I appreciate honesty, I really do. It’s a noble quality. I like the fact that my friends and family are honest people. The fact they say what they think. But just occasionally, I wonder if they could ‘gild the lily’ somewhat, and perhaps not be quite so forthright. For instance, when talking about my pregnancy.
I opened the door yesterday to my friend, she’s lovely; a super, straightforward Northern lass; another person who tells it as it is. “OMG, she squealed..” "You’re HUGE”. Laughing as she passed the buggy over the doorstep she then lobbed a final verbal hand grenade at me; “You’re going to be absolutely MASSIVE by the end.”
My Mother and Mother in Law aren’t much better. I’ve lost count of the times that my Mum has asked; “You’re sure there’s only one in there?” (Yes, of course Mum, unless ultrasound machines tell lies). My uber-slim Mother in Law is also quite happy to put her two penneth in; “I don’t mean it horribly dear, but I'm surprised you are SO big already.”
I’m nearly 5 months PREGNANT for goodness sake.
Thinking about it, I’ve decided that the people around me are just not used to seeing a bigger me; or perhaps Pip’s pregnancy was so long ago they’ve forgotten what I looked like. In my non pregnant state, I’m a bit of a bean pole. 5ft 8 and slim. I’m one of those lucky ladies that has never needed to watch her weight. Despite eating mountains of cake, my whole adult life I’ve wavered at the top of the ‘underweight’ BMI band. I don’t know why my body is that way, maybe I have a high metabolism. My brother and my Dad are both rakish looking individuals too. It was only after having Pip, when I discovered coffee as a coping mechanism for dealing with the knackered-ness of new motherhood and embraced the world of creamy full fat lattes, that I ducked under the ticker tape and gratefully edged into the ‘normal’ BMI bracket.
Some people can be pregnant for months and not show. I had a friend who didn’t declare her pregnancy until she was seven months and even then, you couldn’t tell. She just looked like she’d eaten a large roast dinner. I, on the other hand, when pregnant, look like Mr Skinny from the Mr Men; more specifically, the image of him where he’s swallowed a pea and has a large bulbous stomach. For some reason, my babies chose to sit in the front seat, they tuck themselves up as prominently as possible between my two hip bones. It does look ridiculous, by the time Pip arrived my bump almost looked phallic. Perhaps it’s that which makes me look more pregnant than I actually am.
It seems that members of the public agree. Fellow holiday makers seemed shocked when I told them that I wasn’t due until the end of November. On Sunday, at an afternoon tea stall at a local exhibition I bumped into my old NCT teacher. When I told her when my baby was due she counted off the remaining months on her fingers, looked at my bump and then raised her eyebrows pointedly. Ditto the cashier in the supermarket yesterday; exactly the same finger counting process and then a surprised look at the bump.
What gives people the right to judge? To suddenly become experts on the exact size a pregnant woman should be? I’ve stopped telling people the actual due date, because I think if I just say November then possibly this will mislead them to think I’m due at the start and not actually 4 weeks later. I love being pregnant I really do, I love the bloom of my bump and for once, having some buoyant breasts but frankly, I'm getting a little tired of feeling like I have to apologise for being the size I am at the stage I am. At the risk of sounding a ranty hormonal pregnant woman, the only person who is allowed to tell me how big I am is Little Pip. a) Because he's so small anyway my growth must seem exponential to him, and b) because I find his take on the whole pregnancy quite endearing. Take this morning's comment; “Mummy, your boobies are getting too big to fit in this house.” (As a normally very flat chested woman, how could I not take that as a compliment?)
Telling a pregnant woman how big she is is not helpful. At. All. Especially when it comes from random members of the public. And the irony of it all is, if there’s one thing that makes me feel like reaching for a doughnut - it’s people telling me how big I am.
At least my husband thinks I’m beautifully buxom. Either that or he should become an actor...