Being pregnant doesn’t give others the right to comment on your size, so why do they?
You’d think it’d be pretty self-explanatory, wouldn’t you. A woman gets pregnant and naturally, while growing a baby inside, gets bigger outwardly. Yet more and more I’ve noticed that both friends, and strangers, all have an opinion on this. And they’re prepared to voice it. So let me set the record straight. Commenting on a pregnant woman’s size, whether big or small, is not okay. I’ve heard stories from both sides. Only recently a pregnant woman I know was looked up and down by complete stranger before he said ‘you look like you’re about to drop’. On the flip side I’ve heard of people saying how small the mother-to-be looks and enquiring whether the baby is okay. Yet another uncool way to stress out a woman in an already emotionally heightened and often worrying time.
I don’t remember anyone saying anything to me with my first pregnancy but a few months ago I was stung by the sizing issue in the most undignified position – mid bikini-wax. The therapist asked “how far along are you?” in that annoying way strangers often do to address the elephant in the room (no pun intended!) When I told her 20 weeks, she stepped back, sized me up before saying ‘oh you look waaaaay more pregnant than that’ (emphasis on the waaaaay!) I felt like I’d been slapped across the face. I wanted to tell her that it was my second baby, and how they say you pop quicker, and also explain that I’d felt so sick for the first trimester I’d basically lived off carbs. But I said nothing because I was torn between defending myself and then feeling like I shouldn’t have to defend myself, which effectively left me mute. In all honestly, my self-esteem was a little dented which was a real shame because throughout my pregnancy I’ve felt like I’ve had a pretty positive self-image. I even took a selfie with my bump in a bikini – something I never would have done previously, pregnant or not. Logically I know with pregnancy my body is going to increase in circumference. But it still bothered me.
The thing is, every pregnancy is different. At 5 foot 2 and mildly curvaceous I’m never going to have a pregnancy body like Heidi Klum did when she was pregnant (all four times). And I’m okay with that. But just because a woman is pregnant, it doesn’t give license to talk about her weight, her size or while we’re on the subject, rub her belly like a lucky charm (another reaction from colleagues and strangers that I truly despise!) This isn’t an isolated event. Go online and you’ll see lots of posts lamenting about others commenting on their pregnancy bodies. One mummy site’s overarching advice was that you should just ignore it and move on. My advice isn’t to the mums, but to everyone else. How bout we all just stop commenting on the size of a pregnant woman’s belly. Surely that’s the best answer…