It's even more difficult when the ones who have what you so desperately want don't seem to appreciate their blessing.

    I want to rejoice with every woman in her pregnancy. And I'm not even saying you can't complain. There are just things that are difficult to hear when you are waiting to have what they seem not to want.

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  6. I agree with you, some people really don't understand that the words they say are hurtful.
    I have never been pregnat (yes i have a daughter- she is adopted), in fact the doctors say that we can not have our own children...
    That being said.... one day (at the height of my depression over beind delcared infertil) I was walking down town. I had a woman walk up to me on the street and rub my belly asking me when I was due!! I looked at her with a straig face and said "um actually Im just fat I cant concieve children" then about died laughing at the look on her face! Come on people who just walks up to a stranger and rubs there belly with out even asking!
    Hang in there, I know people that have been way bigger then you are and only had 1 child, you are beautiful and have a great attitude!

    Cryshouse: amen sister! I am generally happy for others that can concieve but I do detest the ones that are bitter about it and the fact that it wasnt when they wanted it or not the perfect time for them... well there was one way to prevent it wasnt there!

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  7. Today the maintenance man at work (who has been telling me I look chubby/have a fat face since JANUARY) told me that there was no way I was going to make it another month. I smiled and laughed and told him I certainly hoped I'd make it at least a few more weeks (I'm 36 weeks tomorrow), but in my mind I gave him the stink eye. People say the most ridiculous things.

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  8. As someone who has never been pregnant and now reading this realize I have TOTALLY told people how "big" they are, I completely see where you are coming from with this post. But I also know that when I have said "Big" I don't mean fat....EVER. That correlation never enters my mind. A big belly means a healthy pregnant woman in my mind! It seems like such a miraculous thing, this whole pregnancy gig. Like, WOW your stomach is big and you have a growing human inside you...that's amazing!

    But--I see how the "there's no way you are __ weeks away" comments come across as hurtful. But I truly don't think people who say big are saying fat. That is a completely different thing. Maybe we need to come up with a new word...or maybe we all just need to be sensitive to our pregnant ladies---and a little patient with people who are really just amazed at the miracle of life. :)

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  9. I've only been pregnant once, but oh my goodness, the comments from other women are the WORST! Hang in there! (And keep practicing your sassy comebacks - ha!) :)

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  10. When I was pregnant with Caden I got lots of similar - "You are so big", "You look so uncomfortable" , etc. Just hang in there. It will all be worth it in a few short months when your baby boy gets here.

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  11. I wish you had said that to the woman in the store. I'm not pregnant and I say things like that all the time when people piss me off. I just can't wait to hear what comes out of my mouth when that time comes. I think you are wonderfully gracious and graceful going through this whole process!!

    Shelly

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  12. I must have been giving off a serious mean vibe when I was pregnant bc I don't think I got those kind of comments. You're right about men being afraid of pregnant women. It was kind of awesome to have doors opened for me and to be given a wide berth when waddling down a hallway or aisle. I guess the thing to remember is that pregnancy is not forever... You get to be huge for a few months near the end and laugh about it later! I had to just laugh at myself (inability to tie shoes, bend over, pick things up, etc.), which helped rebuff any insecurities about size. I hope this helps!

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  13. My Dear Beautie,How lucky you are that God has blessed you with this beautiful miracle.I'm so sorry that some women are being so insensitive...but it doesn't surprise me!!! Please, please, enjoy this special time with your baby...he deserves it...and so do you! A few years from now, when your little boy looks at photos of you, he will have a BIG smile on his face...when he is saying....that's me in there...right Mommie? He won't care about anything else!!!
    You will always be my Beautie!! I love you so much, Aunt D

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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