When Words Sting

I’ve surprised myself with how OK I’ve been about the inevitable weight gain that comes with pregnancy.

Feeling her little kicks (my husband can even feel them now!) and seeing my tummy twitch late at night just makes it all worth it … and knowing she’ll be here in roughly 16 weeks REALLY makes it worth it 😉

And because I’ve been journaling (albeit not dieting) and working out (albeit cutting back from my pre-pregnancy workouts) I’ve felt particularly good about how my body has changed with pregnancy.

Sure, my waist is more or less gone, I’m thick around the middle, and my hips are fleshier. But now that I have a bit of bump action going on, it feels the way it should be. I really feel like it’s all baby right now, and though I’m sure — like all new moms — I’ll be left with some excess weight to work off … I hope that the good habits I’ve been practicing (save for the junk food cravings I’ve given into) will help me do that when the time comes.

So given my positive state of mind, I was surprised at how some words I heard today really stung.

You see, we never officially announced the pregnancy — I mean, here on the blog I did, and of course friends and family knew directly from us … but we never made some grandiose announcement and that was because of the precarious testing we were going through. Which means a lot of people still don’t know …

Someone who didn’t know until last Friday knows now!

I was lugging a bunch of bags (lunch bag, gym bag,  laptop bag, purse) and she commented that I was “carrying a ton of weight,” which I — not realizing she didn’t know — commented, “And I’m carrying extra weight here, too” and pointed at my belly. She looked back at me, totally surprised, and said, “Wait, you’re pregnant?! I had no idea!”

Then today I rode the elevator out with her. I was wearing an adorable black maternity dress my mom had sent me, and feeling good. I knew you could see my bump in it, and I felt confident all day.

She was eying me again, and this time commented about how she really couldn’t tell I was pregnant. Self-conscious, I stood to the side and smoothed out my dress. She told me I’m carrying low and must be having a boy (I’m 100% having a girl — unless DNA and the anatomy ultrasound are wrong … !).

And then she said what killed me, what stung, what burned. “You know, I couldn’t tell but then one day I noticed I hadn’t seen you coming out with your gym bag and figured she must have stopped working out and packed on the pounds.”

OUCH.

Now I know she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings — but OMG it hurt. I’ve said here, since getting married and moving to Michigan, I’ve gained 10-12 lbs that I didn’t lose pre-pregnancy. So I don’t know if she was referring to THOSE pounds I was “packing on” or the new weight I have gained throughout my first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

I was stunned … literally stunned, mostly by the acknowledgment by another that yea , I’d gained weight. But all I said was, “Oh, I never stopped working out — I just stopped changing at work before the gym.” (with the puppy, I need to go home immediately after work now).

And then, for good measure, I added, ” I’m really glad I’ve kept it up during my pregnancy.”

I know I shouldn’t care what others think. And I know that I shouldn’t compare; that each and every woman’s pregnancies are different — and even the same woman will have different pregnancies. But suddenly I was questioning my own body, wondering if maybe I wasn’t matching up to society’s expectations of what I should look like … and wondering just how pudgy I’d gotten pre-pregnancy!?  I mean, I knew I didn’t look my best, but I didn’t feel like I’d “packed it on” — rather it was about a 5-lb gain each year.

When I got home I told my husband what happened. Naturally, he felt really bad about her “pounds” comment, but he said our security guard isn’t necessarily wrong in saying I don’t look very pregnant; he agreed I don’t look hugely pregnant (yet) — but reassured me that each and every woman looks different — and that since this is my first baby, I won’t look as pregnant now as someone having their second or third baby.

Rationally, I know this.

But emotionally … the string of words she said still stung for different reasons, true or not. The “packing on the pounds” comment hurt for obvious reasons … and the “you don’t look pregnant” comment hurt because I’ve been really proud of how I’ve been handling the weight gain … and the security guard wasn’t the first person to point out that I didn’t really “look” pregnant … which might explain the sensitivity to it.

There’s nothing I can do now about it, but I did want to share this today because it was weighing heavy on my mind and heart.

How about you? How have you handled comments that burn?

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21 thoughts on “When Words Sting

  1. Interestingly, she’s made comments to me before as well and I think its just the way she was brought up. She constantly says what’s on her mind without considering that it may hurt someone else. She’s got nothing but love, really. (And trust me, she hurt my feelings, too.)

    You look beautiful, radiant and PREGNANT. Anyone who doesn’t see that needs their eyes checked.

    About comments… I have to just move on. If I dwell on everything I hear, I’d be hiding under a rock somewhere.

  2. Ugh, my sister (who is very thin naturally and has never been sensitive to comments on her appearance) has told me that she thinks pregnancy makes her incredibly insecure. She says people seem to think they have a right to comment on your body ALL THE TIME. That would drive me nuts. She’s had people tell her she’s “so huge” and that she must be having twins (she’s not). It makes her really self-conscious (and, like I said, she’s never had eating or body issues). I imagine it’s really difficult to block out what people say. They can be so insensitive and blunt and downright rude, especially with pregnancy. It’s like people think pregnancy is a communal bonding activity, like they can make unsolicited comments about people and the way they look/eat/etc. Anyway, it’s normal that you would be hurt by the comments. You’re human. Just because you’re strong in your recovery doesn’t mean your immune. You’ll move on though and be stronger for it (and stronger for your little girl when she’s born. You’re going to be such a great mom!).

