Stop Telling Pregnant Women They Don’t Look Pregnant
Have you ever been really, terribly, uncomfortably full and had to keep eating anyway? It sounds pretty awful. But that is the position some women find themselves in while pregnant if they’re told to put on more weight and have trouble doing so comfortably.
Weight and pregnancy are a fraught topic. Some women put on what their doctors say is too much and are told to lose weight for the sake of their children. Others are told they’re not putting on enough, and that they need to stuff themselves long past the point of comfort to put on enough weight. Neither is a fun thing to hear when one is trying one’s best to give one’s fetus an ideal environment in which to develop. That’s why it can be rough for some women to hear things like, “You’re so skinny!” or “Six months?! You don’t even look pregnant!”
Our society prizes thinness, so it might seem like a compliment to tell a slim pregnant woman that she “doesn’t even look pregnant,” but that sort of comment can make a person feel pretty awful. Sure, the speaker probably means it as a good thing, but intent is not everything. Maybe instead of “Somehow you are still conventionally attractive while gravid!” the pregnant woman who is desperately struggling to gain weight hears, “You are failing at this. You should be worried about your baby. Drink up that ice cream even though it makes you feel sick! A better mother would be able to eat more cheese than you.”
And on top of all that, it’s rude to tell a woman she doesn’t even look pregnant. Because she does! She might be slim and not showing a whole ton, but she’s still pregnant, so what you’re looking at is just one of the many ways a pregnant woman can look.
From “You’re so big! It must be twins!” to “You’re so skinny you don’t even look pregnant,” just about any comment on a pregnant woman’ body is a potential minefield. So let’s all agree to just stop making them.