‘When you’re at one of your most vulnerable times in life, people say the oddest things’. This is what my best friend told me when I complained to her that a few people had been commenting on my body size. She has had a beautiful one-year old daughter and completely related to my ranting. I was glad I wasn’t alone. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that annoyed me when people stopped to me to tell me how big/enormous/large, etc, I was. I complained about it to Mike but he couldn’t understand either and simply replied, ‘Well, you are pretty big!’ It came to a head when my poor Dad was on the receiving end of a grumpy (probably hormonal) Whatsapp message when I had sent him a photo of my ever-increasing bump excitedly, and he replied with something along the lines of how enormous I was looking. It appears I’m not alone. My sister-in-law, who is due a month or so before me and has also been subjected to a number of comments about her size, sent me a great article written for the Guardian by Viv Groskop that explained exactly how I was feeling.
Due to the scars on my legs, I am fairly used to the glances, blatant direct looks- especially this time of year when it gets hot and the shorts come out. However, this year, I’ve actually been relishing in the fact that it’s now my bulging tummy that is inspiring the stares rather than my knees. In fact, one of my favourite things about being pregnant is the fact that I can wear fitted maternity dresses and eat as much as I like without the fear of becoming too bloated as it simply just ‘adds to the look’! Sometimes I will find myself catwalking it down the street with my headphones in and feeling rather splendid carrying our unborn child. It can be all pretty fantastic. And then I met a friend for a coffee at one of our favourite cafes. The waiter said to me ‘I know what you’re having…’ I suppressed the sarcastic ‘Me too. A baby,’ as he went on to inform me that I was having a girl. He was friendly so I humoured him enough to fill him with the confidence to tell me how he knew: My bump has ‘spread all around me’. If I was to be having a boy, my bump would be a neat package. He should know, his sister has had four children of both sexes. Wow. I was a bit taken back and cursed myself for not being able to come up with a witty remark back to him.
It turns out that I am not alone with the comments. Phrases such as ‘Wow- is that a beach-ball up there?’ (Yes, yes it is, you moronic plonker); ‘You must be having twins’; (at 5 months pregnant) ‘You look like my sister when she was about to give birth’- seriously? Fuck off. Apparently, being pregnant gives the general public permission to comment on your size when this would never happen if you weren’t. Can you imagine a stranger telling you how fat/thin/tall/short, etc, you were looking? It just wouldn’t happen. We’re the ones thinking ‘I know- I have to get this bubba out of me at some point in the near future’. Or even, ‘Yes, she is on the small side, I’m actually quite worried about it. Thanks for bringing it up again. My already ridiculously anxious and over-worked mind had managed to turn itself off for a minute but now it’s very much back on again.’ It amazes me how many people don’t seem to worry about the consequences of their comments.
It’s not just comments about how large I necessarily am, either. People have said, ‘It’s great- you don’t look pregnant from the back! You look normal!’ This one makes me chuckle as I’m never quite sure how to take it. I assume that it’s a compliment, but I AM pregnant- so why is it great that I don’t look pregnant from behind?! Ultimately, I am also waddling. My hips are swinging from side to side and the later on in the day it gets, the slower and more waddly I get. So if I don’t ‘look pregnant’ from behind, I must look like a duck for sure. Also, with this theory in mind, does this mean people are genuinely surprised when they see me from behind, I turn around and WOAH THERE’S A BIG-ASS BUMP- BE CAREFUL!! This makes me chuckle. My previously mentioned friend gave birth via IVF. She revealed to me that the worst was when she was told she was ‘too small’ and asked whether there was even a baby in there, or just ‘really big and spread out’ whilst wobbling along. I would like to think that she punched this stranger in the face, but suitable reactions never seem to arrive at the time you need them the most!
So I returned to the said cafe a few days later to meet another friend and the very same waiter was there. As I was paying, he once again told me that he knew what I was having. I equipped myself, armed with clever replies. ‘You’re having a boy…’ Without correcting him, I asked him how he knew once more. ‘Because your bump is very neat. If you were having a girl, your bump would be spread out all around your hips.’ I got to laugh in his face and tell him he had told me the complete opposite earlier and rejoiced in his sheepishness.
'I'm Very Pregnant and People are unbelievably rude to me!'- Viv Groskop