I am not pregnant.
Just in case you were wondering.
I thought I would let you know because I am asked… often.
Modestly: once a week.
Let me repeat: I am not pregnant.
I know I am a married woman, of a childbearing age, but I do not feel these facts should give people carte blanche to look me up and down and ask me intimate questions about my reproductive health.
In my opinion, there is never a good time to ask a woman if she’s pregnant.
I do not care if the woman looks 10 months pregnant, and is waddling so hard it looks like she is crowning, I will NOT ask about her ripe pregnant belly until SHE mentions she is currently “with child.”
Until that time, I will carry on talking about the weather, and the latest episode of Broadchurch.
I have had a few stand-out instances when I was asked if I was pregnant.
Incident #1: I was registering children in for a church event. I was standing next to my very petite, very pregnant friend. She’s one of those gals who is “all baby” and looks like she’s got a basketball shoved up her shirt with every pregnancy. She looked adorable (and pregnant—not that I would have said anything to her if I was a stranger). I remember I was feeling particularly cute because I was wearing this flowy bohemian shirt. Flowy… not, basketball under my shirt. A father approaches our table; he looks my friend up and down, he looks me up and down, and then looks at ME and says, “How far long are you?”
I went home, burned my shirt, and cried.
Incident #2: I was dismissing my students from class on the last day before summer break. One of the mom’s came over to bid me farewell. As we stood chatting, she stopped mid-sentence, looked me up and down, zoned in on my stomach and said (in a whispered voice): “You’re not pregnant, are you?”
If you have to whisper it, you shouldn’t say it…
In my experience, when my friends are pregnant they are usually pretty excited to tell people about it. In fact, in many cases, it’s hard to get them to shut up about it. Which is wonderful, and should be expected.
However, if one of my friends does not immediately announce their pregnancy I am assuming there is a reason.
Jokes aside, pregnancy can be a really touchy subject.
Some people struggle for years to get pregnant.
Some people get pregnant but have suffered several miscarriages.
Some people (believe it or not) do not actually want kids.
I do want to have kids eventually. When I get asked if I am pregnant I take offence not because I do not want kids or because I have struggled with infertility but because it feels like I am being subtly told, “You look fat in that outfit.” In reality, I could have worse things said to me but I can not help but think about my friends who are actually struggling in this area.
So, in an effort to change the world, here is an exhaustive list to help you know when is a good time to ask a woman if she is pregnant:
She recently got married and should be pregnant by now. She has a glow. She is wearing flowy clothing. You are related and feel you have the right to know. She is starting to “show.” She is really “showing.” Her stomach is so huge she has to be pregnant. She is rubbing her belly in a nurturing fashion. You are so curious you can’t stand it anymore. Her water broke.(At this point I would encourage the person to seek medical attention for their incontinence, not letting on any suspicions)
- She is holding a baby in her arms… to which an appropriate response would be: “You were pregnant? I could not tell due to how thin you’ve looked over the past several months. Congratulations!”
Now go in peace.
5 thoughts on “Are you pregnant?”
I once had a co-worker congratulate me on my pregnancy in our staff newsletter!!! I was not pregnant, just a bit overweight (I carry it all in my mid-section). Not impressed doesn’t begin to describe it…
Awwww Sandy, that’s the worst!!! I’m sorry that happened to you. I seriously don’t get people sometimes… I don’t even know what I’d do!
Once I was standing in a huddled group of strangers, that passes for a line, waiting to board a plane. I had just left my family and was trying real hard not to cry or run back down the terminal to where I am sure my mother still was waiting just to make sure I had actually boarded. A woman walked up and whispered…’Oh my God! You can hardly tell’… to which I said…’Um I’m not pregnant. ‘ she stammered and tried to argue with me. I repeated that I was not…not…pregnant. WHAT? Are you sure? Yes! I’m sure, I said. She then turned around and ignored me like the whole thing was my fault. Some people are just a special sort of stupid. Special and stupid. Especially stupid.
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Awww Misi… im sorry that happened, especially when you’re already on the verge of an epic sprint through the airport. I am always surprised how people respond when they’re told someone isn’t pregnant… like persisting is going to make it true and less awkward. I feel like when I actually am pregnant I’m gonna really play with anyone who gives me any unsolicited thoughts. “No I’m not pregnant, I’m on a weird trial drug and this was it’s side effect.” “Oh this isn’t actually my baby; I’m carrying it for my boss…”
Great article Ash… You are my lovely sister
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