And I’m not the only one, pregnancy (or even lack of pregnancy) seems to invite the thoughts and feelings of all you meet.
Why is the womb such a topic of conversation and invitation for opinions? Commentary on anyone’s bodies at any time can be tenuous at best, but what is it about pregnancy that seems to open floodgates allowing all comments and criticisms?
Case in point, a friend of mine was recently told she needed to have another child; one just wouldn’t do! And it had to be a boy.
Who would make such demanding and presumptuous commentary? Her parking attendant, of course! He should be the first in line in helping a stranger make their life choices. Before this pregnancy, I was told I needed to have another baby by my dental receptionist – not my usual go-to person for big decisions regarding my uterus.
Where does this line of commentary come from and why do people think it’s okay? And also, isn’t it a little presumptuous? A person may have fertility issues, financial struggles, or maybe they don’t want kids at all – all of which are completely justified, but also extremely personal.
But even if you are pregnant, you’d think that would lighten the commentary. Not so. The conversation becomes questions of gender or name, how far long you are, and comments on your size. A well-meaning lady at my local burger joint suggested baby names to me, and wanted me to tell her the names on my short list, I didn’t even know her name at the time! I came up with an excuse to keep the information to myself. Why would I want to tell some stranger details that are so personal?
And how do you politely tell someone that their comments and actions aren’t welcome? Is that even possible to do without causing offence?
My father in law - a lovely, well-meaning man - always touches my belly when I see him. To be fair, the bump at this stage is sizable – I’m 34 weeks and climbing, but he also pats my belly and talks about how “he’s really growing in there.” Is there a nice way to ask him to stop? Maybe I’m oversensitive because I’ve had issues with my weight my whole life – but even though I know full well there’s a baby inside, it feels like a commentary on my hugeness.
Being a woman isn’t license for someone to tell you how many kids you should have, when you should have them, or make any suggestions as to their life choices. Being pregnant isn’t license to be told you’re too big, too small, or have people touch your belly. Mothers, at any stage of their child’s lives, could benefit from support or encouragement over opinions and judgement at any time.
Get out of our uteruses, people!