Monday, September 25, 2017

My Pregnancy Is Not An Invitation Into My Personal Life

It's amazing the things people say. It's even more amazing the things people say when you're visibly pregnant.

At 7 months pregnant:
  • "Wow, you must be due any day now - you're so big!"
  • The next day, "You're so tiny!"
  • A medical professional: "Your chart says you are measuring small." No one had ever told us Elizabeth was measuring small, and it turns out she wasn't. We were told baby was, "definitely not small."
  • A medical professional, the next day: "Your belly is so small!"
First of all, commenting a pregnant woman's size is incredibly rude. We're not saying it's rude to talk about these things with people you are very close with. It's natural to compare pregnancies and experiences with loved ones. It is not normal for acquaintances and people you are meeting for the first time to feel like they can comment on your body. 

About 32 weeks pregnant with Oberon, Everett, and Bitty. A lot depends on the style, angle, and where her hands are.

We're pretty sure this would be annoying even without our history. But being parents after loss, it's downright infuriating.

Comments about Elizabeth being big are stressful because she was bigger than average when pregnant with Oberon. She had extra amniotic fluid and Oberon was big for his gestational age. Neither of those things were good things.

Comments about Elizabeth being small are also stressful. Babies that aren't growing within the expected ranges can have medical reasons for that low growth. 

You would think that at least medical professionals, especially those that work with high risk patients, would keep these kinds of observations to themselves. Inevitably, they don't.

When people are meeting for the first time, there's this moment when the group is trying to find a topic. The weather comes up, travel stories, the usual. Enter, a pregnant person. All of a sudden, the pregnant person's personal life is latched onto as the obvious topic. This happens, a lot. 

Sometimes, Elizabeth is able to deflect gracefully before things get awkward. Sometimes, other people talk about their own families and she can simply smile and nod and then walk away. Other times, people are persistent. Peppering her with questions and ignoring the one word answers and closed-off body language. 

She knows she risks being perceived as rude, but it's just getting to be too much. She didn't bring up her personal life or her family, the only reason it's being discussed is because she's visibly pregnant. That visibility leads coworkers, flight attendants, receptionists, restaurant workers, baristas, and random strangers to launch into personal questions. Every single day. It's exhausting. 

A lot of the advice is to answer these people honestly - people shouldn't ask questions if they aren't ready for the answers. But answering honestly also puts Elizabeth in a difficult situation. Lie, or tell the truth and deal with the emotional avalanche that comes with it. Or don't say anything, look like a crazy person and still deal with the emotional avalanche.

Did we mention it's exhausting? Because it is.

Not everyone wants to talk about their personal lives. Especially not as "small talk." Not everyone has simple, happy stories. Some people might love talking about the complications and tragedies and differences in their personal lives. We promise, if that's the case, these people will bring it up on their own - you do not have to drag it out of them. 

In general, we could all be more respectful with personal questions. But for now, we'd settle for people not using a pregnant woman's body as an invitation.

Why write this? If you're reading this, we probably wouldn't mind talking to you about this pregnancy (we're kind of an open book). But that stranger in the office, airport, or coffee shop? Take a beat before you assume she wants to talk to you about her pregnancy, her body, or her family.

You made it to the end of a rant post! Thank you for listening, here are some pictures of Everett playing. We totally dig it when people ask us about Evie at the park! <3