Wednesday, May 21, 2014

PSA: Never, Ever Ask A Woman If She's Pregnant

Collin's preschool class held a graduation ceremony yesterday.  My shy guy Collin found the whole thing a bit overwhelming and hid behind a classmate during much of the presentation.  I found it overwhelming too, but because my last baby was graduating from preschool!  

Last night I was standing in a school foyer with two of my sons.  Another mom moseyed over to me and shifted her gaze downward. She exclaimed, "Baby!"  I followed her eyes to my midsection where my five year old clung to my waist.

"Yes," I proclaimed.  "He's still my baby, even though he's a new preschool graduate!"

She looked perplexed and continued, "No, you're having a baby!"

A moment of confusion ended in clarity.  I experienced a split-second silence before the arrival of an emotional storm.  

I stammered, "No, I'm not having a baby.  My hands are certainly full already."

She laughed and rattled on about how utterly insane it would be for me to add another child to my ample brood.  I tuned her out a bit as my inner thoughts demanded the floor.  They screamed, translated, and rehashed the conversation.  


She thinks you're pregnant.  You are not pregnant.  She thinks you're pregnant because your belly is big.  Your belly is big because you are overweight.

My inner critic roared and fired up a litany of buried neuroses.  In the span of a nanosecond, I had come up with the solutions to combat my plump pooch.

I will stop eating everything but carrots.

I will run miles upon miles until I take on the form of a female Forrest Gump.  

I will do crunches until I pass out.

And if those don't work, I will wear baggy shirts that stretch to my knees and don't offer one single hint at my shape.

As those thoughts continued to race through my mind, I reflected on something my mother always says when I'm faced with self doubt and inner turmoil.  She says, "Focus on the truth." 

I stopped and took a deep breath.

The truth is:

1)  I'm in great shape.

Just weeks ago, I ran the Boston Marathon.  I workout six days a week and can still hold a decent pace for someone so elderly (so says my kids).

2)  I eat (fairly) healthy.

75% of the time I eat a healthy diet.  And as for the other 25%?  I think running many miles a week merits the eating of a cupcake (or two).

3)  I've had four kids.

My belly skin has stretched and re-stretched so many times that the elasticity has gone kapoot.  But my precious boys bring more joy to my life than a toned mid-section displayed in a tight T.

4)  I carry my weight in my front.

If only I was genetically gifted enough to put weight on in the chest region instead of my core!  Instead, my weight sets up camp in my belly and doesn't seem to want to leave!

5)  I'm a 40 year old mother.

I will never again have my 16 year old body.  My 40 year old flesh and muscles aren't as cooperative.  The sags, droops, and rolls are badges of a life lived, well and fully.   

Armed with theses truths, I felt an inner peace interrupted with feelings of annoyance and anger.  

This mom wasn't the first individual who has asked if I am pregnant, but I hope she'll be the last.  And so, I'd like to issue a PSA to all those in the blogosphere who are considering asking a neighbor, grocery clerk, teacher, dental hygienist, mail person, or anyone else whether she is pregnant.

Here it goes:


There may be a 95% chance that she is pregnant, but with the 5% chance she is not, please (oh please) don't risk hurting her feelings and spiraling her into a wave of self doubt!

You may say:

But she's wearing a baggy shirt and holding her belly.


But she's holding a positive pregnancy test.


But she's walking around the aisles at Babies 'R Us.


But she's wearing a shirt that reads, "Baby Mama."


But she's wandering into the hospital's maternity ward with her husband.


She will tell you if she's pregnant.  And if she doesn't, maybe it's not your news to know.  

If you're just dying to know, hint around.  Ask whether she's spent time in a hot tub lately or has any plans to ride a thrilling, loopy roller coaster this summer.  Maybe, just maybe, she'll let you know.  

But if she doesn't, DON'T ASK!


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