I am a big proponent of being open and honest with our words. I am all for free speech and authenticity and sharing. There are, however, certain things that aren’t said for a reason. They aren’t said because the only possible outcome will be to hurt another person. It’s not a good reaction/bad reaction situation. It’s just going to hurt.
What I’m talking about is asking a woman if she’s pregnant.
I was at an event just a few weeks ago wearing an outfit I didn’t feel comfortable in. I wanted to look professional but hadn’t had time to change so I was worried about how my shirt was a little too short and my pants kept falling down a tad. I wasn’t relaxed. Another person, a person I had to be courteous and attentive to because it was my job to be, came up to me and asked me if I was having a baby.
I immediately felt shamed. My face turned red, I hunched over, I wanted to run away. “No,” I said quickly. I was turning my class ring, the one I always wear on my right hand, because I’d read a story about a woman who turns her ring three times before answering, as a way of thinking instead of reacting. The woman asked me if I was married. I said no again, still furiously turning my ring. She persisted, asking me if I was looking for a husband. At this point I wanted to punch her. Instead I said not really and turned my back, effectively closing off the conversation. What else could I do? I couldn’t pull her aside and tell her she was insulting me or tell her to shut up and leave me alone. She was a VIP for the event! All I could do was busy myself with something else and hope she left me alone.
I will probably never see that woman again. I will probably never have the chance to tell her she hurt me. All I can do is share the experience, write about it, and let it go. There are some things we never say because they are shaming and insulting. I’ve shared the one that affects me on a not infrequent basis because of the way I look.
Next time you see a woman with a belly, please remember that it might just be a food baby and keep your mouth shut.