I’m in two minds about what to write here today so I’m going to go with both because both points are important and both points are valid.
So, where to begin? Well, I was recently (and not for the first time) in the rather undesirable position of being asked by a well-intentioned stranger when my baby was due. Great, thanks for asking, except I’m not pregnant, nor have I ever been. God It upset me. I was inconsolable. At the time I awkwardly laughed it off with a brave face and a throwaway comment about just being fat, but when he had gone I sat and I cried.
I went home and I cried some more. Then I had a couple of glasses of wine and I cried into them until it was time for bed at which point I cried myself to sleep. I woke the next morning and cried some more, until finally at around 10 am I snapped out it and started to realise his words didn’t matter.
Until I had processed everything and cried it out of my system, nothing anyone could say was going to make me feel any better. I felt ashamed, ugly, worthless, unattractive and grotesque. Not that I think pregnant ladies are any of those things but their bellies are swollen with human life, as opposed to burgers and trapped wind.
I decided I needed to write it all down but I wasn’t sure if I should write about the power of your words and how you should be thoughtful and kind when choosing them, or, if I should write about the fact that we are the ones who give power to other people’s words by choosing to let them hurt us. Well, after some thought I’ve gone with both, and here’s why.
They are both true.
You, as a human being have a moral responsibility to not be an arse. By all means be assertive, insist on being treated fairly and demand good service, but don’t be an arse! Saying hurtful things out of spite is not big and it’s not clever and your words can do real damage, so cut it out, immediately. That’s not the issue here though.
Thoughtlessness can be more damaging than horridness. In my case, a person asking me if I was up the duff, with child, had a bun in the oven, was having a baby, was hurtful on many levels. It made me feel like I must look bloated and fat for somebody to assume this when the only bun in my oven are the Belgian, and from Gregg’s.
If you are commenting on somebody’s appearance keep it polite.
“You look nice” – Safe
“You look pretty” – Safe
“I like your hair” – safe.
“Are you storing small human in your distended abdomen?” – RISKY!
If somebody is pregnant and they want you to know, they will probably tell you. So, unless a woman is holding a picture of an ultrasound whilst pointing at her belly and saying the words “I am pregnant”, don’t ask her because, odds are it’s only a matter of time until you’re wrong and you get a slap.
On the other side of this though, is the thinking that I could have chosen to just say, no, this is just me and I’m me shaped. I am no different to how I was in the seconds before this inaccurate assumption was made. I was happy and confident(ish) and generally feeling good about myself. Why should this person’s opinion affect or alter anything? I’m exactly the same person. Literally NOTHING has changed!
So, I can either cry into my wine or I can hold my head high and say, actually, I’m awesome. Quite frankly, life is too short for watered down wine.