Tuesday, August 13, 2013

on calling pregnant ladies fat

Lately my posts have had a more serious groove to them. It's weird. 
They also keep getting longer and longer, and pictures are fewer and fewer.
(And yet it keeps happening. Sorry.)

Everybody knows the number one rule about calling pregnant ladies fat. DON'T.  I'm not sure who would call anybody fat for any reason at all, but it's especially a big no-no when the victim is with child.

Fat is a sensitive word to a lot of people. Apparently it's especially sensitive to women whose hormones have just sky-rocketed to another universe (go figure). It isn't hard to understand why "fat" has such a negative connotation. I'm not going to go into detail about it, because this isn't high school and I'm not here to write an essay on what effects social media has on our society.

I could rant and rave all evening about blowing off the world and feeling comfortable in your own skin. However, I'm not going to do that for two reasons. 1 - It's comparable to Bruno Mars' song Just The Way You Are. You hear it and feel beautiful, then you watch the music video and see that he is singing it to a girl who has no reason to have any self-doubt whatsoever, and you feel like crap again. Likewise, it doesn't make sense for someone who has never seriously struggled with weight/image problems to preach to the choir about feeling comfortable with the way they look. 2 - I'm going to preach to pregnant ladies, yo.

I have always been a reasonably laid-back person when it comes to jokes. My husband doesn't have to worry about walking on eggshells when mentioning my size or appearance, even since I've been pregnant. I realize that isn't the case for every woman (or person) ever. But here is some food for thought.

Pregnancy is rough, I get it. Your body is going through changes that you are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. Fat grows in weird places (seriously, why did I get love handles? these are completely unnecessary to the well-being of my child.), clothes start fitting differently, and your body becomes nearly unrecognizable.

You hit a middle stage where you aren't big enough for strangers to know you are pregnant, but are large enough that you definitely feel like people know something is up. That stage sucks. That's the stage where you aren't big enough for maternity clothes, but are too big for your regular clothes, so you just walk around feeling like a self-conscious homeless man. It's also an exciting stage, because very close friends and family finally get to see that you're starting to "show". (Admit it, you thought you were showing the second that test came back positive.)

Then you hit the beginning stages of baby-bump mania. You now have a pronounced little bundle of joy in your tummy, and strangers can confidently ask when you are due. Your family finally feels they have the green light to tell you you are looking "so cute and pregnant".

I love this stage.

Others, however, feel that any sort of remark about them looking pregnant is a stab at their size. Understandably, some people say weird things. Things like, "you look like you're ready to pop!" and, "you're looking extremely pregnant today". Ladies, understand that nobody is making those comments to make you feel like the blimp that you probably are (truth hurts). They are excited, and you should be too.

Comments on the size of your belly (when you are pregnant) should be considered a compliment. Why? You haven't let yourself go. You're not lugging around 20 lbs of fast food and donuts. The weight that is noticeably showing is a living human being, who you have nurtured and provided a place for it to grow.

So you have a big belly? Good on ya! I'm sure your baby is thrilled at how well taken care of he/she is.
So other places have swollen and made you look bigger? You're getting closer! It's natural for weird things to happen. As long as weird things are happening, you know you're probably still pregnant and baby is doing just fine.
So you're looking "very pregnant" today? Well, that's good - because you are!

Take pride in the fact that people are noticing how good of a mother you have already been to that jelly bean. For starters, it's still there. You kept it. You are giving it life. You are literally letting a little human parasite to take over your body. That's not easy. Be proud of that.

So next time someone makes a comment on your tummy, don't get offended. Don't be upset. For goodness sake, please don't cry. We do that enough that we can spare ourselves this one time. Bask in the compliment that you just received, even if that was not the giver's intention.

You look pregnant - embrace it. Congratulate yourself.
You already make a great mother.


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