One of the many things I’ve found weird about pregnancy is how freely people will comment on your body. Like it’s no big deal. Here is a sampling of the observations I’ve received thus far:
- I’m carrying high.
- I’m carrying low.
- My feet are swelling.
- My face is “glowing.” (What the hell does that even mean?)
- I’m massive.
- I’m tiny.
- Am I actually pregnant?
I also have been on the receiving end of many a warm nod toward my bump from just about every old person I see. While on the bus/train, people will stare at my bump for a moment or two, then offer up their seat to me in a panic. Yes, panic. Like I might go into labor any minute if I don’t sit down.
It’s so odd to be so conspicuous.
The Feet Swelling comment came from none other than my co-worker Myna, aka the Queen of Oversharing and Inappropriate Behavior. She looked me up and down, landed on my feet and announced “You’re feet look really big. You’re swelling.” Followed by a 20 minute monologue about how her feet swelled 3 whole sizes by the end of her pregnancy. Sigh…
First of all, it was the end of the day after the first warm day of the year. Yes. My feet were swelling because they do that sometimes even if I’m not pregnant. But mostly I just thought “I’ve just been checked out by my coworker. And that’s creepy.”
Think about it for a minute. It’s totally weird that for a brief period of your life, everyone feels it’s okay to stare at your body, analyze, and offer up commentary about it. Of course, as women, our bodies are always subject to some inane form of public scrutiny, but I feel like there is something different at play here. I’ve been looked up and down before by skeevy boys on the street, but it was rarely followed by “Damn, girl…. you’re feet look really big.” I find this behavior appalling, even without the odd comment about my feet.
Can we start some movement about street harassment for pregnant women? As far as I’m concerned, it is never okay to make comments about other people’s bodies. I’m not sure why it is cool to do this just because I’m harboring a tiny life form. But as with most things in pregnancy, rules are rewritten and bizarre expectations are set.
Perhaps next time I should say “My feet look big? Well, your crow’s feet are coming in gloriously!”