Before I got pregnant I blogged about how inappropriate people can be by asking when you're going to have a baby. I always found it offensive because A.) It's none of their business. B.) It's asking about your sex life, if your finances are in order, if you and your partner are mentally and emotionally ready and on the same page for a baby. C.) It assumes you are able to get pregnant at all. Maybe you have already have been trying without success, or maybe you have experienced miscarriages. People don't stop to think that those thing might be a possibility. Not to mention there's no way to know when someone (who even wants to) will get pregnant. Maybe the first try, maybe the fiftieth.
So fast forward, here I am. I'll be six months pregnant next wednesday.
I've talked a lot about being an HSP (highly sensitive person) and I think pregnancy heightens this a bit for me, but I do find myself easily offended while pregnant.
I may be in the public eye. I may perform. I may be on tv. I may be in magazines. I may have jobs that require an audience. However, this does not mean that I am always comfortable with all eyes on me. Especially outside of work. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart that feel fiercely intimate, and that I feel protective and private over. Having a baby, making a human with the one I love, growing him inside of my body feels like the most intimate thing I could ever do publicly. It's funny because we talk about acting as "doing something private in public" but this feels even more so. I didn't know I would feel like this. I didn't know how exposed and vulnerable I would feel.
The strangest thing is that it is a time of a woman's life where people seem to think all bets are off. It is a time of nonstop commenting on the body. You don't look pregnant, you do look pregnant, let me see, are you showing, etc. They give you unsolicited advice. The overpower your conversation to tell you what they or so-and-so in their family did or didn't do. They touch without permission. They compare what you look like to their pregnancies or so-and-so's pregnancy. You look smaller, you look bigger. Everyone has something to say about your body. Never (or rarely), at any other time of life would this be acceptable.
Could you even imagine behaving this way around any other woman who is not pregnant?
I have often felt on display, to be discussed, poked and prodded.
I don't like it. I don't like feeling like a spectacle. I don't like the unwanted comments on how my body may or may not be changing, or the touching. And some days I've just had enough and it becomes overwhelming.
Let me be. Obviously I'm pregnant. This we all know. I'm going to look however I'm going to look whenever my body does whatever it's going to do. I'm healthy, I'm happy, I couldn't be more excited about it. But just remember that it's mine. My body, my pregnancy. My baby with my husband. It's personal. My entire experience is valid, and my experience is unique to me. I don't need my experience or body discussed as if I'm not a human with feelings, nor do I need to be compared with anyone else.
Please remember that pregnant women are moody, hormonal, and have mama bear instincts kicking in already. If I ask you for advice, if I offer to show you how my tummy is coming along, then that's one thing. Otherwise, maybe keep comments (and hands) to yourself, other than just offering your words of general support and / or excitement?
Just as you would at any other time, and just like you would want at any given time, remember this one word.
Right after I wrote this, I was sent an amazing article by a friend who is also expecting her first, six weeks after me. These words were perfect:
"… pregnant women constantly hear comments, often contradictory, about how big or small they are, says ob-gyn Laurie Gregg of Sacramento, California. "Patients never come in saying they think they're just the right size," says Gregg. "They always think they're too big or too small." Despite what her pregnant patients are hearing, Gregg says most of the time they're just the size they should be. "I'm fascinated that society can't tell a pregnant woman she looks just right," says Gregg. "We need to tell women they're looking good."
Thank you for reading, and thank you for all the love and support you've shown me and my family! :)