If you've recently found out that you're pregnant, you've likely been overwhelmed with a wide array of emotions: excitement, elation, fear, and apprehension are among the many feels your hormones are subjecting you to on a daily basis — but the fun hardly stops there. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, your burgeoning womb may have also fallen victim to the intrusive comments and unwanted groping of perfect strangers. Oh, you haven't gotten to that point yet? Just wait, it's coming. Sorry, sister, but it's definitely coming.
What is it about an expanding belly that makes complete strangers feel the relentless desire to comment on its size and shape? And when did it become OK to put their germy hands all over your mid-section? First of all, no; second of all, no! Maybe it's just me, but it seems more reasonable to assume that when a woman's body is in the process of creating a new human life, it would be an especially good time to give her space, both physically with a lack of your hands on her, and mentally with a lack of your comments about her body.
I understand that inquisitiveness is human nature, but there's something to be said for respecting boundaries, rather than stomping all over them while underhandedly insulting the size and/or shape of someone's body. I get that pregnancy is exciting, and I'm assuming (OK, praying) that people mean well when they make ill-conceived comments about the female form, but there are just some things that never need to be said about a pregnant woman's body. Here are a few to always – always — avoid.
"Oh, Wow, You're As Big As A (Insert Large, Round Object Here)!"
It is never (and I do mean never) OK to compare a woman's figure to any sort of recreational ball and/or large, round fruit. This includes watermelons, basketballs, pumpkins, etc. Why did this ever seem like a good idea in the first place? Are people under the impression that someone actually aspires to resemble pumpkins? I mean, really. The point is, women spend enough of their lives being objectified, something which happens most causally when we're given pet names or slapped with "cute" comparisons to non-human creatures or objects. It's not fun ever, least of all when you're pregnant.
"Your Boobs Are Massive!"
Really? Our boobs are massive? That's crazy new information! It's not like they're hitting us in the face if we take a brisk walk or nearly suffocating us in our sleep or anything like that. We realize that they're gigantic but narrating their growth is seriously unnecessary. Also, any deep stares actually inflict physical pain. Please, for the love of all that is holy, save the boob banter for frat parties and 50-cent wing night. (And frankly, you could stand to get rid of it from those places too. Boobs are to be enjoyed, by babies and adults alike, so speak of them with respect whenever you find it necessary to speak of them at all, which is probably a lot less often than you think.)
"You Look Like You're About To Pop!"
Aside from the fact that, if we look "like we're about to pop," we are most likely already super uncomfortable and you're colorful reflection of that condition does very little to assuage it. And by "very little" I mean "you are absolutely not helping at all by describing the immense discomfort I'm in." Also, what if we're only 20 weeks along? What if we're carrying high? What if we've run dry of any reasonable amount tolerance for our never-ending pregnancy and rudimentary remarks revolving around our silhouettes? Yeah, think twice before you tell someone who's high as hell on hormones and stone-cold sober that they're physique looks like it's moments away from spontaneous combustion. There is the distinct possibility that we're not actually about to pop (because, FYI, babies don't just "pop" out), so just... don't.
"Your Waddle Is So Cute!"
In our minds, we're still strutting like Beyoncé through the frozen food section. Let us live on cloud nine and pretend like we can still Zumba instead of reminding us that we walk like baby penguins. We don't need the play-by-play.
"You Look Like You Got Botox Injections In Your Face."
Um, are we supposed to say thank you for comparing the swelling in our faces to the results of vanity and cosmetic procedures? No, that's not how this game works. Yes, our faces are swollen, and yes, sometimes it's flattering but other times it makes us look like a human blow-up doll. There's really no need to comment on the voluptuousness of our faces.
"You've Got Sausage Fingers."
No, I don't! Also, that's a horrible comparison. Horrible! Hopefully you won't mind us responding to your incredibly repugnant accusation with one of our giant sausage fingers waving in your insufferable face.
"Oh, Those Cankles Will Go Away Eventually."
Gee, thanks. We feel so much better now.
"Your big belly makes your legs look so skinny!"
Ah, this is a great one. A compliment and an insult all wrapped up into one condescending package. Our bellies are perfect because, you know, they're growing the miracle of human life inside them. Whether they're big, small, high, or low they're perfect exactly the way they are, thanks. (Not that I should even have to explain that, because women shouldn't have to defend or explain or justify their bodies, no matter how they appear, pregnant or not.)
"You Aren't Having Twins?!"
Nope, just growing one, perfect, beautiful future genius inside of my womb. Perhaps I'm a bit large because the brain development of our future Bill Nye needs more room for expansion. Who knows.
Look, the only thing that needs to be said about a pregnant woman's body is this: it's incredible, it's strong, it's badass, and you're a damn warrior for not only carrying another human inside of you, but also for not slapping the many, many idiots who erroneously think it's their right to come into your space — both physically and verbally — during this time in your life. It's just one more way in which women are amazing for weathering to relentless commentary on their bodies (and the constant associated implication that their bodies don't exclusively belong to them), and one more way in which women are amazing for getting through pregnancy without literally punching anyone in their annoying face.
Images: Jason Scragz/Flickr; Giphy (9)