People constantly objectify women in our culture. I honestly can't remember a time when people didn't comment about my body. When I got pregnant, however, I honestly thought those comments would subside. I mean, I was about to become someone's mother, and surely that meant something, right? Yeah, no. It just got worse. It was as if I was just a round container for growing babies and no longer a person worthy of respect or privacy. I couldn't believe the things people would actually say to me about my pregnant belly. It made me want to sink into the floor and disappear, or just hide in my home until I pushed that baby out and went back to being "normal."
I have always felt self-conscious about my belly. As a young girl I remember hating my tiny tummy and thinking it was too fat. As a teen I spent hours in a bikini, trying futilely to tan my pale skin and ending up frustrated that I only ever managed to burn and freckle. In my 20s I battled an eating disorder, not realizing how unhealthy I was even though my stomach was flat and hollow. Then I got pregnant and suddenly my stomach was huge and impossible to ignore.
Coping with pregnancy and my changing body was hard enough, so the last thing I needed was people commenting about my belly. Regardless, though, my growing stomach seemed to be the only thing anyone could talk about. First it was too small, then it was too big, then it was high which definitely meant I was carrying a girl. Oh, but wait, it was wide, which definitely meant I was having a boy. Then again, maybe I was carrying twins because it was so freaking huge. I felt like everyone was looking at me and had an opinion about my body, my pregnancy, or when I was going to pop as a result of what they saw. It made me feel so self-conscious and, in the end, I started to hate my huge bely even though it was literally growing and housing another human being inside of me.
Women are people, not bodies, and certainly not just bellies. Being pregnant doesn't change that fact, so ask yourself if you'd stare at a man's growing belly, ask him questions about it, or even ask to touch it. Of course you wouldn't. So why do we do these things to pregnant people every day? The answer, of course, is sexism. There are things you don't get to say to me about my belly, even and especially when I'm pregnant. So, you know, stop. I've had enough.