I promised a follow up to part 1 of “Four Boys?! Oh Boy!” posted earlier this week. Well, I have been thinking long and hard on which stories to include, because as a mother of soon to be four I have had my fair share of unsolicited comments from strangers, friends and relatives alike.
Please dear friend, read the following thoroughly – and even repeat a few times if necessary. Before make ANY comments to a pregnant woman, even if you feel it is a compliment, ask yourself “would I have said this to her if she was NOT pregnant?” If the answer is “no” – then for the love of all things big, round and water retained please keep your well-meaning commentary to yourself!
Remember, you are about to make a comment to a woman who is probably already VERY sensitive about her appearance – or at a minimum highly aware of any bodily changes taking place. Chances are she feels that some body parts are too small or too large. Additionally, this woman is locked and loaded with extreme amounts of hormones. She is riding on an estrogen high that is the equivalent of PMS multiplied by 100,000 – IF you still feel comfortable making your comment after taking all these things into consideration – go for it – at your own risk! You MAY get your head bitten off, in the best of circumstances.
At my 12 week ultrasound we had just learned through a blood test that we are expecting boy number 4. The tech was able to confirm the gender during the ultrasound, which is normally early, but we had the blood work to back it up. The ultrasound tech was the same one who had seen me for the past seven years, through all four pregnancies, so I think she was feeling rather comfortable with me when she said “Four boys! What are you? – Mormon or Catholic?”. That comment was my initiation into people’s reaction to us having four children. Thankfully I am not a sensitive person, but I thought it was rather inappropriate as a medical professional for her to comment on our pregnancies. Can’t a couple just love children? Does there have a to be a higher power that dictates how many kids we should have?!
Then there was the overweight lunch delivery man who took one look at me and said “wow – it looks like you swallowed a pumpkin!”. Without hesitation I replied “yeah, looks like you did too!”. I strongly believe that may have cured him from commenting on pregnant women’s appearance ever again.
I have worked at my office for almost nine years now, so most of the employees have seen me go through one, two, three – some have even been there to witness all four pregnancies. This familiarity has left many with an increased level of comfort, so the comments I receive at work are plenty and rather personal at times. There was of course an unsolicited belly rub, before I was even showing – by a male employee. He is very lucky to still be alive. Same gutsy coworker greeted me one morning in the office kitchen with a cheerful “Hi Big Mama!”. I had to take matters into my own hands after that, and I firmly believe he will no longer pose a threat to any pregnant woman within a 100 mile radius.
Then of course there is the insincere coworker who feels that her eternally optimistic and peppy compliments must be something I live for. This woman tells me daily that I look “SOOOOOO CUTE!”… Please, show me a pregnant woman – any ONE pregnant woman who feels CUTE every single day – there isn’t one out there. It is only natural to have days where you feel less than adorable. It is not humanly possible to go through an entire pregnancy waking up every single day and think to yourself “wow – am I not just the epitome of cuteness today?!”. The woman who keeps complimenting me with a very fake high pitched squeal every day is about to be put in her place too. Some day, when I am wearing a long skirt OVER my husband’s boxer shorts to prevent excessive thigh chafing, I may just hike up my skirt to show her just how adorable my edema swollen ankles and dimpled boxer-shorts-covered thighs are.
But my favorite of the recent ignorant pregnancy comments came the other day from a sales person in the mall. The young girl in a children’s clothing store asked when I was due. I told her “in January” to which she replied, “well, I hear that you can speed up labor if you walk a lot. Are you here in the mall to walk in hopes that the baby comes sooner?”. I just looked at her in amazement and said “no, I am here to shop, not to have my child three months prematurely. But thanks for the tip!”.
For the sake of the family peace I am going to exempt family members from being mentioned here. But just rest assured that there have been plenty random and hurtful comments made about my appearance by people related to me either by blood or by marriage. Maybe they will read this post and learn a thing or two? Or maybe I will have no other option than to use the advice a good friend gave me: with a rather confused look on my face say “I am sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean by that!” – and then accept the apology that is sure to come.
Also linked to CURRENTLY on A Mama Collective