One of the worst things about pregnancy is dealing with people who ask intrusive or insensitive questions. And then there are those who say rude comments…or worse. Like strangers who actually put their hands on a pregnant belly without consent. You know what I call these types of people?
Belly bullies, who tend to be other women, are the equivalent of mean girls from the 7th grade. However, they like to harass pregnant women instead.
So, who are these *belly bullies* and what do they do exactly? Let me tell you.
- They are the strangers who believe they have a right to touch your burgeoning belly. In the wise words of Billy Madison,”that’s assault, brother!”
- They are the rude people who stare at your belly, widen their eyes and exclaim - wow, you’re huge! You must be due any minute now! (You’re not. You’re only in your 2nd trimester).
- Similar to the above example except, instead, they say – wow, you’re huge! Are you having twins?
- They are the people who you tell you that they think you’re expecting a girl because your hips are so wide or that you’re huge all over.
- They are the people who ask how much weight you’ve gained. Enough to squash you, I say.
- They are the people who share horrible birth stories and other terrifying pregnancy and/or child-rearing experiences.
- They are also the people that ask you whether or not you will be breastfeeding or if you plan on having a *natural* birth (meaning no medication or epidural). These questions might sound pretty harmless but, more often than not, they are loaded questions. People don’t typically ask these things unless they want to start a discussion or debate.
You might read this and think, that doesn’t really sound like bullying to me. Or maybe you’re offended because you do these things and you don’t see the harm in it. Well, then, here’s my question to you: do you think it’s rude and disrespectful to say the aforementioned items regarding body size or weight to a woman who is NOT pregnant? Do you think it’s inappropriate to touch a non-pregnant woman’s belly? Do you think it’s rude to ask highly personal questions or share horrible experiences with someone who is probabely feeling a bit anxious?
You probably said yes, because that would be correct.
Normal social boundaries still apply to the pregnant. They deserve the same courtesy and respect as any other woman, if not more. Rather than joke around with a pregnant woman about swallowing a watermelon seed, why don’t you tell her that she looks beautiful. How about holding the door open for her or just throw her a smile. Those small gestures go a long way. And instead of silently (or not so silently) cursing you, a pregnant woman will remember your kindness and throw magic fairy dust your way. Pregnant women are magical beings like that.
But, hey, you can ignore this post and keep doing what you’re doing. Just don’t be shocked if this happens at some point: you put your hands on a pregnant belly to ask the due date… and the woman puts her hands on you and asks the same thing. Rudeness begets rudeness. And the same goes for kindness, so be good to the pregnant mamas out there.