did you know your pregnancy comments are a body conversation?

i’ve had a lot of time to sit on some thoughts and feelings about this subject for a couple of months now… since right about the time i started getting a belly.

so, late pregnancy starts to really show you how many conversational freaks there are out there in the world. people start saying, and sometimes shouting from the other side of the street, odd comments about your growing frame. for some reason these statements have put me more on my guard than my first pregnancy. i think a good deal about the way i feel women’s bodies are treated and discussed has changed within me since my pregnancy with darla. i have a few thoughts to put out there for you to ponder, should you choose:

i think there is some kind of drive within people that makes them want to connect with pregnant mothers. we all want to connect with life. i wholeheartedly believe this drive stems from a good place, a human place, but society at large seems to be lacking in some tools for communicating with women about this life change, probably due to the aforementioned undercurrent of negativity we have going on towards women’s bodies.

the majority of comments i get from people, strangers and not, are negative. these comments are about my size, how tired i look, “you’re about to pop” or “are you sure there aren’t two in there?” and other things of various negative connotations. i think i can tell you with 100% certainty that no woman, pregnant or not, has ever been happy to hear she looks big or tired or about to pop.

and let me state two other things i know as a fact: 1. in the scheme of pregnant ladies, i’m on the smaller end. yes, i look big for my frame but i know i’m not big enough for people to assume i’m carrying twins. 2. i’m a happy pregnant lady. i am embracing this bigness. I LIKE my roundness and LOVE this body fullness. i’m clearly not shy about it since i put in on the gawddamned internet every week, so i’m imagining that if it’s hard for me to let these comments roll off then how does the mother who really doesn’t like how her body is changing in pregnancy or the extremely shy mother feel about these unwarranted remarks?

i feel most people forget that these comments are still body conversations and those should never be initiated by a person other than the body owner.

i find it so odd that people think pregnancy is an automatic open door to make negative remarks about another human’s physique. i mean, i’ve never thought of walking up to a person in a wheel chair and saying “wow, really can’t use those legs, can you?” or a person with a large nose and saying “you’re nose is SO BIG. you must be so uncomfortable!”  and then i’d absolve myself of any wrong by adding a quick “it’s not rude of me to say that, right?”

i want to offer up some tools. i talk with pregnant women, a lot. A LOT. and i am a pregnant woman. i will tell you one thing that is always acceptable to say:  you look beautiful. let’s just stick with telling pregnant women they look beautiful. ok?

and maybe you don’t feel that way. maybe you don’t feel pregnant ladies are all glowy and radiant. that is fine! you don’t have to say anything at all. you don’t! we aren’t expecting it!

or here’s another idea if you’re wanting to initiate a pregnancy related conversation with an expectant mother: ask her how she’s feeling. it’s so refreshing when i receive that depth of communication from another human. you can just ask a woman how she’s feeling and let her tell you where she’s at with her body changes. we’re circling back to that body ownership thing again. let HER be the one to tell you she’s tired. let HER be the one to tell you she’s big. Let HER be the one to tell you she fears there may be another secret human in there. i think if we treated women with this kind of respect we’d all feel much more at ease with how organic these conversations can be.

maybe i’m a little sensitive to this because this experience seems parallel to other body conversations i’ve had to fend off for the better part of my life. part of the reason that i like my big belly is that something on my body finally dwarfs my enormous breasts that people seem to think are in the free realm of conversation. since i was 15 people have been making comments to me about my boobs. i’ve navigated that in many different ways at different phases of my life and now i’ve put a finger on this similarity between pregnancy and my breasts. strangers comment, women ask for permission to touch them in bathrooms, gay men don’t even ask for permission they just do it {sorry, just my personal experience} and i’ve had all variations from hetero men as well.

and i can’t rationalize that as much as the pregnancy talks. i know the common thread here is that women’s bodies seem to be part of the public sphere and not the private. and i can’t change that. but i feel that if our bodies are going to be part of the public conversation forum then i can do a small something to change it into POSITIVE communication instead of negative.

i will tell my pregnant friends they are beautiful. i will ask pregnant strangers how they are feeling. i will let other women tell me how THEY feel about THEIR bodies and i will listen with respect.

because that is what i feel mothers and women deserve.

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bad friend

i’ve come to the realization that i am a bad friend.

throughout my life i consider myself to have been blessed with many, many close friendships. i find it very easy to become intimate with people. i find it easy to love others immediately. but i look at my close personal relationships at the moment and i have to say they are few. i think of some of the really strong, loving friendships i had that existed not so long ago and am just really bummed to think about how long it has been since i’ve seen or spoken to that person. i feel really lonely so much of the time now. i can check off probably a hundred close friendships that now have distance in between the other person and i.

and the common thread in there is me. i am the one that creates this distance.

sometimes i laugh, actually laugh, at the fact that i was a communication and culture major. i am so horrible at communicating! i can not be counted on to communicate or be in touch with any frequency whatsoever. i do not know why. in this day and age when it’s easier now than ever to send someone a line of communication i am more horrible than ever about initiating a conversation.

i’ve also felt, for many years of my life that i am somehow always on the outside even in my close friendships. it feels that no one has ever needed my friendship the way they need the friendship of others. i see people who can’t go a day without talking with one another and i don’t remember being that for anyone. well, this also touches on another subject which is that i have the memory of someone twice my age so maybe i did and i just don’t remember but i just have had this decades long feeling of no one ever needing me. i’ve always fit in well at large group settings but i feel that i’m not often called on for a hangout just one on one. maybe something about my personality is easier to swallow in a group. i get it. i’m a little much for just one person to handle.

so, i’m in a place in my life now of looking and taking responsibility for that. i think i’ve really come to determine that i create distance and space between myself and other people and i don’t know why. i do have lots of friendships in my current life but somehow, someway i’ve not really let myself cross the threshold to making these relationships similar to the close-knit ones i had in my life pre-darla.  i’ll be asking the universe for help on this.

now we come to the part of this post where i address the reason i am writing this. YOU are probably {maybe?} one of the people i used to be close with and have now not heard from me in a long time. i am sorry. i truly am. i’ve received so much love and support from so many people over the years and my communication and reciprocation levels do not reflect that at all.  you might hear from me soon, out of the blue, and maybe not for an extended length of time {bc another practical factor here is i have a twirling spitfire that requests my undivided attention as she showcases leaping from one piece of furniture to the next} but i’ll be there to say hello and to let you know how much your friendship means to me.