Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Are You Expecting?"

Even if you've come to some kind of peace about the fact that you look like you're four months pregnant (with your fourth child) when you're not, it sure doesn't take much to remind you that, if given a choice, you'd rather not appear that way.  I'm speaking from personal experience, of course.

Sometimes what snaps me out of my "some kind of peace" is seeing a brand new mom toting her three week old infant around looking as if she's never been pregnant.  Sometimes it's checking out my profile in the bathroom mirror.  Sometimes, someone actually asks me if I'm expecting-you know, they ask it very sheepishly as if they know there is a chance that you're not.  Just a little piece of advice- if there is even a hint of doubt in your being, please don't ask.

But, sometimes, just sometimes, this happens... and instead of feeling sorry for myself, all I can do is shake my head in disbelief...

It was the weekend of Jamey's graduation and we decided it would be fun to order make-your-own bagel sandwich trays from our local bagel shop for lunch for everyone.  I told them I would pick everything up between noon and 1pm.  I arrived there at 1pm only to discover that they hadn't even begun putting my order together.  I stood there trying hard to be patient while I envisioned eight adults and nine children back at my house- all waiting for lunch.  Of course the bagel shop employees were very apologetic and nice about it all.  I wasn't upset with them as much as I was about having to stand there while I wanted to feed our company at home.

Finally, finally my trays were ready and I shuttled them out to the car.  With everything loaded I was about to start the engine when a man came up to my driver's side window.  My window was already rolled down about an inch, but this stranger said, "Roll down your window".  Um....what?  I rolled the window down another half inch and locked the door.  And, get this...he asks me, "Are you expecting?"

I stare at him, my fight or flight instinct turning to incredulous-ness. "No," I say.  Then, this man, who was probably slightly younger than me wearing shorts and a t-shirt and holding a cup of coffee, starts bumbling around saying, "Oh, I'm so sorry.  I hate when this happens.  Sometimes it's just so hard to tell.  The reason I asked (now get this!) is that I like giving money to pregnant women."  And he was saying this all as if he felt sorry for me.

At this point my eyes had to have been as big as saucers.  I couldn't believe that instead of finally getting this food home, I was sitting here having this discussion.  I really couldn't tell if this guy was sincere or not, so to humor him (and maybe even in an attempt to make this whole conversation seem more normal and not the weirdest one I've ever had) I told him, "I've had children and I know what I have and I'm okay with it."  He then says, "Really?" and looks surprised.  He continues, "That's good.  I have some weight I could lose, too" and he grabs his gut and shakes it.  Seriously?!

It was at this point that I finally came completely to my senses and told him I had to go and drove away.  I didn't even tell Jamey about it until that evening when most of our company had left.  I think I was repressing the whole odd experience.

But what I've come to believe (because anything else kind of scares me) is that this guy doesn't have much experience talking with women (I'm very perceptive- can you tell?) and that seeing those trays of meat I was carrying sent him into a delirium that caused nonsense to spill out of his mouth.


As much as interactions like this and trying to find clothes that fit and look flattering can be a pain in the rear, I have this belly because I grew three children in there.  God gave me this body and it's gotten me through some pretty incredible things in my life.  Twinges of wishing it were different sometimes won't completely go away,  I imagine, but the trick, for me, is not to let myself wallow.  When those thoughts find their way to the surface, they need to be called out for what they are- pointless, destructive and ungrateful.

We need to take care of our bodies, not loathe them.  They have to carry us around for a good long while yet (Lord willing).
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  1. Oh. My. Word! Well, I'm sitting here laughing so hard that my own 'looks like I'm 4 months along but I'm not really pregant' belly is shaking. I've heard some doozies of stories about people sticking their foot in their mouth, but this one takes the cake! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Ummm HELLO... the guy was a total creeper.

    I'm so glad you didn't "roll down your window" any further.


  3. Love that you shared this. I got asked at church in the narthex after a service when everyone was spilling out of church if I was pregnant. Um, no, just 20 lbs overweight was my response. I agree with you in that my belly was used for my two blessings and if it's a little squishy, so be it. God loves me, my kids love me and my husband loves me-and my squishy belly. And men, don't ask us unless your wife has told you for sure that we are pregnant.....just a heads up!

  4. My dear, this guy who accosted you was more than weird. He likes "to give money to pregnant women??!!" Oh come on, I could think of a better line than that! Methinks he has some serious issues and I'm glad the encounter turned out as "harmless" as it did. Unfortunately, his fetish hit on a sensitive point for you (and tell me how many women - regardless of age - aren't sensitive about their belly area?). You are a beautiful woman inside and even though I've never seen a full-length picture of you, I have a feeling your are physically beautiful, too. Try to put that poor, demented guy out of your mind. Ish.

