I did it. I said the worst thing anyone could have ever said to me after giving birth to a baby. Though I still like to believe my comment was excusable, it falls under the category of guilty when it comes to pregnancy and post-baby etiquette.
As a woman who has gone through two pregnancies, I can’t help but notice other women who are pregnant. They always look so great to me, and seem to be glowing beautifully. So, I have watched a mom at my kids preschool through her entire pregnancy. Three weeks ago, I ran into her at my OBGYN appointment, and we had a chance to talk. Each day I have seen her since, she has been counting down to her due date. I saw her on a Thursday, and she was hoping to go into labor at any moment. I saw her the following Tuesday out of the corner of my eye walking out of the preschool building, and I said to the mom I was talking to, “Wow! She is well past her due date!” She looked at me, and said, “Erin, she had her baby last Friday.”
In my defense, I didn’t look at her body before I said it. I had just assumed that since she was out and about that she still hadn’t had her baby! But, I did it, and I said it. Just like the woman who I saw at Babies “R” Us said to me days after I delivered my first baby. I was already beyond uncomfortable with how large my stomach had stretched, how I appeared, and how I felt. But, once that baby came out, it was my wish to just wash the excess weight right off. So, when the woman looked at me after having had pushed a baby out, and said, “Wow. When are you due? It must be any day now!” I almost died.
How do you even answer that without feeling horrible about yourself, and without making the woman feel even worse?
Pregnancy and post-baby bodies are a very touchy and sensitive experience. Hormones are raging, your body is expanding in ways you never thought were possible, and, physically, you are more exhausted than anything you could have ever imagined—at least, this is how it was for me for two pregnancies. So, when the amazing Anne Hathaway shared her recent gym encounter on the Ellen Show, I couldn’t help, but relate to her disgust, and feel so guilty for having something so stupid slip from my own mouth (though, still, I swear it was completely innocent!).
I couldn’t agree with her more. There is pregnancy and post-baby etiquette that we must follow. And, far too many people do not abide by these rules. In response to a man asking her if she was trying to lose her baby weight at the gym, Hathaway shared, “It doesn’t matter if it’s true. If somebody says, ‘I had a baby 13 years ago,’ you say, ‘You look great.’
I understand there are many pregnancy adages. At twelve weeks pregnant, I was asked if I knew the gender of the baby yet. After I responded that I didn’t know, she looked at me, and said, “You are having a girl!” I said, “Really? Why do you say that?” She said, “I can see it in your face.” At that point, even though I knew how awful my complexion was, how much acne was on my face, and how tired I looked, I was still expecting her next comment to be because of how beautiful I looked. But, she answered, “Because she has taken all of your beauty from you.”
Though, I struggle to feel it myself, and give myself credit, moms and moms-to-be are incredibly beautiful and strong women. I have the utmost respect for each and every one. No matter what, always try and remember that regardless what anyone says to you. Because, truthfully, many people don’t mean harm when they make offensive comments, they just don’t know what else to say.