Awkward. They Ask when you’re Due…but you’re Just FAT.
I’m not pregnant, but then most women aren’t.
My body is that of a woman who has lived and done things (admittedly most of which involve not going to the gym). Even as a teenager, with a tiny size eight waist and pert boobs that I hated for being too small but today would swap one of my children for, I never had a washboard stomach.
I’ve also always been on the short side, petite and small boned –not big at all, but not athletically toned by any stretch of the imagination. I may be curvy but I am also adequately proportioned. I’ve always had a soft roundness to my tummy, a feminine gentleness to my form which speaks in hushed tones of my Mediterranean heritage and my womanly wiles. After I had children those curves moved about daily, undulating like an incessant tide looking for a place to rest. Now, four years after giving birth to my second and last ever child, my lumps and bumps have settled and still make an okay silhouette. No one would ever call me fat. A size 12 is not fat. My waist still dips in and my bottom fills out my skinny jeans. Hell, I still get away with short denim shorts in the summer.
So why the hell did a complete stranger today ask me when my baby was due?
Listen up people, all of you, because it’s time to get this straight. You should never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Never. Nope, not even then. Never. Ever. Even if she is in Mamas & Papas resting a tiny babygrow on a mountain of a stomach clutching a grainy baby scan image in one hand and rubbing her growing mound with the other, you don’t say a word. Do you know her? No?
Then shut the fuck up!
By all means give her a smile. Believe me, if she is pregnant then she will take the smallest of opportunities to gush about her impending arrival, then you can tell her how glowing she looks and how fun it will be, and all that nonsense. But otherwise, don’t say a word.
See that woman who has a small bump but isn’t big anywhere else? She probably isn’t pregnant. She may just have a wobbly tummy, or may have given birth a few weeks previously, she may have just lost her baby or even worse is still carrying it around after discovering it will never get any bigger. For crying out loud she may have a stomach tumour and only two days left to live! Or most probably, as in my case, she is a greedy cow with bad posture who has eaten too much lately and is struggling with a lot of gas in her too-tight jeans.
Whatever the reason, for the love of God, just zip it!
Mr Awkward Moment Stranger from today may have meant well but he seriously ruined my day. There I was, happily wandering around the shopping centre, until I made the mistake of stretching and adjusting my jeans that were sliding down (yeah yeah, probably because they were slipping below my fat gut) before stepping on to the escalator.
A bearded gentleman was standing behind me.
‘How’s your back?’ he asked me.
Well I knew it wasn’t a chat up line, I’ve had a few weird ones but even that would have been too creative even for me. I panicked for a minute, was there something wrong with my back?
‘Errr fine thanks,’ I answered, looking straight ahead again.
He could have left it there, but oh no, he wanted to make sure that I knew that he had spotted my protruding belly.
‘I saw your back was aching you earlier.’ Was it? It wasn’t!
He then glanced down at my tummy. ‘So do you have long to go?’ he asked. His face was beaming, his kind eyes looking ridiculously happy for me. Then the penny dropped. Shit!
I imagined him as a proud grandfather, or perhaps he’d just discovered his only daughter was expecting twins and he was out in the world playing a pregnant version of Where’s Wally? Making sure he spotted every expectant mother and congratulating her at the first opportunity.
I smiled back, fighting back the tears of shame and the crimson patches climbing up my neck.
‘Oh not for a while,’ I mumbled. ‘Couple of months.’
Well, there was no need for two people to die of embarrassment on the John Lewis escalator!
I patted my stomach for good measure, smiled again and didn’t straighten up until he was out sight.
Time for a diet maybe? Are there Yoga and Pilates classes out there I need to sign up for?
Maybe. But for the moment, sod him, I’ll just keep this up until my ‘due date’ and go have another donut.