“So… When are you due?” Or “Oh… You’re just fat! Shit. Now what do I say?”
The following is a public service announcement to women of a certain age (I’m looking at you, AARP ladies) who insist on speaking without thinking.
Don’t. Just don’t ask random women when they are due. And, if you do and it turns out they’re not pregnant, quit while you’re behind, shut up and walk away.
Let me back up. Roughly thirteen months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful, miraculous baby girl. Since then, I have been asked some form of the “When’s the baby due?” question countless times. Sometimes even when holding that beautiful baby girl when she was only a few months old. Are you kidding me?
Somewhat surprisingly, it’s always women who are beyond a certain age who seem to ask. It’s never men. Never women my own age. It’s always, always women nearing or perhaps already enjoying retirement. Shouldn’t they know better? Haven’t they been here themselves just a few decades ago? Is it intentional rudeness? Or do they lose a filter once they receive their AARP cards?
These are the same women who, when I actually was pregnant, made incessant comments about my size, shape, level of discomfort, how many babies I was carrying, was I coming back to work, and on and on and on. They’d follow me into the bathroom and use hand gestures to demonstrate how big I was. As if I didn’t know! Also, how rude can you get?!
Now, full disclosure, I was HUGE at the end of my last pregnancy. HUGE! Not only was my baby girl 9 lbs. 10 oz., but I was carrying so much fluid that my c-section resulted in a literal geyser in the OR. The surgery team (all except my OB/GYN who knew it was coming) screamed and jumped away from me.
Obviously, I still have a significant belly just over a year later, otherwise I wouldn’t be on the receiving end of these questions/comments. My stubborn post-partum belly is not a surprise to me. I was 29 when I had my first baby and I never entirely lost the belly. A few years later I had a miscarriage just past the first trimester and even that belly hung around for a while. So it was no surprise when I had a baby at the ripe old age of 38, the baby belly wasn’t going to go quickly or quietly. It’s putting up a fight.
But here’s the thing. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t love that I can’t fit into my old clothes. And I really hate shopping right now. But I’m not embarrassed by it. Self-conscious? Maybe. But who isn’t? I’ve been self-conscious of my body at every weight and shape I’ve ever been.
And that’s the thing that really got to me today when I was hit with the “So when is the baby due?” question.
Instead of dropping it and leaving me alone when I said I wasn’t pregnant, this woman pressed on like a steamroller of insults and insensitivity.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you. But my granddaughter is pregnant. She’s real petite and her tummy looks just like yours. So that’s why I said it. You look just like she does. But I bet you’re glad you’re not pregnant in this heat. You’re probably hot anyway. I’m sorry to embarrass you. Are you looking for anything in particular? I’ll leave you alone now.”
OMG! Shut the hell up and walk away!!
First of all, I’m not embarrassed by my belly… until, women like you insist on making assumptions, then speak without using any common sense whatsoever.
Furthermore, you should be the one that is embarrassed by how insensitive you are. And, now that you have insulted and embarrassed me repeatedly, it’s not my job to make you feel better about your social faux pas so quit digging yourself deeper and shut up.
Most of us learned early on that it is never okay to assume a woman is pregnant. Unless you know for sure, just don’t say anything. Isn’t that what we tell our filterless toddlers?
Today’s incident and others like it are irritating to be sure. But I can tell you from experience, the irritation is nothing compared to the heartbreaking pain you feel when you have to deal with the same questions/comments after losing a baby. So for the love of God, just don’t say anything if you don’t know the real circumstances.
Now back to my belly. I get it. I’m overweight. And presently that extra weight is carried in an unreasonably large muffin top. But that belly has two c-section scars, a topographical road map of stretch marks and virtually no working nerve endings to speak of anymore. But that’s okay with me for now. It’s worked really hard carrying two remarkable children to term.
And that second baby? Well, she was born with a congenital heart defect (TAPVR) and organs that are in some very unusual placements (heterotaxy.) She had open heart surgery when she was 19 days old, g-tube surgery a few weeks later and has some seriously bad ass scars to prove it. We call her #SuperMillie and she is amazing. I’m so thankful she is here with us today that my focus is on enjoying every moment I have with her and her brother. So I really don’t have time to worry about how my belly looks right now.
So… Sorry. Not sorry. If you want to comment on my post baby belly below, feel free. But please, when you see me or any other woman with a little extra belly in real life, be kind and keep your comments and questions to yourselves.