For those of you who may have seen me in person recently and have wondered, let me put your curiosity to rest: I’M NOT PREGNANT. I’ve just gained weight.
In the past month, I have been congratulated on being pregnant, asked if I was pregnant or when I was due. Why do people still think it’s acceptable to make this assumption or ask women this question? Sure, you may think it’s an innocent question, but the truth is it’s hurtful, plain and simple. You may not see it this way, but by asking a woman who is not pregnant if she is, you’re basically telling her in a nutshell that you think she looks fat.
This is a case of thinking before you speak. Perhaps the woman in question is pregnant and is not ready to announce it yet; perhaps she’s just experienced a miscarriage and doesn’t want to discuss it; or perhaps she’s simply gained some weight and is feeling self-conscious enough as it is. Do you see now how damaging your innocent assumption might be?
I live with my body every day and I can clearly see how it looks in the mirror. I understand why people have thought I was pregnant because, well, I kinda look it. Unfortunately for me, whenever I gain weight it tends to all sit in my midsection. This is something I’ve struggled with for over 10 years now, and having two children has made it that much more difficult.
When a woman has babies her body changes, it’s inevitable. Some women are lucky enough to trim back down quickly, some women work really hard to lose the weight and then there are women like me, who do try to shed some pounds but the shape of their body has changed. I know very well that if I wanted to go on a strict diet and workout every day I could probably achieve a figure with a flat belly, but the truth of the matter is I hate working out and I especially hate going to the gym. I know there are other ways to get fit, but this usually requires having the time and/or often the money to do it. Then there’s also the motivation, which as someone battling depression isn’t always easy to have. I realize this all sounds like excuses, and perhaps it is. The bottom line is I’m aware of my body and the changes I need to make. But I will make them on my own terms. It’s my body and my business, and that doesn’t mean I should excuse people from being insensitive by assuming I’m pregnant.
Women’s bodies are scrutinized enough. Please don’t make it worse by making comments or asking questions you really have no business saying. Many women may politely answer your question and quickly change the subject, but don’t be surprised if her response is to point out your lack of common sense.