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What Not To Say To A Pregnant Woman

No, I'm not giving birth to a baby whale.

02/11/2017 1:44 PM AEDT | Updated 02/11/2017 2:02 PM AEDT
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"It's not okay to comment on anyone's body, especially a hormonal, flustered, pregnant woman."

"Wow, are you sure there aren't twins in there?"

"You're getting huge."

"What, you still have more months to go? Jesus, looks like you're gonna pop any minute."

"Your belly isn't the only thing that's filled out."

"You're looking a little small, is the baby okay?"

These are all comments pregnant women of the world are very familiar with. If you're a mother I'm sure you remember having these ill-considered remarks thrown at you during some stage of your pregnancy.

Have you ever wondered why it's socially acceptable to make comments on a pregnant woman's body but not a non-pregnant woman's? We live in a superficial society. However, we have seen a rise in body acceptance and there's been a push to stop body shaming in general. But what about pregnancy body shaming?

Pregnant ladies don't have a sign stuck to their heads saying 'Opinions Welcome'. Why is it okay to go up to a pregnant lady and tell her she's big and solid, but it isn't okay to walk up to another lady and comment on her size and appearance?

It seems that some people's manners, common sense and decency goes out the window when they see a pregnant woman.

Once you conceive a child some people around you now assume they have permission to point out parts of your hormonal, ever-changing body to you? It's an unwritten rule in society not to 'body shame' women yet, every day, pregnant women are being told 'they are too big' or 'too small'.

I had a chat to a handful of expecting mothers to see what remarks they received during their pregnancies, and even I was truly gobsmacked.

"What does your husband think of you putting on all this weight?"

"Hey, Fatty!"

"My goodness, is it a baby whale?"

"Thank God you've got thick legs to hold that big belly up!"

"Your belly is so small, your pregnancy would be so easy."

"Oh you're not having one of those glowing pregnancies by the look of it."

"Wow, babies really do ruin a woman's entire body."

"Are you sure you're pregnant? Your belly is the wrong shape."

"You look much older now you've gained weight, especially with that puffy face."

Cue the face palm.

It seems that some people's manners, common sense and decency goes out the window when they see a pregnant woman.

Pregnancy is a beautiful process. Not only is it life-changing but it also comes with the biggest physical changes most women will ever experience. Some women's bodies change forever after pregnancy and they can struggle to accept their post-baby bodies.

I found myself battling with this during my first pregnancy. I wasn't accustomed to being subject to so many comments picking apart my appearance. There were many times I would find myself in tears because not only was I personally struggling to accept all these changes I was also being constantly reminded of them from a bunch of strangers.

Now here I am writing this piece, pregnant with my second child, and I'm still baffled as to why this is an accepted norm, why pregnant women are just accepting this decree. Motherhood comes along with enough judgment, let's not start it soon as the eggs is fertilized.

I'm sure a few of you are thinking that women shouldn't let the comments get to them, and yes, many people make these comments as lighthearted chatter without bad intentions. However, put yourself in their shoes; they may have already had five other people make remarks on their size and, that morning, went to put on their comfiest tights to find they no longer fit. It's not okay to comment on anyone's body, especially a hormonal, flustered, pregnant woman.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and, this pregnancy, I've received very few negative comments. Maybe because this isn't my first time I now take them with a grain of salt. But what about all the other first-time mums out there copping these remarks at the local grocery store and then going back to their car and crying.

We don't know how they are finding their experience -- body image is one of the touchiest subjects and it surely doesn't change when you fall pregnant. These reactions don't make women ungrateful, it makes them human.

So next time you're talking to a woman that is expecting, why not talk about how exciting it is that she is having a child rather than about how she has her own gravitational pull.

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