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And for once I was SuperMom

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big is Beautiful?

I just ate a brownie smothered in hot fudge sauce and whip cream.
Sometimes you just have to relish being pregnant.

A question that has been bothering me for awhile has been bopping around in my head and I thought I would ask the rest of you what you thought:
Why is it suddenly okay to comment on a woman's size when she is pregnant?

Think about it. For most of our lives size is kind of the proverbial elephant in the room. You don't talk about your 'size.' You don't list numbers. You certainly don't walk up to complete strangers and comment on their weight.

I show early and a lot. I am short waisted and short. My abdomen is not first class, nor even business class, my daughters have had to ride out their womb time in Economy class. Sorry girls no extra knee room for you. You might want to keep that tray table locked in an upright position, lest you bump your forehead on it.
I also gain quite a bit of weight. For whatever reason my body seems to need to gain about forty pounds. I tried to do better the second time around but I fear that I am not faring all that well. Really, though, the few times that I have been so sick I couldn't eat during nursing or pregnant I was thankful for that extra layer of subcutaneous loving.

My husband and I went into a maternity clothing shop a few months ago. In this particular shop you have to walk past all the expensive Pea in the Pod clothes to get to the normal priced Destination Maternity in the back. We walked in, trolled the sale racks in the back and walked right back out. On the way out of the door my husband sputtered,
"Those models were ridiculous, they were just a bump and all skinny arms and legs. You need to gain more weight than that when you're pregnant!" I don't know if he said that for my benefit or not. But he's right, they were ridiculous.

I was at a baby shower about a year ago and we played a game where we guessed how much weight she had gained. Everybody was cooing about how tiny she still looked. She was due in about a month, I could tell she was swollen. All the ladies guessed polite numbers, 12 or ten. I did the math and figured she was about on target, I almost guessed 20 but folded to social pressure and said, '17.' I was right. I was a bit incensed that people would congratulate someone for not gaining that much weight when they are pregnant.

So why does it bother me when someone eyes my belly and asks me if I have, 'twins in there?' Or, 'You're not gonna have a ten pounder, are you?' Or, 'Really you're only twenty weeks?' I feel a twinge of emberrassment, like I've gained too much weight or that somehow I should will my belly to be smaller.
I guess it's that I feel our cultural pressure to be thin infiltrating pregnancy. Pregnancy is the one time in your life, outside of babyhood, where you need to gain weight to be healthy. For you and for the baby.

So next time you see a pregnant women who looks twelve months pregnant, smile and tell her she looks great. She probably needs to hear that more than anything.

1 comment:

Alejandra said...

I looked huge when I was pregnant, a couple people thought I was having a 10 pound baby. At work, all the residents would ask me if I was having twins (I let those slide, they were elderly). My husband always made me feel so much better, telling me I looked great. Now, I'm kind of wondering how much more I will show with the future second pregnancy. Thanks for following me.