If there’s one thing that every pregnant woman has in common, it’s the barrage of unsolicited comments she’s received about her appearance.
“You’re not having twins, are you?”
“You’re so tiny! Are you sure your baby is okay?”
“You look tired!”
It’s not just pregnant women, though. Ask any woman you know about the times she was cat-called, body shamed, or generally made to feel uncomfortable about how she looked, and she will have a handful of stories ranging from amusing, to downright terrifying.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), there isn’t much that phases us these days when it comes to remarks about our physical appearance. Women literally have generations of experience taking all kinds of unsolicited comments (typically from men), so whenever this kind of thing happens, it generally just rolls off our backs and we get on with our day.
Now I know what you’re thinking: is this crazy blogger lady some sort of hypersensitive radical feminist who hates the opposite sex so much that she’s using this platform to launch a verbal tirade against men?
I only hate men when they talk.
Look, I know it’s unfair to generalize. Most men are decent human beings who don’t feel the need to gratuitously mouthblast every woman who crosses their path, or spew their inane word vomit all over the comments section of Facebook.
But then I recall the time I announced my first pregnancy on social media, and a man – let’s call him Danny – someone who I would never dream of even sharing a cup of coffee with jumped at the chance to inform me that I “just went from a 9 to a 2”.
Say it ain’t so!
Are you telling me that I am not longer on your list of “Women I wish I could skrog but I’m too much of a stubby, trash-talking mouthbreather to even come close”?
I’m truly devastated.
And to think, I was considering leaving my incredibly supportive, loving partner of ten years for you.
At the time, it rolled off. I found it both amusing and pathetic, not to mention so completely befitting of an individual who used to drive his convertible around to all the local high schools after he graduated to try and impress the co-eds. I quickly forgot about it – and him – instead, choosing to focus on what mattered: the incredible support from friends and family and the little boy who when he arrived, made every extra pound totally, utterly worth it.
But this past week as I struggled with my own insecurities as it became painfully clear that this pregnancy is being exceptionally unkind to my body, it came flooding back to me, and for the first time – I felt angry.
Angry that up until very recently, part of me actually still cared about what people thought of how I look.
Angry that I was a willing participant in the early 2000s Hot or Not phenomenon, and enjoyed it.
Angry that instead of enjoying breakfast with my son before work, I usually use that time to put on makeup.
Angry that we live in a society where women are still judged and rated like prize pigs at the fair.
Angry that someone so insignificant and meaningless still manages to get under my skin, even after all this time.
But then I stopped being angry. Because in three weeks, I might find out that I’m having a girl. And even if it turns out that it’s another boy, instead of being angry, I need to start being better.
And I will.
Danny recently had a baby of his own, and I’ll admit that I was tempted to childishly reciprocate his terrible joke from three years ago.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I decided to stop letting him waste any more of my time, and replace him with some incredible women I know who volunteered to share their similar experiences.
Let’s all be better.