Friday, January 14, 2011
CAUTION: Pregnant, Handle With Care
I am feeling sensitive. Maybe I am always sensitive, but you could argue that pregnancy increases sensitivity in most women. It most certainly does in me. I am not even half way pregnant and I have already lost count of how many people have asked me if I am having twins, told me it is going to be a big baby, or guessed me to be due in two months rather than four or five.
I realize on some intellectual level that they don't mean to be hurtful. Maybe this is our societies twisted way of embracing and celebrating fertility. "You are huge!" But frankly it just makes me want to go home and cry.
I have read blogs with cute comebacks for all these comments, but the truth is, I never say anything back and I certainly don't have a smart and snappy jab for the person. I honestly don't think they mean anything by it. Instead I just smile and nod and mutter something about my healthy babies...
I think the reason I have no response is because I feel the same way! I feel huge. I am already uncomfortable. I honestly don't know how I can make it until this summer. Plus, even in awesome, running 16 miles a week shape, I am very touchy about my figure.
The truth is we don't live in a culture that embraces curves or fertility or extra padding. The ideal is skinny, even for a childbearing woman. Even for a pregnant woman! We praise those who just get the baby bump and gain weight nowhere else.
Well, I don't just gain weight in my "stomach". Everything gets bigger. My shirts don't fit- in the ARMS! I have talked to women who can wear their pre-pregnancy jeans with a rubber band to the end of their pregnancy. How is that humanly possible? Don't they gain weight in their legs and butt?! I don't get it.
I have also talked to women who get their feelings hurt because everybody tells them how small they are. I thought that was a compliment! I guess I won't say that any more. But they felt like were not growing a healthy big enough baby. This woman WANTED that big beautiful fertile look.
Well, I don't have any words of advice for the "Maybe it is twins?" group of comment makers. Why? I don't think they mean to be hurtful. I really think that people don't know how to deal with the curves of fertility. I think they are a little uncomfortable with the obvious sign that I have had sex in the not so distant past. They are trying to embrace the beauty of childbearing in a culture that rejects it from all sides. (Women can have sex, when they are on billboards, but not MOTHERS! EWWW!)
But, in truth, pregnancy is something for the whole world to see and embrace and celebrate. It is obvious that we are growing a child, that we are fertile and yes, even sexual, at a time when people would really rather prefer to think that we are nothing of the sort. (Seriously, who wants to think about the fact that their MOM did that?)
So, instead of advice, comebacks, or words of wisdom, I am simply offering up this post in the sincere hope that it will help me beam with pride when somebody mentions what large babies I grow. I will try to embrace tummy and my arms and EVERYTHING that is growing. And, I will try to remember how sensitive the pregnant woman is in 30 years when I am no longer fertile but want to celebrate the beauty of pregnancy with some young woman.
Chin up ladies!