I’m at that stage of pregnancy where you see the midwife every two weeks. By far, for me, the most nerve-wracking part of the appointment is where she measures your bump. You lie on the bed, and she works out where your uterus starts, where is finishes, and measures. Now, I’m not a midwife or medically trained in any way, but I know that a taller woman will have a bigger measurement than a smaller woman. A larger woman will have a bigger measurement than a slimmer woman. I think the idea is to track the growth against your previous measurements, and, if it is your second or more pregnancy, to track your growth against your previous measurements.
At each appointment so far, I have measured fine – somewhere between the 50th and 75th centile. I expect I will have a fairly “good-sized” baby (actually, I’m terrified I will have a gigantic baby) as Ben was 9lb at birth. Yet, there is something that happens every day that puts the fear of an 11lb-er into me.
“Wow, you’re looking… Big.”
“That’s a great bump, you can’t have long to go… Really? Wow, that’s not going to be a small baby.”
“Well, you’re the size of 2 people.”
“You look better today, as you’re all dressed in black. It’s slimming.”
“Are you sure you should be in work?”
“Are you sure it’s not twins?”
Or my favourite: “You’re massive.”
These are just a selection of comments that I’ve had over the last week or so. Yes, the last one generally comes from the students at school, but the others are all from adults. Many from adults who have had children themselves, or whose partners have. But what, exactly, gives everyone the right to have an opinion on the size of my bump?
If I wasn’t pregnant, none of these people would think about commenting on my size. But the fact that I am sporting a significant bump means that I’m fair game for these kinds of comments. It’s getting harder and harder to laugh them off. Most of the comments come from people who don’t know me very well at all – the lady serving coffee at church, who Imhad never spoken to before, or the lady who runs the student reception at work.
Having a baby bump in some ways is a lovely part of pregnancy. When it starts to appear, you belt your clothes strategically to enhance it. You can relax about holding your tummy in, and you’re pleased that youVe finally started looking pregnant rather than bloated. The kinds of comments I’ve been getting have made it feel like something to be embarrassed by. I’ve occasionally lied about how long I’ve got left to avoid the shocked faces.
But there’s nothing I can do! I’ve already had one larger sized baby, and had separated tummy muscles afterwards. I haven’t put weight on anywhere else, unlike my first pregnancy, and I don’t have gestational diabetes, which can cause larger sized babies. I’ve really cut down on the amount of sugar and dairy in my diet to avoid having an even bigger baby. My weight gain is at the lower end of the recommended spectrum. Compared to my first pregnancy, I think I look smaller at this stage than I did with Ben (and yes, I had the comments then).
Here and now, I promise that I will never again remark on the size of a woman’s bump. The comments and the worry they are causing are actually making me feel quite miserable about this pregnancy. I don’t want this, my last pregnancy, to be tainted by that, but the comments aren’t invited.
So please, if you see a pregnant lady, just say she looks great. That’s enough. Pregnancy is hard enough without hearing what other people really think of your size. If you wouldn’t say it to a lady who wasn’t pregnant, don’t say it.