by Jackie C.
Have you ever noticed that a pregnant woman's body somehow becomes the subject of many comments, descriptions, insults, and various other acknowledgments? Well, I am pregnant for the first time and had never noticed this before.
I am now in my 22nd week of pregnancy and am carrying what seems to be on the large side, considering the amount of curiosity I draw to myself. Most of the things that people say to me are out of genuine happiness, but there is also mostly that element of, "I can't believe you just said that to me." At first it bothered me very much that people can be so insensitive to a woman who is already under more strain than the average person, but now all I can do is look at them in amazement at the sheer ignorance of what is being said.
The first time I noticed that everyone was going to make me a public spectacle was when I went to my one-weekend-a-month National Guard drill, I was about 14 weeks along. My supervisor was all smiles as she ran over to me. I knew what she was going to say, or so I thought. I anticipated maybe a, "Wow, you look great!" or perhaps a, "You're glowing! How far are you now?"
Much to my surprise, she put her hand on my already bulging belly and said, "Oh my goodness look at this! You're already getting big!"
All I could do was say, "Oh, um, yeah I am showing early!" and smile.
I was shocked that another woman would find it perfectly appropriate to tell another woman that she was "big." I am now in my sixth month of pregnancy and have gained about 20 pounds -- another factor a lot of people like to make public. A good friend of mine said to me, "it's okay though because you're pregnant so it's from the baby." All I know is, when it comes to weight and body image, being told that you are "HUGE" is never something a woman wants to hear!
Children are perhaps the worst offenders and that I can understand. A pregnant woman to them isn't something they see everyday or something they have been taught about when it comes to sensitivity or manners. They can also be especially honest and, well, cruel about certain matters. For example, my 12-year-old nephew decided that it would be funny to imitate my "waddle." As I got near to where he was he said in a goofy voice, "Hey, look at me, who am I?"
I almost allowed my hormones to go free on him but decided that a glare would suffice until I could calm down. That was until I saw some other people smirking about the little show to which I said, "Do you know WHY I waddle like that? It's because my hips hurt a LOT, thanks for being sensitive."
Nobody said anything to me for a minute or so after that. I think I got my point across, maybe it was the flames spitting from my retinas as I spoke oh-so-calmly.
The very worst thing, though, is to hear someone say "Oh, its just hormones." There isn't a worse feeling than to have your feelings invalidated by someone who has no idea how you feel. My husband and I got into an argument while visiting my parents one weekend.
He and my dad had to go run some errands in the middle of this happening so I knew he would be discussing what happened with my dad. I told my mom that I was afraid that my father would tell my husband that it was just my hormones and to let it go. When they got home, we made up but he didn't mention my dad saying anything about it. I just had to know, so I asked.
My husband's reply was "Yeah, you also said that I should get used to it because it's going to get worse." I calmly informed him that if I had in fact allowed my hormones to get the best of me, then he would have had his eyes poked out like I really wanted to. I think he understands what the difference is between being "hormonal" and just being angry is now.
So, in conclusion, I would like to say very plainly, be nice to pregnant women. Don't make them feel like they are big fat psychotic whales that need to incessantly be made the center of attention. It's just not nice, and if you do, you just might have your eyes poked out.
Jackie C. and her husband live Pennsylvania. They have been married for 4 years and are expecting their first child in June.
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