Weight-shaming is something everyone is guilty of at some point, even if it isn’t extreme. Although it’s awful in any context, it holds a complex meaning to a pregnant woman, no matter what their body-type was before pregnancy.
When you’re going through pregnancy it’s like 90% of your body (and 100% of your brain) is arguing with you. You’re happier than a clam, but you can’t deny the fact that not everything is perfect. All of a sudden, you can’t eat your favorite red sauce with pasta because it makes you sick. You’re craving a food that normally disgusts you. You can’t wear any of the clothes that make you feel better about yourself and you feel like you have massive, gross Hobbit feet.
Something I believe everyone should take a moment and think about is the way in which we talk to pregnant women. Half of the common phrases that are used are completely weight based. “You’ve gotten so big!” and “You look like you’re about to pop!” are regularly spouted and, although they may not be offensive to ALL pregnant women, you may not realize how hurtful they are to many.
All of my life I have been very skinny. Not from choice, or trying, but by genetics. Before I got pregnant with my son, I weighed less than 120 lbs (which is not much for someone who’s 5’11). I stayed very small for more than half of my pregnancy then… Blew up all at once. I never really got “huge”, my feet never even swelled, but that didn’t mean that the change to my body wasn’t dramatic, or that people didn’t notice and comment.
I didn’t talk about it much, tried not to be one of those “complainers”. I enjoyed my pregnancy vastly, but it made me emotionally uncomfortable when it came to my body. I just wasn’t used to not being… Me. I didn’t even post pregnant pictures of myself on social media (until a family member in another state begged for one). I struggled to even take them. I was so worried nothing would be the same after.
However, I was lucky. I will tell anyone that. My husband spent my pregnancy telling me that I was beautiful, that my face was not fat (even when it was). It was his opinion that really mattered. Then, not even weeks after my son was born, I was back to my normal size. Nothing really changed except for the gain of my tiger stripes, which I don’t mind as much as I thought I would.
I will tell you though, I have caught myself thinking or saying things about other women that would have been incredibly detrimental to my own psyche. I write this not only for others, but for myself as well.
When someone you love is pregnant and going through all of the changes that come along with it, be mindful of what you say. If you’re the kind of person to talk to the pregnant chick in the grocery store, be mindful of what you say. Even if it is your own significant other and they have a great sense of humor, they might not think your “you look as big as a whale!” comment is funny at all. I love to laugh at myself and I do so often, but every tiny quip had the potential to make me cry. Remember, their emotions are raging and swirling like a hurricane. All they want to hear is that they don’t look as terrible as they feel like they do. Tell them their hair looks great, that they have “the glow”, whatever you can think of that will give them the little boost that might make their day.
You don’t have to change your relationship, or lie. That would be the worst advice. Just remember that they’re feeling sensitive, so being sensitive is a proper response.
Published by Kylee Ellis