So remember that one time when someone asked me if I was pregnant, and I wasn’t, and we all had a good laugh about it?
No, me either.
But I do remember that time when I told my health coach that the worst thing that could happen if I gained weight was that people would think I was pregnant. And then, of course, 2 weeks later, someone asked me if I was pregnant. (Um, no.)
And it sucked, but we got through it.
So, of course, it happened again.
SERIOUSLY. NOT PREGNANT.
Earlier this week, I was walking a new coworker around the office, introducing her to people on our floor. When we got to the other side of the building, we walked to the far corner so I could introduce her to someone I thought she’d need to work with often.
As we got around that corner, a woman who works on that side of the building started YELLING excitedly at me. (This was, of course, not necessary. This building is almost entirely open concept, so I could’ve heard her perfectly if she had been 5 feet away, instead of 15.)
“ABBY!” she screamed. “LOOK AT YOU! YOU’RE PREGNANT, AREN’T YOU?” (Insert international pantomiming motion for pregnant belly here.)
“No,” I said, walking over to her. “I’m not.” (Insert me working really hard to not show her the international hand gesture for “fuck you” here.)
“YES YOU ARE!” she said. “I CAN ALWAYS TELL! YOU JUST HAVE THAT GLOW ABOUT YOU, AND YOU’RE SO PREGNANT.”
“No,” I said, “But you’re going to be really embarrassed in nine months.”
“OH, YOU TOTALLY ARE. I CAN ALWAYS TELL. YOU JUST HAVE THAT GLOW, AND YOU LOOK SO HAPPY, AND YOU ARE DEFINITELY PREGNANT.”
Well, then, what more is there to say? Plus, there was obviously not another way to avoid belligerent yelling about my body, so we left.
Later, my coworker came over and asked, “So, do y’all have a pregnancy joke, or was she really not getting it?”
Um, the latter.
Put Down the Onesies and WALK AWAY
Therefore, I feel compelled to clear this up for everyone: I do not intend to get pregnant any time soon. (If at all.) I get it; I’ve been married a little over 3 years. And because you had a bunch of kids right after you got married, you think that I should, also, be pushing an 8-pound-6-ounce screaming, helpless bundle of joy out of my ladybits.
But ohmigawd, I have shit to do.
Don’t get me wrong—I have the utmost respect for mothers. I think parenting is probably the hardest job that exists, and there is so much effing judgment no matter what you do. (Dads, you do great work, too, but I don’t think you get near as much judginess as the moms do, so after them, you come first, okay?)
I have almost always worked with or for working mothers, and I could not respect them more—they do the hardest job in the world in addition to the job they get paid for, and they almost always feel like they are failing at something. Mothers of the world, you have my deepest respect and admiration.
But that does not mean I am in the process of becoming a mother myself. Or that my plans about motherhood are any of your damn business.
It’s not me, it’s you
And, for that matter, neither is my body. So let’s review, then, the times that it’s okay to comment on someone else’s body.
Never. Nada. Not. At. All.
Seriously, no body talk. Do not comment if someone looks smaller or bigger or taller or shorter or better or worse. Because you don’t know what they’re going through. They could have miscarried or started chemo or just, well, done nothing. Unless it’s your body, it’s none of your damn business.
If you want to give someone a compliment, find something that’s not body-related. Tell them how great their new perm looks, or how much you appreciate that they hold in their flatulence after a big meal of Mexican food, or what a great job they did not strangling the woman who badgered them about being pregnant. There are MANY other nice things to say about people that are not body-related. (This goes double for children.)
If you wouldn’t yell it at the CEO, don’t yell at anyone else. No one would think it was appropriate to yell about a man’s body from halfway across the office. (“HEY BOB, HAVE YOU GAINED SOME WEIGHT?! YOU GOT SOME JUNK IN THE TRUNK GOIN’ ON!”) Therefore, let’s quit doing this to women.
And speaking of men, let’s also quit waiting for men to lead this effort. Trust me, ladies, this is too important to wait around hoping that someone else will do it. This one’s on us.
Let yourself off the hook so you can do that for other women, too. Listen, I don’t feel bad about being tall or having red hair. It has never occurred to me that either of those things made me bad or wrong or unattractive. So why would my weight get that kind of play?
Next Stop: Body Love
And, really, I have to hand it to yelling idiot lady—she was right about one thing. I have been dressing to hide my body because I’m uncomfortable with my new visible belly outline (which my friends call VBO). And I’ve been wearing lots of clothes to camouflage it because I’m not able yet to flaunt it.
My tummy hasn’t appeared because I’m pregnant, but just because this is the size my body is right now. It’s as good as anyone else’s body, and it is kind of the thing that makes life possible for me. That breathing in, breathing out thing couldn’t happen without my body.
So I will try to embrace my tummy, to think of it as pregnant, in a way. Because I’m hoping that THIS is the tummy I’ll have when I learn to love my body, to accept it and honor it as it is today, to bless it as my home in this go-round. THIS tummy will help me birth body acceptance in myself.
And the fact that I don’t have to push anything out of my ladybits to get there is the best part about it.