I think of all the times I’ve commented on a pregnant lady’s bulging belly. Usually, with wide eyes, I’ll say something like (jokingly) ‘did you swallow a watermelon?’ Or ‘are you having a baby?’ Or ‘your tummy is so big!’ It’s not that I want to offend. It’s just that I find a round belly so amazing and lovely that I just burst out with some comment. I think most women are excessively proud of their pregnant bellies because they love their baby so much before it’s even born, so comments like mine don’t offend them so much as remind them about the changes in their bodies. First time mums are possibly, if they are like me, feeling a mixture of awe at the changes and wonder or concern as to what their body will be like once bubs is born.
This brings me to the comments I am receiving about my current pregnant belly. I don’t think I am that big – or maybe, if I go by the comments I receive (mostly at work, by the adults, not the students), I am enormous. I’ve been asked more than twenty times if I am sure it’s not twins. ‘Yes, I’m sure. There’s only one in there.’ ‘They can hide you know,’ people say helpfully, to which I laugh and shake my head. How about: ‘wow! You’ve exploded overnight!’ And ‘gee you’re getting really big now!’ And (my personal favourite) ‘my goodness that must be a big baby!’ Sometimes people I don’t even know will look at me with wide eyes and say ‘how long have you got?’ As if I might pop and a baby might fall out of my vagina then and there. ‘Three months,’ I reply, and they look a bit surprised. A couple of people have even commented on how big my breasts have become!
I think that, generally, people are pretty amazed by the pregnant tummy. The fact that a woman can carry a baby in her body is miraculous to say the least. At six months pregnant, the uterus is the size of a soccer ball. Depending on the woman’s shape, it might literally look like a soccer ball is stuffed up her shirt! When people comment on the belly, they are expressing awe at the fact that the baby grows so quickly that the woman grows bigger quickly too. I think that their surprise is indicated in their comments. The sight of a pregnant tummy also contours up all kinds of memories and emotions for people, I think, so they are expressed in their comments.
No matter how excited the woman is about her pregnancy and no matter how much she adores her unborn child, she is likely to be conscious of her growing and changing body. She might even be a bit concerned about the weight gain; she is likely to know that she shouldn’t eat chocolate, but those cravings are so strong at the end of the day… Ahem. She might have worked her arse off to lose 20kg after the birth of her previous child and she is now faced with the likelihood of having to lose that weight again. She is also likely to see her growing tummy in the mirror every morning and she is perfectly aware of how big and round – and beautiful – it is becoming.
The pregnant lady must also succumb to the stylish items that are known as maternity fashion (ahem). When I was pregnant with Georgia ten years ago, the style was more flowing and loose-fitting. The clothes didn’t reveal the pregnant belly in so much… Detail. These days the clothes are fitting and snug, showing off the roundness and beauty of the belly and I wonder if people are now getting such a good view of the gorgeous roundness that they feel compelled to comment.
Despite feeling a bit sensitive about how big I am becoming so quickly, I am enjoying my belly. Despite feeling tired and sick and hormonal, I am so happy that I’m pregnant again and we are so excited about our new baby. Our children sing and talk to the baby and kiss and cuddle my tummy. The baby is already such an important part of our family. I love feeling it move and wriggle and kick inside me and it’s hard to think about anything else when I am concentrating on my unborn child moving around. I spend a lot of time wondering what it will look like and be like and, for god’s sake, what we will call it! I love him/her so much it makes me teary. When people say something about how big my tummy is I just remind myself of these things. People don’t mean to be offensive and I’m not offended. But I’m definitely not having twins. And my baby is likely to be on the big size. I have big babies, at 3.5-4kg 3-2 weeks early! And that’s ok.
What have been your belly experiences? I’d love to know because I doubt I’m alone.
And I don’t reckon I’m enormous…
I have been told that with each subsequent pregnancy we look bigger sooner due the muscles in the area being relaxed.
Rather than comments on my size, I most often was given theories on the sex of our baby. After a false labour with Bethany, I contacted a colleague after a missed meeting to explain my absence. Despite seeing me every week, he did not know I was pregnant!
New life is a wonder for all of us and I think I’d prefer to have it noticed in sometimes awkward ways than my belly go unnoticed.
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