A few guidelines for the brave and big-mouthed.
A woman’s pregnant body seems to be an open invitation for unsolicited commentary. I have had everyone, from my friends, to my coffee barista, to a couple of men from the Doe Fund, approach me during my pregnancies to share their two cents on how I look. Sometimes it feels like I’m wearing one of those “How’s my driving?” signs on the back of tractor trailers, that instead says, “How’s my belly?”
For everyone who simply cannot help saying something about how I, or the pregnant person in your own life looks, here is a list of guidelines for you so you can avoid making said pregnant person feel like an ogre. We are a fragile people. Please handle comments with care.
- When describing my appearance, it is strongly encouraged that you stick with the following generally non-quantifiable adjectives: fantastic, amazing, gorgeous, incredible, rockin’, spectacular.
- Note: “Your face looks fuller . . . but in a good way,” is never, ever, a compliment.
- You might think that calling me a “goddess” is quite generous and sweet of you. This, however, will only bring to mind images from high school AP Art History class such as the faceless and corpulent Venus of Willendorf: Prehistoric Mother Goddess Statue.
- Upon greeting me after not having seen me for a week or more, please do NOT utter any sentence involving the words, “whoa”, “holy shit”, “enormous”, “huge”, or “I can’t believe how big you have gotten since I last saw you.” Glad I could inject some element of surprise into your life. But this is my everyday reality: I can no longer sit on a toilet without hoisting my belly off of my knees.
- My gestational progress is not an opportunity to test your guessing prowess. Much like a woman’s age, the length of one’s pregnancy is something to be volunteered by the pregnant person rather than guessed. Fact: If you try to guess, you will most likely estimate three months ahead of where I actually am, resulting in me shame eating salt and vinegar potato chips and a Subway Footlong by myself in a dark room.
- Please DO say something about my rack. A much larger bust size is one of the few perks of being pregnant. IN THIS AREA ONLY is it permissible to use words like “huge,” “enormous,” and “full.”
- When commenting on said rack, please do not utter the words “porn star”. Yes, there exists some dark corner of the internet where pregnant women can be seen engaging in pornographic activity, but trust me; I do not feel in any way akin to Jenna Jameson at this stage in my life. (Let’s try to stick to PG-13 words.)
- If you would like to guess the gender of my child, always guess “boy”. If you tell me I am “carrying like a girl”, then that means that you think I have a tire belly. Everyone knows that carrying like a girl means you are carrying wider, and resemble someone who spends long hours driving a truck more than say, an expectant Gwen Stefani. People also say that girls “suck away the mother’s looks.” So don’t do me any favors.
- If you see me sweating because I can no longer walk up a hill or stairs without difficulty, please lie and say that you love my “pregnancy glow.” Then, offer a hand.
- If you have nothing nice to say at all, but absolutely MUST comment on some aspect of my appearance, please stick with the topic of my fuller, shinier mane. Yes, I agree. It does look “glorious.”