Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pregnancy & Body Image Inner Dialogue #3: Oh, the Comments... in Real Life.

*Lines all not in italics: said aloud by me. Lines in bold: said aloud by another person.*

1. Oh, right, you're speaking to me, the so obviously pregnant one.
2. Still not sure why you asked when the "baby girl" was arriving, though.
3. ... Should I ask, "What baby?"*
4. This is our waiter for the rest of the night, though. 
5. May be easiest just to...

Let it go... let it go...

6. Baby will be here in September.  
7. Yes, I still have about 18 weeks to go. 
8. Please don't look that surprised.
9. We don't know if it's a girl.
10. You're almost the first one to say girl; most people are guessing 'boy.'
11. Ah, yes, the science of personal anecdotes; you carried "like a basketball," and it was boy.
12. And I'm "bump all over and out to the sides"... because that remark was absolutely necessary.
13. Thank you for the expressive, expansive gestures that indicate the size and shape of my body at the moment.
14. I don't ever look in a mirror or walk past reflective surfaces, and I desperately need to be able to mime a description of myself to others.
15. *Shrug*. Could be.
16. You do realize that the odds are 50/50?
17. I know several people who had multiple children and carried differently every time, regardless of whether the babies were the same sex or different.
18. Although when I spun counterclockwise seven times, walked backward through an open kitchen door, and sprinkled salt on my head, my wedding ring didn't fall off. 
19. That definitely puts the odds at about 70/30 in favor of a boy.
20. Feel free to stop looking speculatively at my belly.
21. ... Any time now.
22. I guess it could be a big boy? 
23. Did I really just hear that?  Having... trouble...

Letting go... letting go...

24. First of all, according to medical studies done on the subject, boy babies generally grow faster than girls... ?
25. Of course that's still just overall and doesn't necessarily mean anything about my baby in particular or the rate of my own growth. 
26. Because there are other things expanding in there besides the baby, you know.
27. Second of all... I just... really?
28. As far as I can tell, bump size and shape is highly individualistic.
29. Funny enough, many women I know who have been pregnant or given birth recently tell me I look "small" or "about like they did" at 22 weeks.  
30. OK, OK, so it's often qualified by, "Maybe that's just relative to your boobs."
31. Still, sometimes I get the vague impression that many people who are further removed from the pregnancy stage or haven't been pregnant either forget or don't know, respectively, how much bigger women can look throughout pregnancy. 
32. And not because they're "gaining too much weight" either.
33. I mean, when you gain 25-35 pounds (on average) and most of that weight is (frequently) concentrated around one's middle, what do people expect?
34. So... I guess I probably could look larger to other people than I feel like I look.
35. Which... is fine... 
36. It really ought to be fine.
37. My doctor is pleased with how everything is going.
38. Baby looked great on the scan.
39. That's what ultimately matters.
40. I just... Mr. Nerd, you wouldn't say I look like I'm about to give birth any minute now, would you?
41. All right, I look pregnant; that wasn't the question.
42. This isn't a trick question.
43. See, I didn't think so either.
44. What does "definitely pregnant" mean, though?
45. "Like there's a tiny human growing inside you"... Well, yes, I know that's what pregnancy is.
46. Of course because of that I'd be concerned if I wasn't getting any bigger.
47. Well, no... I don't know what I "think I should look like."
48. So I look "like a mommy"?
49. But what does that mean!?
50. Thank you, thank you.
51. "Beautiful" is just what I needed to hear.**

*It has really only been in the past two weeks that I've started getting congratulations and comments from complete strangers, and this is always my first instinct. Even though in general I don't think people ought to comment about a pregnancy unless the woman brings it up first, I'm not confrontational enough in real life to say or do things that make others uncomfortable, even when they make me uncomfortable. It's something I need to work on. Of course, I'm not sure whether that will become more tempting over time, what with 18 weeks left to go and all... !
**While in a perfect world, we would never need external validation, it is OK to have a sincere compliment make you feel better.

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