Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Insensitivity I: Pregnant people

               You would think that anyone who has been pregnant or has known someone who was pregnant would know that there are certain things you just don’t say to a pregnant woman.
                You would think.
                Unfortunately, you’d be wrong, just as I was.
                 In both my first and current pregnancy, I’ve been amazed and astounded at the stupidity that comes out of people’s mouths. While I understand that 99% of these people have no malicious intent, I’m not sure how much of a consolation it is telling myself that they’re just stupid. After all, that means there are a lot of stupid people out there.

                I am more forgiving of men. Men, while they might have survived their wives’ pregnancies, never having experienced it for themselves, can be cut some slack. However, I’ve found that men are less likely to say offensive things than women; men know that walking on eggshells around a pregnant woman is the way to go. Women, especially older women, feel like they can say whatever they want. Probably because they went through it themselves.

                I would like to refute this assumption. They SHOULD NOT say whatever they want. They should keep their mouths tightly, tightly shut.
Here are some of the things I’ve heard throughout both my pregnancies:

                “You’re huge!”

                “Wow, it looks like it’s hard for you to walk.”

                “Are you in your ninth month?” (Not even close.)

                “How are you going to make it through the summer?”

                “What size are you wearing now?”

                “Are you having twins? No? Are you sure?”

I reiterate, the people who say these things are mostly a. older women and b. not ill-intentioned. So what makes them say these things? No idea. 

Don’t they remember what it was like to be pregnant, to feel like a specimen on display, “Here is my growing body for all to see!” Don’t they remember how bad the weight-gain makes you feel, how yes, it is hard to walk but they don’t need to comment on it, they just need to send a nice smile your way? Don’t they remember how it’s sweet when someone asks, “How are you feeling?” not when someone says, “You don’t look so good. How are you feeling?”

Obviously they don’t remember.

             I’m really just waiting for someone to say something to me. It will be the wrong day, the wrong time, the right amount of hormones making me bloated and prone to crying, and I will say: “I’m huge because I’m pregnant. What’s your excuse?” or “I can lose the weight once I give birth. You’re stupid, you’ve got to live with that forever.” I will dish out whatever bile the situation calls for, because I have been being filled up with it for two consecutive years. Woe unto that person.

                And then I will go home and cry, until the hormones clear up and I come back to myself again.

                And when I’m older, I will remember what it was like to be pregnant. And pregnant women around me will reap the benefit of my sensitive silence.

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