By the time we reach adulthood, we pretty much understand that it's in poor taste to comment on someone else's body. But for some reason, the rules seem to go out the window when the person's body happens to be growing a baby.

Probably every pregnant woman out there has had at least one person comment on her body—how big or small her belly is, how it “must be twins!" or she's “so tiny!"

I do actually think that it comes from a place of caring and love. We get excited about the prospect of a new baby. We genuinely care for the baby's wellbeing, as well as their mamas, and sometimes our excitement and concern just gets the best of us and stuff comes out.


But here's the thing—being on the receiving end of those comments can be really, really hard, especially when there is a medical reason behind why a woman's bump may look slightly different than we're used to seeing.

This happened to blogger Yiota Kouzoukas, when she shared her pregnancy photos on Instagram. People dove into the comments, saying things like, “How are u so [tiny] at 8 months your tummy looks so small" and “is there any reason why you are so small?... I was just wondering if you have regular scans?"

Kouzoukas handled it with total grace though. She wrote:

“For the first 4 months of my pregnancy, my uterus was retroverted/tilted which means that I was growing backwards into my body rather than outwards. Most people with this type of uterus tilt forward at around 12 weeks and continue growing outwards like you normally would.

“My uterus didn't 'flip forward' until well into being 4 months pregnant because of the backwards tilted position paired with decade old endometriosis scarring that I have on my uterosacral ligaments.

“Basically, these ligaments are acting like anchors keeping my uterus “inside" rather than “outside", which is why I appeared smaller than most people for the first 4 or 5 months. Now... I'm growing forwards just like everyone else while the scarring on my ligaments slowly breaks down....

“This is for me personally, as instructed by my doctor and is in no way a blanket rule for anyone else. I'm perfectly healthy, baby is perfectly healthy and that's all that matters. Our bodies and bumps are all different and our shapes and sizes are all different too ❤️."

The condition she describes, a retroverted or tilted uterus, is actually quite common—1 our of 5 women have one! Normally, the uterus tilts slightly forward, as seen in this photo:

Retroverted uteruses simply tilt backwards, instead of forwards.

Sometimes women are just born with them. Other times they develop when a women has endometriosis (a condition where uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus) or fibroids (growths in or on the uterus).

Having a retroverted uterus usually does not affect your ability to get pregnant or carry a healthy pregnancy to term.

It may be slightly hard to see or hear the baby on regular ultrasounds, so you'll probably have more transvaginal ultrasounds than abdominal ones (where a wand is inserted into your vagina to see the baby, instead of on your belly). You may also experience slightly more back pain as your baby grows.

But by the time you are in your second trimester, your uterus will likely tilt forward (from the weight of your growing baby), and your pregnancy should progress normally!

Certainly there are variations to everything, so if you are concerned, speak with your doctor or midwife.

In the meantime, we raise our glasses of orange juice and toast Ms. Kouzoukas for bravely acknowledging all those commenters, and inspiring women around the world to own and rock their bumps with pride.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."


Keep reading Show less