Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Back Handed Compliments

I feel the need to rant... and here is the best place. After all, I'm not sure I could whine about this to any IRL friends (without getting smacked or laughed at) and my darling hubby is tired of hearing me whine (in general, and about this in particular).

I LOVE being pregnant (I know this does not seem like the beginning of a rant... bear with me). I adore being pregnant (partially because I've struggled twice to get pregnant), and really I have VERY easy pregnancies. I know this, and as I've met more and more mom's I appreciate it more and more. I don't get much if any morning sickness(at any time of the day!), I don't have any major health issues (GD, pre-eclampsia, etc.) and I really feel pretty darn good. My neighbor makes fun of me, that even at 2 weeks before my due dates, I'm out walking around the block with the kids, pushing a stroller, and not stopping (summer or winter).

And I believe that most of the time, I convey this. I'm not that overly-perky, in-your-face, way-too-happy girl. But I'm also not the overly whiny girl. If you ask me how I'm feeling or how I'm doing, my answer is usually "Fine". No whining about my aching back, how poorly I slept last night, or my heartburn... but all of those are issues I'm currently dealing with.

Mostly this is because: a) I don't want to seem like a whiner (I wanted to be pregnant, I know what that means comes with it); b) (at least) half the time people ask the question "How are you?" as a way to say hello, and don't actually expect an answer; and c) because I subscribe to the theory that if you act/think positive you will feel I try to think that I feel fine even when my back aches.

By no means am I saying that I don't complain. If you are with me long enough (at the coffee shop for a few hours yesterday morning for example), you will hear me groan as I get up out of my chair, see me shift positions trying to get comfy, and I'll make some snide comments about how much of a beating I'm getting from this kiddo in my belly. I am human!!

Anyway.... that's kind of all background, and not really the point of this rant. My issue at the moment, is people's reaction to my pregnant belly. For those who don't know me, I am the "tall skinny girl". That's just who I am. I'm between 5' 8 1/2" and 5' 9", and not pregnant weigh about 140 pounds. (Yes, really, my height hides that, but it's true). I usually wear a size 10 or 12 jeans. (Again, yes really, my height works to my advantage). I'll put these numbers out here, they are what they are.... I have no issues with numbers.

Here's average pre-pregnant me:

Now, 28 weeks pregnant (6.5 months) here's me:

I've gained 20 pounds to this point. I gained about 30 with both boys.

Yes really. REALLY!

And that's what I'm ranting about. Not the weight gain, but the fact that I KNOW I have to "justify" it. I had to type that "Yes really" there, because 90% of you are sitting at your computers thinking "no way".

I see people, and their first reaction is "No way, you can't be 6.5 months along!" or "Oh, I was that big at like 1 month pregnant!" or "Do you even need maternity clothes?" or "This must be your first baby".

To be blunt.... I'm really REALLY SICK of those comments. What exactly are they supposed to mean? Are you trying to make me feel better in some obscure way? Are you trying to tell me that I look great? Because frankly, that's not how I understand the comments, and how I recieve them or process them. What I hear is that I'm just not really "that pregnant" so I'm either a liar about how far along I am/how much I've gained, or I'm fat and covering it up, or that I'm not feeding my growing baby enough (and therefore a bad mom), or that since I look 'tiny' that I can't feel bad or have any typical pregnancy complaints (aching back, hard to sleep, heartburn, etc.).

Hubby's theory is that people are jealous. They think I look good and they are trying to be nice when they say these things. Sorry, I'm not buying it. But if that is the case, if you want to tell me that you think I look good for this stage of my pregnancy, please feel free. But say it that way, without the "back handed compliments". If you don't want to say that (and that is absolutely fine-I'm not fishing for compliments here), and if you have nothing nice to say..... then DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!!

Here's my last thought on all this. Yes, my belly may look small. Yes I may have gained less (or MUCH less) weight than most people who are pregnant. But the end result is this... I have a baby in me, who at birth weighs about the same as most other people's babies (T was 6 lbs 13 oz, B was 7 lbs 11 oz). So just cause I LOOK tiny, doesn't mean I have tiny babies. It means that somehow all that kid is squished up inside me somewhere!!! My Dr estimates that I'm measuring right on schedlue, and that my baby weighs about 2 pounds, (the average weight for 28 weeks). So, in fact, the fact that I look "less pregnant" that most 6.5 month pregnant women, seems to me to mean, that I might be MORE uncomfortable (at minimum I'm as comfortable as anyone can be with a little person living inside them!). Because instead of sticking out, this kid is up inside me, pushing my bladder, tummy and lungs, out of her way, and kicking me in the ribs and bladder constantly!!!

Okay.... rant over. I'm going back to being positive! But I think I feel much better now that this is off my chest!! Which has also grown, and is my favorite side-effect of pregnancy and nursing....


shiela said...

hey T, i get what you mean. no i've never been preggo but experienced these type things indirectly via my wife. i think people become nosey and lose all sense of boundries when they come in contact with a pregnant person or one who is trying to become so. i'm not sure why but there is definitely an issue with it. it's made me MUCH more sensitive and careful about my comments to someone re: pregnancy. everyone carries different and has a different reaction. i think it's fine for you to rant. you look beautiful, my friend, and we look forward to meeting the newest member of your family!

Angela said...

Here, here...b/c you know I get those very same comments!

Angela said...

ps - you look GREAT!!!!! Even at 6.5mos preggo =)

moo said...

people have NO FILTER when it comes to pregnancy.

you look amazing and you are super lucky. try to ignore the ignorance and continue to gestate so beautifully!

Elizabeth said...

Hey, I know what you mean as I recieved a lot of these comments this time around (however I gladly took them as I was much bigger the 1st time). But yes it does get tiring after a while to keep hearing it over and over (expecially the 3rd time around). And yes, I agree that the smaller belly does = baby shoving, kicking... you more. Also loving the nursing boobs here ;) I heaven't seen you in a few weeks so I will let you know next time I see you if you are looking great!