Monday, September 19, 2016

the one about my "bump"

I love a good compliment...both giving and receiving. Compliments are good for the soul, and we should give them freely to both our loved ones and perfect strangers.

However.

HOWever.

HowEVER.

HOWEVER.

If the compliment you are forming in your brain is something along the lines of, "You are an adorable pregnant lady," you might better stop and really think about that before you blurt it out.

Because...well...she might not actually be pregnant.

Friends, as I was exiting a store over the weekend, a woman yelled across the parking lot (at me as I was the only one in earshot), "THAT'S AN ADORABLE PREGO SHIRT!" 

My brain: "Shit."

My face: Half-assed smile over my shoulder.

My brain: "Just keep walking. She will go away."

Lady: "I'M SERIOUS! YOU LOOK ADORABLE!"

My brain: "%&^#! I'm fat. And I thought this shirt was slimming."

My heart: Trampled. Crushed. Broken. 

Lady: Trots away proudly thinking she made my day.

I mean, I have mirrors. I know that I am not skinny by any means. I know that I carry my weight in my belly (and my arms and my face and my legs but mostly my belly). I can see how this can be confusing.

But everyone... you can't just go around assuming that every woman with some extra in the middle is pregnant. Actually, you can if you want to...but the error is when you act on that assumption. When you yell something across a parking lot or issue a well-intentioned yet incorrect congratulations. You just can't. 

Why? Because it's hurtful. 

Even if your intention was to do a good thing (and in these cases, nearly 99.9% of the intentions are good...I know this), the consequences of being wrong are far more detrimental than the benefits of being right. 

In public, we tend to rely on the easier compliments to give-- which are the ones based on the things we can see...such as physical appearance. In general, we don't know if the lady waiting in front of us in line is really intelligent or a great mother or awesome at public speaking or can bake an award-winning cheesecake, so in an attempt to connect and be kind and make conversation, we pick something easy like her hair or her lipstick or clothes or her shoes to compliment. 

Most of the time, if a woman is not pregnant (or not visibly), we don't say to perfect strangers, "Ma'am, I was just noticing here in the prescription pick-up line that your ass is on point today."

Or "Lady, I just have to tell you that your stomach is so flat. I just love it."

But once a woman is obviously pregnant (or you just assume that she is), her body is evidently eligible for public commentary.

"Your belly is so cute!"

"You just have a basketball in there, don't you!?"

"When are you due? You look like you are about to pop!"

"I got big like you when I was pregnant."

"You must be having a girl. When you have a girl, you carry wider."

"You are just all belly!"

So in the case of what happened to me most recently, all hurt feelings could have been avoided if she would have taken the part referencing my body out of the compliment and simply said yelled, "YOUR SHIRT IS ADORABLE! IT LOOKS GREAT ON YOU!"

But because she thought I was pregnant, she assumed it was perfectly fine to throw that in there, too. And the only reason she thought I was pregnant was because of my belly. I wasn't waddling around eating pork rinds dipped in peanut butter, asking for someone to time my contractions. There were no other clues.

Some of you reading this might be thinking that I should use this situation to fuel a new weight-loss ambition. That I should take it to heart and be inspired to change. That I shouldn't be upset because the lady had good intentions.

You are entitled to that opinion, but for me and most women I know, these types of situations do nothing but crush me, defeat me, and make me drive to Chick-Fil-A for a #1, large (YES I want the fries large, too), no pickles, with a side of punch me in the face.

And ya'll, I know there are worse things than being asked if I am pregnant. Pregnancy is a beautiful, wonderful thing that I have been blessed to experience multiple times. However, remember that there are many women who have suffered pregnancy loss, infertility, and other heart breaking situations that you know nothing about, and bringing it up in such a way can be extremely detrimental to any kind of healing process.

So, I decided to make a little flow chart for handy reference. Screen shot it. Save it to your phone. Pull it out whenever you are faced with the dilemma of being in the presence of a woman who might pregnant. Save yourself, and most importantly her, a lot of heartache.