Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Please don't use the f-word around a pregnant woman!

Yesterday someone pointed out to me that I was starting to look "fat." Naturally, I gave the person some crap for the choice of words. After all, at 20 weeks of pregnancy, I've only gained about 7 pounds; if I were on a TV show, I could probably still pass for un-pregnant at many angles; I'm even still wearing a lot of my normal clothes!

If I were still teaching ESL, I can imagine that right about now I would be conducting a lesson on "things not to say to a woman who is 20 weeks pregnant." And the very first thing on that list would be "Don't tell her, 'Hey, you look fat!' " (Or, if you do tell her that, prepare for there to be consequences. )

Of course, it's not all that helpful to tell already-reticent students what not to say without also giving them some alternative language to use. I told my friend that I wouldn't mind being told that I look "pregnant" rather than "fat." (There IS a difference!) When people mention that they can see my "bump" or my "baby bump" I don't particularly mind. It probably wouldn't bother me if someone said, "Hey, it looks like the baby has had a growth spurt!" Or, "wow, you're showing more than before!"

I think a big part of why I've been glad that my weight gain has been relatively minor so far is that I really hate it when people think that other people's body weight should be a topic of conversation. I feel this way even about conversations about weight loss. In a different phase of my life, people have sometimes insisted that I've lost weight when I haven't--I've just followed the advice of the What Not to Wear folks and put on an outfit that wasn't outrageously unflattering. "
Them: You've lost SO MUCH weight!
Me: No, actually my weight has been exactly the same for the past three years. It's probably the clothes.
Them: No, you're wrong! You've lost weight!
Me: (tries to think of way to change topic)

I realize that I won't be having that sort of conversation again in the near future, and that the comments on my body are just starting. I should probably develop a thick skin towards these things, but I did want to put a warning out there to the world about certain unwelcome words.

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