Reality Bites

Random musings of reality bytes ... when reality bites.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ignorance is not bliss

Does seeing a pregnant woman bring out the ignorance in people?

I don’t know why, but people think they are free to make comments about you, your body, your weight, your baby, your diet, the way you look, etc, when you are pregnant. I think most people think saying insensitive or unwelcome comments is a no-no at anytime?

Strangers, co-irkers (aka co-workers) suddenly become your doctor, pediatrician, and nutritionist. People just don’t think when they speak.

Fortunately for us, the pregnancy has been going well through 31 weeks. The baby is healthy and growing. I’ve had a few “helpful comments” by co-irkers who thought they were being helpful but in reality they were rude and annoying.

I was thin pre-pregnancy, so throughout this whole pregnancy, my weight has increased marginally but at a healthy pace. I am showing a baby bump but not as big as most women at this stage.

So while most pregnant women get the usual rude “You’re big/ are you carrying twins” comments about their pregnancy body and weight, I get the opposite. And that is not necessarily better. I’ve received the following comments:

  • “You’re so small”
  • “Your baby is small/ will be small”
  • “You need to gain more weight”
  • “You need to eat more”

I’m not sure if the co-irkers that have said that to me meant it as a compliment, but it sure did not sound one in my ears.

To me, it’s rude, similar to calling a person big/overweight is rude. Those comments make me feel that I am not taking care or feeding my baby. The baby is normal, healthy and growing and yet I feel like I have to defend myself and explain why my belly is not as pronounced as others and I still look thin at this stage. And I shouldn’t have to.

I was so infuriated when a female co-irker told me "You're small. You need to gain more weight." WTF!

Who the heck are you to give me this advice??! Are you my doctor? Are you a nutritionist? Do you have any insight on my pregnancy? WTF! When she made the comment, I told her “My doc is fine with my weight and is not concerned about it. So, neither should you.” and then I walked away. Ugh, she really annoyed me.

The nastiness in me surfaced, what I really wanted to say to her was “just because you were ugly during your pregnancy doesn’t mean the rest of us are during ours”. Of course I didn’t say that but I thought it when she provoked me with her insensitive comment.

Most people have been very complimentary to me during my pregnancy saying I look well/ great/ glowing. Those comments are very much appreciated because let me tell you, the way your body changes during the pregnancy, glowing or feeling great is the farthest from our minds. So when someone compliments that we look great, it's just music to our ears and sometimes what gets us through the discomfort of the day.

So, when you see a pregnant woman, think twice before saying what you perceive is a compliment. If you want to say something nice, just say “You look great/wonderful/radiant/beautiful!” PERIOD. I guarantee that you will make her day. :)

Question of the day: What is the most ignorant/rude/insensitive comment someone has said to you?


Blogger Marcy said...

I've been lucky and haven't gotten many bad comments... but I partially attribute that to living someplace where I only marginally speak the language. ; )

I think your response was perfect-- letting them know that actually your baby is healthy and your doctor thinks things are progressing fabulously.

I don't know what it is about pregnancy, but it's like general rules about what you say about people's appearance goes out the window, and instead everyone becomes an expert... usually on things they know nothing about!

(ps- found you through the nest)

December 19, 2007 at 1:04 PM  
Blogger brookem said...

You're back! I just stopped by here today to see if you had posted anything new! Woot!

Oh, I hear you about those comments. Not that I've been preggers yet, but I can imagine. And I hear some of the things people say. I bet you look wonderful! And 31 weeks! Wow, you're almost there!!!! :)

I got some comment, that was supposed to be a compliment (I think?) in college. A guy told me that "I look 110% better!" and asked if I had lost weight! I mean, I guess he was trying to say I looked good... but what's that say for what he thought I looked like earlier?! Man.

December 19, 2007 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

I think people feel free to say whatever they want to thin people, i.e. my last boss asked me what size I wore on several occasions. Who does that? If I asked her that same question, she'd be appalled. Or how they'd comment on how much I ate or whatnot. While I'm not sensitive about anything like that and it doesn't bother me, it always struck me how it's a double-standard of sorts.

As for rude comments...I love the "why aren't you married?" question.

December 20, 2007 at 10:45 PM  
Blogger Appletini said...

How Horrible! I'm sure that you look just beautiful :)

December 21, 2007 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger SWF42 said...

It's too bad that the people who really need to hear this won't read it. I was continually amazed at the stupid shit people said to me.

I'd like to say it gets better, but just wait until strangers start commenting on your parenting skills.


(How wonderful to hear that everything is going well!!!)

December 27, 2007 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger AaroN said...

Welcome back, stranger!

I think all these rude comments originate with good intentions on part of concern for you and the baby, but always seem to come out wrong. Keep chuggin' through there. Soon enough you'll be on maternity leave and you'll have plenty to keep you busy for a while. :)

Honestly, I can't think of the rudest comment I've ever received. I allow most of them to roll off my back after a few days and rarely remember the ones that really pissed me off.

December 28, 2007 at 5:42 AM  

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