People think they can comment on pregnant people's bodies the moment they notice a bump. Sometimes, and usually the cases of celebrities, even sooner! I've never known a pregnant person who didn't have at least one comment — usually many — insensitively thrown in their direction. So, since solidarity is a powerful things, I offered the opportunity for moms to reveal the worst thing they heard when they were "about to pop" and damn were they ready to talk about it.
When I was pregnant with my first, my best friend from childhood got married in Texas. Outside. In July. I was seven months along, dangerously swollen from travel, and all around pretty miserable. So, you know what was not helpful? Her relatives and soon-to-be-in-laws, most of whom I had never met, giving their various opinions on whether I was carrying more weight in my ass or all over. Did my belly look more like a bowling ball or basketball? Was I sure I was only seven months? Where did I carry my weight before I got pregnant? That will help them judge whether I'm having a boy or a girl. Or, my absolute favorite, "Turn around and let me look at your backside."
At the time I felt gross about all this unwanted attention on my rounded body, but couldn't really articulate why. After all, isn't this just how people act around pregnant people? Well, yes, it is, but that doesn't make it right. Turns out, commenting on pregnant people's size is a painful theme running through all of these formerly pregnant people's memories. If you're anything like me, dear reader, you're sick and tired of our bodies being looked at as vessels, open to public scrutiny. Here are our stories of the worst things (also known as what never to say again) people heard when they were about to pop:
"'Is that twins? Is that twins?' I wanted to punch her."
"All of the [myths] about how to make the baby come. Castor oil was pretty bad idea. Can you imagine? Labor and explosive diarrhea?! Glad I was smart enough to know [babies] come when it is time. Because science."
"'You'll never be as cute with your second one.' I am not here for you to judge my body."
"Walked into the OB-GYN office, overdue with a perfectly healthy baby and pregnancy, for the secretary to loudly exclaim, "No way!"
"I doubt this is what you're looking for, but I was checking in with a nurse about abnormal pain during transition (second kid, I knew something was wrong). She replied, 'Well, just don't push yet,' and wandered off. (Turns out a vaginal hematoma was forming — she didn't believe me for a few more hours.)"
"The worst thing I heard right before my due date was actually that Hurricane Irene was on its way to New York City. So I was paranoid I was going to go into labor and be unable to get to my hospital (which happened to be over a bridge). Turned out not to be an issue: I didn't go into labor that weekend and by the time it got to New York it wasn't as powerful as many feared it would be."
"I had people questioning if I was pregnant up until my premature delivery at 33 weeks. I was just tiny. I delivered my second a year and a day after my first. Up until I was eight months along, strangers thought I just had an awful postpartum belly."
"Someone said, 'You must be about ready to pop,' I replied, 'No I'm only 30 weeks, so I still have about 10 weeks left.' Their response? With eyes bulging, they said, 'You're kidding? You look like you're about to burst!'"
Me: No, just one baby!
Her: No way, there is definitely two in there.
Me: (Clearly not amused by this.) I have weekly ultrasounds, it's just one.
Her: Well, one must be hiding behind the other one because there definitely are two in there. Otherwise, that's one really big baby.
Me: (To self) Thanks, lady. Because I wasn't feeling awful and self conscious enough."
"The random checkout lady, when I was approximately 20 weeks, asked, 'What are you having?' I answered, 'We don't know,' to which she replied, 'Well, I think it's a girl. I can tell by your ass.'
P.S. I had a boy and my ass always looks like that."
"I think you're having a girl. They say girls steal all of your beauty."
"I can't tell if you're having a boy or girl. They say girl is weight all over and boy is basketball belly, but you're both!"
"A man who is old enough to be my father put his arm around me and said: 'You make such a lovely pregnant woman! You look much better pregnant than any of my ex-wives!'
"Senior professor: Wow! Is it triplets?
Me, a grad student: Nope, just one.
Him: Are you sure? It looks like there are at least two in there!
Me: Yep, I'm sure. Just one, normal-sized baby.
Why the ever loving eff do people think they can comment on our bodies?!?"
"A random woman at the store said, 'You should start doing squats, your baby looks breech.' I replied by saying, 'No, he's in position.' Her response? 'Well sh*t, that's one big baby!' I just walked away speechless."
"I wonder what color he will be." We are an [interracial] family. So rude and ignorant. Still getting ignorant comments about it, three years later."
"'I'm so sorry you're having another boy. Maybe next time.' During labor from a frigging nurse."
"Guy at grocery store who watched 8-month pregnant me get out of my car when I parked in the expectant parent space asked me, 'Where's your baby?' I said, 'Um, in my uterus?' His response? 'Well, you sure don't look pregnant.' All I could do was give an eye roll and mutter, 'Tell that to the fetus kicking me in the bladder.'"
"I hope she doesn't look like you. Or your husband."
"OMG, every day. I hear, 'Haven't you had that baby yet?' Well, obvious no. Duh.
I mean the worst worst thing was when the midwife told me in early labor that she wanted me to go to the hospital because she didn't like my baby's heartbeat. Scary AF."
"I had two situations while in labor with my first born. We had planned a home water birth with our midwife. I went into labor early. I stayed home to labor as long as I could, and based on our midwife's recommendations we went to the hospital as a precaution as our kid could have been as early as 35 weeks. While sitting in the ER waiting area, in full labor, breathing through contractions, husband at my side, this scraggly, smelly, man started striking up a conversation with me — not my husband, but me —saying things like, 'Oh, you're having a baby! Have you thought of any names yet? Is it is a boy or a girl?'
I just couldn't believe this guy was talking to me about mundane stupid stuff while I was in active labor. Did not need that at that moment!"
"Are they healthy? You're too small for them to be healthy." I was 38 weeks pregnant with twins.
"'You are so big! You're having twins, right?' 'Nope.' 'Really? But you are so big!' And then, because they obviously felt entitled to make personal comments about my appearance, I would reply going into intricate detail about cysts in the uterus and how they grow during pregnancy, etc. I'd keep talking for a good five plus minutes just to see them back away from me with a bit of fear in their faces."
"'She doesn't even look pregnant, just fat.' Said by one coworker to another, behind my back, at around eight months."
"I was getting some crackers from the salad bar of a restaurant for my toddler, and I was 36 weeks pregnant. A man approached me and said in the most obnoxious voice, 'Whoa there, ma'am, it looks like you've had enough to eat!' He pointed at my belly and laughed. Note that I had not eaten lunch and was feeling quite hangry.
That same day, a different man said, 'I would avoid sharp objects if I were you, you might pop!'"
"A lady looked at me wide-eyed and asked, 'Are you having twins?' I lied and said, 'Nope, triplets! Don't I look great?!' Then I walked as gracefully away as possible with my single baby in my tummy. I go back to my waddle once I rounded the corner. Delivered my 10 lb 2 oz baby boy at 39 weeks."