Repeat after me: “You look great!”
If you must, re-read that sentence again, as often as needed, before speaking with a pregnant person again for your entire lifetime. Why? Because it’s all you need to know.
Let me be honest: nobody wants your opinion about their body ever. Like, ever. But they especially don’t want your opinion about their body when they’re carrying another body inside of it while trying to sprint across the street to beat the light. Oh, also, nobody wants to hear your opinion about how I shouldn’t sprint across the street to beat the light, either.
You see, I’ve been conducting a little experiment during my second pregnancy because I’ve wised up in the last 18 months. With my first, I was honest. People would ask when I was due, I’d tell them. They’d touch my stomach without asking, I’d let them. They’d comment on how good or bad I looked and I’d either downplay the positive or agree with the negative so I didn’t look arrogant or moody or defensive or human.
But now I’ve decided to beat ‘em at their own game. Mainly so CB doesn’t have to deal with me not wanting to leave the house or throwing all of my clothes away.
First, I lie. Well, sometimes, it really depends on you, person-I’m-speaking-with-about-my-body. I can tell by the way you ask and the look on your face whether you’re judging my size positively or negatively. If you’re all casual about it, I tell you the truth. Sometimes that backfires and I get a “woah, are you sure it’s not twins?” comment, to which I immediately regret not lying to their face and/or smacking it. But usually they’re smart enough to be nice about it and say “that’s great, how are you feeling?” and move off of talking about my width.
However, if you’re someone who clearly is ready to pounce, I lie. I go up. For example: this morning, a cashier asked me how far along I was. I’m four months, so I lied and said five and a half. Because for four months, I’m apparently a whale. For five and a half, I’m a waif. “Wow, you look great!” And then I walk away completely confident in my ability to not care that I just added 6 weeks to my belly for my own peace of mind.
Now, I know what some of you will say: “You shouldn’t care what people think, every pregnancy is different.” Yes, person, you are correct. However, I’ll just go ahead and ask you to walk around Manhattan for the duration of your pregnancy and not eventually make a game out of it for your own sanity.
You think I’m being dramatic? That’s very unlike me, first of all. Second of all, here are actual things people have said to me when I tell them the truth:
“Wow, I guess with a second pregnancy you really do get bigger faster.”
“Wow, are you sure you’re not carrying twins?” wink wink. Yeah, wink wink this.
“Wow, do they have the due date wrong?”
“Wow, I can’t imagine what 9 months will look like!”
And now, here are things people have said when I lied:
“Wow, you look great!”
Yep, that’s it. And it’s a lesson for everyone. Because I didn’t get pregnant to win some beauty competition, though my skin is killer, you guys, and my hair has never been more lush – pre-natal vitamins, yo, I’m telling you. But I’m also still me, the same person who couldn’t brush off critical comments before I built someone else’s spleen. You think it’s better now that I have extra hormones?
And so I’m writing this as a public service announcement to everyone:
Repeat after me: “You look great!”