  5. Oh my, can I related to that....the same thing happened to me last weekend, while I was (get this) attending a baby shower. A women I had never met before ran up to me and said "Oh my goodness, I didn't realized some one else here would be pregnant too!" I stared at her confused, looked around me and said "Really? Who else is pregnant?" When I got that glazed look I realized she had meant me. "Aren't you?" She asked. That's what always gets me. As if perhaps maybe I've forgotten that I'm pregnant, and they can't possibly be wrong. And here I've only had ONE baby! (Three years ago...cough cough.)

    My usual response? "No, not pregnant....this is just a food baby." At least that way I can laugh it off.

    And yes, I agree. We do need to take care of our bodies and have more respect for them. :)

  6. Good. Grief.

    Ya know, I think there's a serious chance that this guy was hitting on you. He's just really, really bad at it! There are a lot of jerks who have fetishes involving pregnant women. I think more than anything, you were his fantasy and he was disappointed that you weren't pregnant. Sorry to be so icky, but there are some disgusting people in this world, and I think was one of them.

    Around Christmas, I was at the grocery store, and the checker, a guy, for some reason wished me and (looking at my stomach) "your little one" a happy Christmas.

    As you, I was not pregnant. I am just fat. Always have been. But I am also 60 years old and look it, have gray air and wrinkles. The guy was just an idiot. I reported him to the store, and never get in his line any more.

    Worst one? Maybe 20 years ago, I was shopping at Costco for a big party I was catering, and one of the employees came up to my cart and started removing the ingredients for the dessert bar. She told me that I needed to make better choices! Can you imagine the nerve? Again, I reported her...but this time the manager fired her on the spot.

    Don't even think about blaming yourself. And don't entertain negative thoughts! You are God's masterpiece. He did not create all of us the same, even though people who offer diet programs and run gyms want us to think we have to meet some universal norm! You are loved, and deeply, exactly as you are.

  7. Well written! (And so mind-blowingly odd.)

  8. I had that happen once when I was younger- I had practically starved myself on this diet before we flew down to KY. to meet my husbands family- I thought I looked pretty good but he had this-----mouth aunt that says to me " are you pregnant again dear" I have been called fertile myrtle, but this just took the cake the nerve . lol--"-LA LA LA AND LIFE GOES ON"

  9. What an odd encounter. Who randomly gives pregnant women money? Isn't that kinda' like telling children not to take candy from strangers? I am glad you were able to drive off.

    I once heard a group of women talking about their stretch marks after having children as "marks of honor." Without the stretch marks they wouldn't have their precious children. And if that is what it took to have their babies then so be it. I like that view. I do what I can to stay fit and healthy...but, lets face it. After children some things will never be the same...and if that is the price for my sweet children then I'll gladly pay it!

    I sense that you would agree!

  10. W-O-W. Um...WOW.

    And...can I be bold (and possibly share TMI) and just say...if our husband's are happy with it, who cares what anyone else thinks?!!

    Curves are beautiful...YOU are

  11. Thank you- I am glad it's not just me! Contentment with my body is hard and the world seems set on making it worse. With millions of dollars spent every year on diet nonsense it isn't a wonder. Your wise heartfelt discernment is sure to be a help to me, and hopefully many more.

  12. What a strange person. I tell the men in my life not to guess at that ever, ever, ever.

    My children however, seem to think that it is a compliment to tell someone that they look pregnant. They tell me often. Wishful thinking, I guess.

  13. Wow! I've been asked that a few times myself (both before we were ever even close to pregnant, and after I'd had my daughter), but never had an experience quite like that! :S The worst time for me was when we were trying to conceive (a long and at times heartbreaking journey), and a woman actually came up to me after church and asked *while* patting my belly. I made it to the car before I started crying.

    Thanks for writing this- I needed it. :) I always do my best not to take it personally when someone asks, but it can be hard- and I *never* *ever* ask anyone myself, unless I've already heard it's true!

  14. Thanks for this post. Just this past week I was struggling with my own curves. Then, I stopped and realized that those curves resulted from bringing two beautiful children into the world. It took some serious internal conversations with myself to realize that there's nothing wrong with my body. So, I choose to embrace it! I packed up the shorts that are a little too snug and the dress that's a little too short and replaced them with beautiful clothes that fit my body now. Your post resonated with me and I wanted to thank you for it.

