can we just stop commenting on pregnant women’s bodies?

 

As someone who battles with my weight and self image, I’ve spent my life trying to hide my body.  It dictates what I wear, what I do and even how I sit – these are all done in a way which minimises the amount of flaws on display.  So the visibility of my body during pregnancy is something I struggle with.

Suddenly it’s ok for people to comment and discuss my shape, often without invitation.  Don’t get me wrong, most comments are well meaning and complimentary…but even they couldn’t take the sting out of being told I was basically a fat freak by someone I’d barely even met before.  On more than one occasion this charmer has reacted with shock when overhearing how far along I was, gasping that I was huge.  In one instance she even combined the classic I thought you were nearly due with the equally tactful is it twins?!  I was 24 weeks at the time.

The rational side of me knows not to take to heart the words of an airhead (common office perception, not just me being a bitch) who thinks it’s ok to dress head-to-toe in gradients of Barbie-pink in her late 40’s (ok, that was me just being a bitch).  But when has body hatred ever been rational?  Instead of writing those comments off as just moronic standard phrases tossed out by conversationally challenged people to anyone expecting, I have internalised them.

This is dangerous territory for someone with a history coloured by disordered eating and low self esteem.  And trust me, I’m trying hard to put it in the fuck-it bucket.  I want to enjoy what is probably going to be my last pregnancy, to embrace my changing body.  I’ve only put on half a pound in the last 11 weeks, and my fitness and nutrition focus comes from a desire to give myself the best chance at having as active and natural a birth as possible, to give my baby the best start with all the nutrients he needs and to fuel myself to get through each day.  My aim is to keep any excess weight gain to a minimum to avoid the negative health impacts of a dramatic increase in body fat.  On the whole, this is my healthiest pregnancy ever, and I should be proud and content.

But it’s always there, the fear that in the eyes of others I look enormous.  That I am enormous.  It leaves me feeling uncomfortable in my maternity clothes, self conscious during my Clubbercise class, guilty about what I eat.  I wonder if that idiot had any idea of the weight of her words?

So next time you talk to a pregnant woman, ask about her, ask about her baby – names, siblings, if she’s got everything ready yet, how she’s keeping, when she’s planning on finishing up for maternity leave.  There are a million things you can chat about…her body doesn’t have to be one of them.

In fact – pregnant or not, male or female, can we just quit commenting on anybody’s body?  I think we’d all be a lot happier then.

Life According to MrsShilts
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13 Comments

  1. Yes, I am totally with you, let’s all just stop commenting on each others bodies. Especially those young impressionable girls and boys. if society left them alone we might not find so many adults like me and you who find our bodies hard to accept. Mich x

    1. So true, I don’t remember body scrutiny being so rife when I was younger and yet I still grew up to be hyper-critical of mine. I hate to think what young people experience these days, and how they will be in later life because of it.

  2. Here here! I didn’t receive too many comments when I was pregnant. Until my last day in work. I was being followed out of the office and I don’t remember the exact words now (thankfully), but it was along the lines of “properly big and pregnant”. I was mortified. Did I really look that bad from behind?! I have had similar issues as you all my life and had coped quite well with my changing body throughout my pregnancy. I’m just so glad this happened on my last day otherwise I do fear it would have totally changed my whole experience. #bestandworst

    1. I’m glad that you didn’t deal with many comments, and that the one you did at least came at the end of your pregnancy. When you already have negative feelings about your body, words like that can wreck havoc in your mind. I bet you looked great!

  3. Someone said I didn’t have long to go and when was I due the other day… my son is two and I’m def not pregnant! Comments are wrong regardless of pregnancy or not, makes me cross xx #bestandworst

    1. Some people!!! I would never even imply someone was pregnant unless they specifically mentioned it themselves…I don’t know why some people lack any sort of tact.

  4. my body was commented so many times when I was pregnant eg your belly is to small you should check if everything is alright or everything went to your ass not your belly. Thank you very much I didn;t know that so many people looking on my ass… #bestandworst

    1. No way…that’s so rude! And comments implying that something is wrong are just awful, I don’t understand why anyone would think that was ok.

  5. I totally agree, some people really don’t think before they speak. The media seems obsessed with size and weight and I think people think it gives them the right to judge and comment. Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well.

    1. Thank you, and you’re right that once it becomes so common in the media it then becomes second nature in real life too. If only the media would try a bit of kindness instead!

  6. People love to make passing comments don’t they, I do believe sometimes though it’s peoples complete naivety about conversation these days. As my Mom always says, if you’ve got nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. People need to think about the words that they speak and how they really do stick with people. They’re just not words, they can be so much more.

    Thank you for linking up with #SlimmingSunday

    1. You’re so right, perhaps it’s how detached people can be from their words these days – hence the rise of the troll. People maybe don’t think of how deep their words can cut…or the scary alternative is that they are fully aware and don’t care.

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