Today I was in Bed Bath and Beyond picking up some wedding gifts for some dear friends. While I of course meandered over to the Kate Spade china section (You’ve got to plan ahead, you know!), the woman hollered from over the counter, “Your baby bump is adorable!” … I responded with a smile, “Thanks, but I’m not pregnant.”
I’m not pregnant. This has happened before. Not the same wording, or circumstance, but the same awkward question. Where do people get off thinking that this is okay? Has every poor girl experienced this!?
Everyone with a bit of a tummy has a different story.
Mine is, when I was twelve, I had surgery on my back. My diaphragm now protrudes a bit, thus making any little bit of weight in my belly stick out. Because I cannot bend my back, it has made it virtually impossible to work out my back and stomach. Even though my weight has fluctuated a lot in the past few years, I’m slowly but surely losing it. People around me have commented that I look thinner than usual, which feels great. However it only takes one small comment to send that all falling down.
Lucky for me, I only have to deal with the fact that a stranger just blatantly called me fat. What really makes me livid though, is thinking about what situation a woman *could* be in when asked that question. Maybe she just had a baby. Maybe she just had a miscarriage. Maybe she’s trying to get pregnant but cannot. Maybe she has cancer.
In no way is it ever okay to make someone feel so incredibly shitty.
I get that sometimes it is a little kid asking; however I am still honest with them. The one time that happened to me, I just said, “No, I’m not,” and kept walking. Sometimes it’s a sweet old lady just wanting to share in someone’s happiness. But NO, old lady, that is STILL not okay. Find a woman with a gorgeous ring on her left finger and talk about that, instead. It’s a much safer option. (Yet now that I say that, watch me fuck that up real soon, too.)
After doing some internet research on the subject, I’m trying to see all sides of the situation. The three main arguments I got for asking a woman were pretty bleak.
The first is that the poor soul is just trying to share in someone’s happiness.
Well, great. If you know that person, they’ll eventually tell you if they’re expecting a baby. If it’s a stranger, it’s really none of your effing business until I am actually rubbing my belly, talking about the fact that a baby will protrude from my vagina in a few months. I.e., I would be sharing that information with you willingly.
The second reason makes a bit more sense. If you use public transportation, offering your seat up to the elderly/pregnant is something to be expected.
I don’t have a good answer for this; however if someone looks tired, let him or her sit down. it doesn’t have to be a whole thing! Someone else has more wisdom than I do in this area.
The third reason, and this is as stupid as they come, is that if someone has a few extra pounds, it is their fault, and they should be ready for this kind of questioning.
While I totally agree that one should strive to be healthy, everyone is different. The lady in the store didn’t know about my surgery and how hard I’ve worked to try to get rid of my belly. You also don’t know what kind of inner demons they’re battling; so just shut your mouth.
Really, the moral of my vent is to just keep it to yourself. You don’t know what she’s dealing with. If she’s pregnant and wants you to know, she will tell you.
There are plenty of other things in the world to discuss.