WE all know that women’s bodies are held to the kind of scrutiny that would make lesser mortals squirm.
It’s something I’ve spoken about before on here and it’s something that personally, drives me potty. If it’s not the media hurling some body shaming our way, it’s our friends, relatives or the men in our lives.
Women’s bodies just are not seen in the same light as mens. They’re not praised for their athleticism or strength. Not seen for the miracles that they are.
As all bodies are.
Instead they’re held up and measured against attractiveness scales or admired for their ‘beauty’ or ‘sex factor.’
It’s a horrible business isn’t it? When women are viewed as merely flesh to be ogled or judged.
But when it comes to pregnancy bodies, this is when body shaming or judgement really seems to come into it’s own. It’s actually quite astounding.
When it comes to your pregnancy body, it seems that everyone has an opinion on it. From family members to your partner to a stranger in the supermarket.
And boy, do they like to express it!
At 32 weeks pregnant, I’ve well and truly lost count of the amount of times people have commented on my pregnant body. On the size or shape of my bump. Or weirder still, on my figure in general. But it’s got to be nearing the 100 mark, I reckon. At least.
And part of me ‘gets it’.
I can understand why people can’t help but be fascinated and want to say something. A pregnant body is beautiful and miraculous. A new life growing always something to celebrate.
So I can see why people feel compelled to say things about my bump or want to touch it even. But it’s not the kind compliments or lovely comments that offend me. In fact, to be clear, let’s have more of these!
All pregnant women should be told they look healthy, blooming or beautiful.
No, it’s the other kind of comments that I have a problem with. The negative ones. The judging ones. The ones that imply that there’s something wrong with how you look or that they think you look weird, unattractive or fat.
These are the ones that REALLY get my goat.
I’ve had plenty of them over the past 8 or so months and interestingly, I have to say, they’ve all come from women. The last thing I want to do is criticise my own sex here, but it’s true, when it comes to pregnancy body judgement, it’s been the female of the species who have been the most damning.
True, I’ve received wonderful and supportive comments from women also but I’ve also had the other sort.
From women who should know better. From women who have been in my shoes and got the T-shirt. From women who think it’s perfectly OK to cast harsh judgment on my size or shape.
Just why DO people think they can say such offensive things? Here’s a few of my favourite ‘negative’ comments that I’ve received so far:
“Oh God Kate! Can it get any bigger?!”
(Well erm, yes probably.)
“Gosh Kate, you’re carrying really low aren’t you?!”
(Actually, no I’m not.)
“Well you’re just lucky that you haven’t put much weight on. It’s not normal.”
(Perhaps I am, but maybe it’s also down to the fact that I’ve worked hard in this pregnancy to try to look after myself and my unborn child.)
“Blimey, you can’t miss that bump can you. You’re absolutely massive?!”
(And there’s something wrong with that?)
“It’s going to take you a long time to get back into your skinny jeans isn’t it, once the baby has arrived?”
(Who knows. And quite frankly who cares?! I’ve got bigger concerns.)
Like all women, I’m well used to ignoring these kind of comments. It’s water off a duck’s back for us when we’ve had decades of judgement and so I’ve gotten pretty good at swatting away any remark that comes from an unpleasant place or leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.
But when I sit and actually think about some of the horrible comments that have been made about my pregnancy shape, it does makes my blood boil.
Because none of us have a right to negatively comment on a woman’s shape or size, particularly when she’s pregnant and growing a baby.
It’s just so unnecessary. So judgemental. So unkind.
I’m not pregnant so I can be judged by others for how my body is carrying my unborn son. Just as we women are not here to be judged by how much we weigh or how sexually attractive we are deemed to be.
My bump size really is no one’s god damn business but my own. (And that of my midwife.)
So, big or small. High or low. All in front or carrying wide.
Truly, I couldn’t care less how my bump looks as long as my baby is healthy and continuing to grow.
So tell me, why on earth do others?!