Perhaps it’s time to be a little more sensitive when it comes to commenting on pregnant womens’ size and shape
Words Holly Kirkwood
OPINION: Chill about the size of our bumps please, people!
“Let me see your bump!” “Can’t wait to see your bump,” or “Look at that bump!” – all expressions you’ll be familiar with if you’re pregnant, or you remember being pregnant in the past.
It’s a wonderful, exciting time, and in many ways, once you start to show it’s actually quite nice: before your belly pops out you’ve just got a double blue line and (possibly) some freaky symptoms to tell you you’re having a baby. Your belly, when it arrives, is proof, before you get to the kicking and detailed scans, that there is really, truly a baby in there- hooray!
But it also means you’re more open to chat about being pregnant, from people you don’t know, or don’t know that well, and apparently also open to the five million different opinions about the shape of your body.
I can’t think of any other situations where it’s still ok to comment on a woman’s body shape or size – you wouldn’t go around commenting to friends or acquaintances that they’ve put on weight (although you would say they’d lost it – that’s always ok). But when you’re pregnant, it seems that the whole world wants to queue up to share their opinion about your body. even if they barely know you.
A quick survey of friends has proved my hunch to be correct: they’ve all been subjected to analysis on their size and shape between 15-40 weeks, which almost always is either to the tune that you are HUGE or you are TINY.
‘Wow, nobody would ever BELIEVE you are seven months pregnant!’, a friend recently heard ‘You’ve hardly got a bump to show at all!’ Or this from another pal: ‘Wow look at the size of that bump – are you sure you haven’t got two in there! – ha ha!” Ha ha indeed.
The truth of the matter is that plenty of us like being made a fuss of, and being looked after when we’re pregnant, and that’s great, but there is also the fact that a women’s body shape is a really sensitive thing, and if you’re already self-conscious, having your size analysed for the room by almost every passer by is sort of torturous.
But most of us seem to feel no compuction in going straight ahead and commenting anyway – and sometimes other mums are the worst perps. Perhaps they didn’t mind when it happened to them – perhaps they have forgotten what it’s like.
But many of the girls I’ve spoken to just feel like they’re being judged in a more overt way than usual, and that the muffin they had at breakfast because they were feeling knackered was really a bad idea after all, if everyone says they are enormous; on the other side you can feel inadequate if you’re being told you’re really tiny. Not to mention the lovely, and prolific, back catalogue of online articles waiting for you about the pressures of losing the baby weight as soon as the little darling comes along.
It’s lovely that people want to talk to you and share your good fortune, and excitement about having a baby, but perhaps it would be even nicer if they didn’t feel the need to pass judgement on every pregnant girl’s shape and size – we’re already feeling awkward enough as it is about our changing bodies.
Literally every body is different: some tiny people get huge (and look bigger because they’re so tiny), while plenty of average sized-people just look like they had a decent lunch up until 25 weeks, especially the first time around. But to comment one way or another is just another way of making us self-conscious at a time when we already found a thousand (legitimate) things to be worrying about, from what the birth will be like to coping with maternity leave, so perhaps it would be nice if everyone was a little more considerate about the size issue. Thanks a million.
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