    1. I think that’s just it, Kim–it’s like a license for commentary. My mom told she was criticized with her pregnancies for not looking super-pregnant, yet she delivered three healthy-weight babies –and she lost it quickly, too! So I think it’s an individual thing but I’m sorry for your sister; it’s not nice.

      And thank you; I couldn’t let this pass without saying something about it here.

  3. Ouch. Talk about an uncomfortable elevator ride. That sounds like something that would get my disordered thinking flaring. But it also sounds like you handled it well. Yes, it hurt — but you didn’t ACT on that hurt. Way to go! Way to take care of yourself and your baby! Way to not give in to old habits or patterns! Way to be awesome!!! 🙂

  4. Oh my. That’s such a RUDE comment – why should she comment on your weight at all, pregnant or not?

    What gets me when people make backhanded comments (which rarely happens, really – most people are nice) is that once in a while I can zing back a quickie comeback (“well, my body isn’t any of your business”), but most of the time I’m really nice in the moment and then later come up with evil snide remarks that I could have made…but then it’s too late. :0(

  5. PS I don’t think I much like those comments about how pregnant women “carry” the baby. Basically it seems like an examination of which parts the woman is putting weight on, vs a true caring attitude about how baby is doing. If the baby is doing well inside, that’s all that should matter to others.

  6. I agree that people seem to think pregnancy means it’s okay to comment on your body – it’s like the evidence of or being told of the baby (if it’s not evident) turns you into public property.

    As you know, it was all weird for me because I didn’t gain much weight and barely looked pregnant, even at 8 months. So I got sort of weird “compliments” about how I was doing so well – like because I was heavy before, I was expected to really gain a ton. And I had some people ask me point blank, “Why don’t you LOOK pregnant?” Um… I don’t know?? How would I know the answer to that? It’s so hard when you’ve harshly evaluated your own body for your whole life to then have what seems like everyone else also evaluate it.

  7. Do not care what others think of you…end of story, YOU are the
    one that gives yourself the atta-boys at the pats-on-the-back!…
    Why give her the power? Focus on all the GOOD compliments,
    you allowed yourself to get caught up in her “suff”…
    The words were about her…not you…
    You are beautiful, YOU know it and move on!

  8. WOW. I am totally stunned by this woman!! it’s like she couldn’t stop talking about it no matter what she tried. I mean REALLY – you are pregnant, you look amazing, you’re glowing and she’s sitting there trying to steal your joy right out from under you. I am like down-right angry reading what you went through because of some insensitive nitwit who didn’t know how to shut her trap. Good grief. Some people I’ll just NEVER understand. Hugs.

  9. Oh, man – I’m sorry you had to deal with that! I think you look gorgeous, and you absolutely glow with pregnancy.

    Knowing who you’re referring to, I can totally picture her saying all of that. My best friend for the last 13 years is so much like that person, they could be sisters: age, personality, ATTITUDE, everything. It really was hard to deal with the same kind of comments and unsolicited advice from her when I was preggers with my son, but I figured out that it had a lot to do with my friend’s culture and upbringing.

    Knowing my friend so well has helped me understand the person you’re talking about better. I can tell you, she’ll probably keep up the comments all through your pregnancy. Have snarky replies ready and give it right back to her in the same tone she gives it to you! From her perspective, a strong woman is one who speaks her mind, no matter what anyone thinks and doesn’t take crap off of anyone, so let her know she’s being a butthead and she might back off AND respect you for it.

    But please know that you look great (happy, healthy, and yes, pregnant!) and don’t doubt yourself for a single second!

    1. Aw thank you, Kristen! I know deep down that is all true, Kristen–it’s definitely the way she was brought up I’m sure–and I’m glad you know what I mean. Thank you — and maybe I do need some snappy comebacks.

      Lord knows there’s no other way out of the building 😉

  10. Long time, no comment I know, but I had to say something – when I told my department at work that I was pregnant one of my colleagues said, oh, I thought you had put on a little weight! Of course, I did put on a LOT of weight with my pregnancy but at the time didn’t mind the comment because I could say, nope, not fat, just pregnant. Now when someone asked me 3 months post-partum when the baby was due…that hurt!

  11. You know Lissa I’ve never personally had an eating disorder nor have I ever paid too much attention to body image so when I got pregnant with my first son I was not at all worried about the weight gain or the baby bump. But it absolutely amazed em the types of things people would say and I’m like how can you possibly thing that’s ok to say to me? One lady (who I THOUGHT was my friend) actually took to calling me chubbo every time she saw me! You MUST be kidding me that is SO rude! I was 3 months behind another girl in the office who was also pregnant and another girl would comment on who got “fatter” quicker in their pregnancies. I thought you were supposed to be extra sensitive toward pregnant women? I could not believe the comments I got daily that I felt were so completely inappropriate and out of line! Hang in there… unfortunately it happens to all of us. And I was NOT chubby let me just say!! 🙂

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