Unless you know

I didn’t write about this earlier in the week because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate or not. However, Brian showed me this article today and I realized that this HAD to be my post.

So, Tuesday afternoon, I’m walking towards my classroom. A woman I’ve had maybe two interactions with before walks towards me. With her hands on her hips she says (and I quote), “Well, if I wasn’t sure before, I am now! The other women and I were talking and I just KNEW you were pregnant.”

(Insert screeching record noise and gasps here.)

Yup. She said that. Nope. I’m not pregnant.

I smiled graciously. “No,” I replied, “I’m not, but we’re talking about it.” I managed to get that out as her hand reached towards my stomach. 

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I’m not a skinny girl. But I was feeling particularly cute that day (up until that point) and I still have NO IDEA what made her so sure. Guess the marriage gut is showing, but seriously, lady? Seriously?! 

This is like Ladies 101. It’s basic. You don’t say anything unless you know for sure. And I don’t usually say anything unless the pregnant person references her own current state of pregnancy. Even then I feel awkward about it.

The woman didn’t skip a beat. She kept talking, though the topic had changed. In fact, I got to listen to her talk for a good ten minutes. I smiled and nodded a lot. I wanted out of there, but I stayed.

This woman had no realization of her incredible blunder. The reason I know not to do something so inconsiderate is because I have the mother I have. She taught me not only this social norm, but also that other people don’t need to see my bra straps and that a thank you card should never thank someone generically for “their kind gift.” But apparently there was no one like my mom with her infinite wisdom in this lady’s life. I just pray she does not victimize other poor women with muffin tops.

No, this woman did not intentionally harm me and she probably didn’t even realize she could have. I understand that. And it probably helps that this has happened to me before– twice in Turkey. And there the humiliation was perpetuated by the fact that the Turkish women who made these inquiries did not accept my response (in Turkish) and would repeat themselves, and touch my tummy and mimic holding a baby. “No baby!” I shouted at one of them in frustration.

But this time was different. The old Lindsey would have taken this really personally. She probably would have skipped a few meals. She would have told all of her girlfriends in an effort to receive obligatory praise and compliments. She would have called her mommy and said bad things about this woman. She would have replayed the event over and over in her head and avoided the woman at all costs thereafter.

I didn’t do any of that. Instead, I told Brian and my close teacher friend at school. Brian was wonderful about it. And actually, I think he has a bigger role in this than I realized at the time. I’m not freaking out about this because this careless comment didn’t ruin me. I’m pretty accepting of myself and I think that’s a relatively recent development. Like, within married-time recent.

Brian tells me that I am beautiful every day. Every day. He literally never misses. And he usually says it multiple times in multiple ways. And I don’t receive his compliments well about half the time, but that never never stops him. I realized this week that his words have sunk in. I am beautiful. My husband tells me so and I believe him.

Brian saved telling me about this article until today. He wanted to be a safe distance from the “incident.” I laughed out loud. It’s wonderful. The graphic is my favorite part. Please people, unless you know FOR SURE, keep your mouth shut!

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One thought on “Unless you know

  1. I have a curvature in my back that makes my stomach look just like a pregnant woman’s. While we were in college, I got asked all the time when I was due. It still happens to me on a regular basis. I, too, am a little peeved that these people (men, too!) don’t understand that you don’t ask a perfect stranger when her baby is due! But I never get angry at them about it, I usually go home and sulk that I can’t just look normal. It’s not their fault; it’s just the way I look. Oh, and I am VERY hostile to people I don’t know (or don’t know very well) trying to touch my belly. It’s MY belly! Back off!!!! That’s the only time I really get angry.

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