  15. That guy was just a weirdo, but I always wonder why anyone would DARE ask anyone else if they were pregnant. There was a friend at school that I heard was pregnant from about 6 people, my daughter insisted her daughter told her, she looked pregnant, and STILL I could never ever say a thing until she brought it up. It is way too dangerous territory!

  16. doesn't anyone have MANNERS anymore!!!? honestly. It is my policy not to ask unless someone is like in their 8th month because really, women do have bellies sometimes. I do! and like you, I can remind myself of what it took to earn my poochy belly and I'm OK with it. I have a very good self esteem and it's not dependent on my body!

  17. That is crazy talk. I'm 9 months pregnant (first time baby) and dreading this summer and bathing suit season. There's no way I won't look preggo for a while after. I'll have to prepare myself for questions!

  18. Oh my. That man needs some therapy I think. Normally I think of other woman asking this, or just whispering about it behind your back...and not in a mean gossipy manner, but in the way we all just love a pregnant lady. And babies. Wishful speculation usually.

    I seriously do look pregnant these days and refuse to wear dresses for fear people will assume I am with child. :) Thanks for sharing your story, so many of us are in the same boat.

  19. I just had a woman ask me that for the second time in a yr (and I've lost 10 or more lbs. since the first time)! Unbelievable! If I'd ever asked a person if they were expecting, and they said no, I would have remembered that. Seriously...
    I have the same trouble as you. Very short waist and very stretched belly. Four pregnancies that did the stretching, one of them a 10 lb. 4 oz. baby. I stuck out so far everyone asked if I was having twins.
    Sometime it's laughable, sometimes I could cry, most of the time I don't even think about it, ALL the time I'm very thankful for the four little blessings that gave me this mommy belly. :)

  20. wow. this post is like the joke that keeps on delivering. it just kept getting better. thanks for that :)

  21. This is funny but probably because I have experienced some dozy of comments myself. I normally have 4 stair step children tagging along so when I am asked if I am pregnant it is always with some other comments. I have come up with some funny light hearted come-backs but I have to say I would have been stumped with this money dude.

  22. I am by no means thin. I need to lose 25 lbs. I think its an excuse to say our fat should be a badge of honor! Fat is gross. Sorry, but a person should care about their appearance. Anyone that has lost weight, knows they FEEL better about themselves.I know, I know.........say what you want, but being overweight is a major factor in how we feel about ourselves. I struggle , after four children with an extra 25lbs that I fight come Spring every year! BUT..I want my children proud of there mom! I work hard to make them proud in many ways. Weight and health are one part of the picture. Dont fool yourself into thinking fat is ok, because its not.

  23. I just so happened to stumble upon your blog and I'm glad I did. God used it to bless my heart. Thank you. You see, I am 9 weeks pregnant with my 6th child, 10th pregnancy. I looked in the mirror today and thought, 'Oh wow, I look like I'm 5-6 months prengant.' I have been moping inside ALL day long. I don't want to look this pregnant when I'm not. My youngest is almost 10 months and I hadn't lost all of my weight after having her and I wasn't thin when I got pregnant with her. Then I've already gained 3 lbs since the only things I can tolerate are high carb. *sigh* I exercised like a mad woman with my last, causing me to go into preterm labor. If only our view of our bodies didn't matter to us. I was a professional singer and was raised to care WAY too much about what I look like. I'm in prayer and I was thankful for your post. xoxo Kristy

  24. Thank you for sharing this. I, too, look perpetually pregnant. With my 4 pregnancies, I had people thinking I was due any day now from about 4 months on. I also have a bad habit of looking in the mirror and feeling less-than, especially when I'm trying to shop for clothes. With 3 daughters, I really need to get over it and start loving the skin I'm in so I don't warp their perceptions of womanhood. But some days are a little tougher than others. Like when someone asks me "When are you due?". Anyway, thanks for the reminder not to get so caught up in the small stuff.

  25. Oh my gosh, I can't believe people, especially the Costco employee. I can't imagine anyone doing that unless she was on medication or seriously impaired. Many years ago, we were at a friend's cabin and they were people there that we hadn't met previously. A couple arrived late, as the woman sat down, another guest asked her when she was due. The sudden silence was deafening when she said. "I'm not pregnant". I learned my lesson then to NEVER ask about anyone's suspected pregnancy. Actually, I don't think anyone should be concerned about another person's body fat unless they are a doctor. What is wrong with people these days? So many people ready to tell others how to live. My father in law was obsessive about what other people weighed. He had OCD about a LOT of things. But what people like him fail to understand is that the overweight person REALIZES what they weigh, more than likely would prefer to be "perfectly slim" but due to a lot of reasons (some fixable and some not) can't seem to get there. And having someone mention it is often like a stab in the gut.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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