Pregnancy casts a shadow of ignorance on people. I’m not sure if it’s due to the hormonal shift, or the way women are perceived in society, or just the fact that people have no common decency. This morning, I’m into my 15th week of gestation, (that’s second trimester, if you’re keeping track at home), and I’ve gained about 12 pounds. Most of that gain, I thought, was in my chest and belly. I went up to almost an E cup in this short amount of time, and even my fat pants are difficult and uncomfortable to button. (Technically, I can, but that part of my body is rather sensitive so I’m more comfortable not.) I’ve taken to wearing more flowy blouses and dresses to give my changing body a little more room to move. Still, although my maternity clothes from before still hang in my closet, I’ve not really felt the need to wear them just yet. Maybe I’m in a bit of denial.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my clothes were all between size 8 and 10, but since I had him, and worked out consistently, I’d dropped down to a size 2-4. It’s a big change, and even though my gains have been small, this morning, all my confidence was shattered when three of my colleagues decided today was the day they would “let me know.” I’m fat, you see. They tried to explain it kindly, but that’s really the message. One told me she could see the gain particularly in my face, a place I hadn’t really noticed much change at all. Another informed me that my bump was very prominent and no point in hiding it. A third told me that although she’d noticed for ‘some time now,’ she’d ‘bitten her tongue’ in her smug way, as though this makes me feel better. It doesn’t.
The fact that anyone besides me is paying this much attention to my body is unsettling. I found it particularly unnerving that they felt the need to tell me as a group, as though I’m not already aware of what’s going on. After all, I am the one dressing myself every day. You’d think I’d have figured it out by now. Still, as visibly uncomfortable as I was, and regardless of how many times I say, “Yeah, I’m aware” to each of their newly discovered changes to a body that’s definitely not theirs, they were unrelenting. Finally, I feigned morning sickness and left the discussion, one of the upshots of being a gestational american, I suppose.
Still, of these women who told me these things, one has children and grandchildren of her own, another is a doula and worked in an OB’s office for many years. Oh, and even fat and pregnant, I was still the thinnest person there by at least 20 pounds, so who were they to criticize. Beyond that, pregnancy is a time of weight gain and changes to one’s body. It should be obvious that these things will happen and, my goodness, even be noticeable at some point. To be honest, the gains in my chest are far more than those in my belly, but no one felt the need to point out my rockin’ tits. I guess that wasn’t as fun for them. No, let’s point out to the one person who’s been able to drop weight and stay fit, that she’s getting fatter. That’ll feel great!