One of my friends recently posted an infographic that asked the question “When is it ok to ask a woman if she’s pregnant?” and it was accompanied by 10 silhouettes of a female body; the first 9 show a growing belly and then 1 where she’s laying down giving birth. Under the first 9 silhouettes the answer is “NO” and under the one where she’s giving birth, the answer is “MAYBE.”
I LOVED this because dammit, JUST DON’T SAY ANYTHING. I am 24 weeks pregnant for the 3rd time and yea…I look rather large. I always carry this way. I have always had a small frame. Each pregnancy seems to take its toll on me earlier and earlier and my hips and back have BEEN hurting and I started showing around 7-8 weeks. All of this seems to give people the thought that they have the right to comment on the physical aspects of my pregnancy/my body overall. Here is a list of things I’ve heard/observed so far:
- WHEN are you due again? ::insert my answer; witness eyes bulge out::
- Are you sure you aren’t having twins?
- You look like you’re ready to pop.
- I thought you were further along than that!
- Are you SURE you aren’t having twins?
- But you’re so skinny everywhere else!
- Are you sure you have the right due date?
That’s just a sampling. And I’m getting a little…winded…in my responses. Yep, I’m pretty sure my OB has only seen one baby the numerous times she’s glanced at my uterus through the ultrasounds. Nope, I’m due in July and it’s definitely the correct due date; pretty sure I can recall the last time I had my period and then the last time I didn’t (thanks health class!). So perhaps I’m missing something. Is there a reason why this happens?
When I think back on this, I realize that I’ve been putting up with this body shaming my entire life. Before kids? I was too skinny and everyone told me to go eat a cheeseburger, called me a skinny bitch, called me anorexic (also forgetting how that’s a real damn disorder)…never once stopping to think how that might affect my self-esteem, which by the way, was real shitty. Nevermind the fact that I absolutely loved food and was never shy about eating whatever I wanted at any time. Got pregnant…gained 47 lbs…never lost it all….started off 15 lbs heavier with the 2nd pregnancy….and started this pregnancy 10 lbs heavier than that. I wanted to tone my body after kids but I was happy with the actual weight. But people still had shit to say. And even in between pregnancies? I’ve been told congrats on the pregnancy (LOLZ I wasn’t pregnant, just had the mommy pooch).
WHY WHY WHY do we feel the need to body shame other women? My body is nobody else’s business but my own and whoever may be caring for me medically or spiritually at the time. And even then, ultimate decisions are made by me and me alone. So if you think I’m too skinny? Keep it to your damn self because I don’t care to hear it. If you think I look 9 months pregnant at the 24 week mark, you can also keep that to yourself because I’m already uncomfortable and hormonal and I’m only concerned about my overall health and my baby’s health (which my OB manages just fine thanks for asking). Do you want to know what you can say?
- You look fantastic! How are you feeling?
That covers it. That applies to anyone at any point in whatever journey they are embarking on. Now that we’ve had this lovely discussion, feel free to go get me some pie and ice cream. The baby is asking for it.
Well I’m not really sure what a picture is worth. That depends on who gives a shit about it.
I started an Instagram account to link to this blog to capture thoughts and images that I feel might be related to my journey towards getting this mental health counseling degree. So you’re welcome to follow me on Instagram too! If you click on the pictures from the blog, you’ll at least see the full description of the photo, or at least part of the reasoning behind my posting the photo.
Just trying all the avenues I can for conveying all the things I’m feeling lately, especially in an effort to reduce the stigma around mental health. You can find me on Instagram as “lex_josephine”.