So the other weekend I had the pleasure of interacting with a sales assistant who felt it was appropriate to comment on my pregnancy weight. I was having a completely less than average day. You know one of those days where you’re tired, you haven’t had a good sleep, all of life’s little knocks feel like huge boulders sitting on top of only your shoulders and you’ve just had enough of everything. Yeah? Well I felt that way. And then this happened:
Her: “I bet you’re having a girl! I’m never wrong..”
Me: “Oh really? Why do you think girl?”
Her: “because I can tell that you’ve put weight on all over.”
Me: (naively thinking she was referring to my bump!) “You mean all over my bump because of the way it’s sitting?”
Her: “No…because I can see that you’ve put on weight on your arms, on your back, on your stomach, on your chest….”
And this complete stranger physically pointed out every body part of mine she deemed to be carrying extra weight. Nothing was spared. She then finished off her assessment of my body by comparing me to the size 6-8 pregnant woman who was in front of me just before by saying “the other pregnant lady hadn’t put on any weight, she was all bump and only due a month later than you!”
Now I don’t think she was being intentionally malicious but it was still incredibly thoughtless. I really wasn’t feeling that great inside and at that precise moment her words crushed me. My face flushed red with humiliation because there were two other staff members standing next to her and other customers within earshot standing behind me.
The worst part was I really wanted to defend myself by highlighting how rude it was to say that to a pregnant woman. I had my sentence, locked and loaded to go but the burning bubble of tears and lump in my throat let me know that if I addressed it to her directly, I would most likely crumble instead. So I said nothing and left and burst into a blubbering mess.
When I shared my story on the Baby Mamas Facebook page and asked other Mum’s what the worst thing anyone has ever said to them was, I couldn’t believe some of the responses:
“After I’d given birth, my ex-mother in law told me upon her first visit that I needed to focus on losing weight now the baby was out.”
“I had a lady telling me I was definitely having a boy as ‘boys suck the beauty out of you.'”
“Are you sure you’re not carrying twins?”
“I had a ‘friend’ tell me she was annoyed I got pregnant so soon after losing my last baby (it took me 5 months to get pregnant second time but 2.5 years the first.)”
“I had a lovely sales person commiserate with me about the weight I’d put on. She said ‘I was just like you, I put on 30kg when i was pregnant but don’t worry, it’ll all just fall away when you have the baby.’
Ummm thanks, I’ve only put on 10kg but thanks for telling me I look fat!”
“I got called fatty, tubby etc frequently and someone said ‘your baby is going to be small, your stomach is all fat. I’ve seen how much you eat.’ Someone else also told me they were getting me a reinforced chair for a work event (even though I was still probably one of the lightest in the office!)”
“I got told with my first that I was unfit to have a baby as this lady thought i was anorexic. I struggled to put weight on due to 20+ hospital admissions, kidney infections, a ruptured kidney, bed rest etc. It was heartbreaking for a stranger to say that to me! I also had horrible midwives tell me I was putting my babies life at risk by not gaining weight. I weighed 55kg when he was born, and he was a perfect weight!”
“Less than 24hrs after I had my first baby (she is 17mths now and I’m still not really over it) is that I still looked 6 months pregnant…that was the start of some very low self esteem that eventually lead to post natal depression..”
“Wow! Your face is so fat! (When I was 32 weeks pregnant…)”
And that , dear folks, is just a snapshot of some of the awful things awful people out there say to pregnant women.
Most decent human beings have enough thoughtfulness to know that you should never comment on a pregnant woman’s weight, bump or symptoms. Nor should you compare how she looks next to someone who wouldn’t even have the same body type as her pregnant or not. ESPECIALLY not when they are in the very uncomfortable, lumpy, heavy third trimester feeling stage.
You never know what’s going on in someone’s life, what struggles they have behind closed doors or if they’re just having a bad day. Throw in some killer pregnancy hormones and uh oh. I also have to add that the judgment and comparison on women’s bodies is so ridiculous, especially when pregnant and having to lose or monitor your “baby weight.”
A few nights after the baby weight comment, I stood in front of the mirror in my maternity underwear and bedtime kimono. I looked at my faded stretch marks, the dimples from cellulite (and other miscellaneous scars) and my expanding belly. I’m currently 31 weeks and even though I do feel like an uncomfortable whale at times, I truly am proud of what my body is doing. I DO love it, bumps, scars, extra weight and all. It does a heck of a lot for me and is currently a safe haven for my little growing baby.
If you’re in the same boat, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your pregnant body. Nine months is such a short period of time out of your whole life (and hello? You’re growing a freakin’ human!)
So over to you Mamas. What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you while you were pregnant?