The S-Mum, Maria, discusses bump-shaming, and the impact these comments can have on mammies-to-be.
Yes. I’m saying it.
Stop body-shaming bumps.
Body Shaming happens to all women, of all ages, of all shapes and sizes, all the time…EVEN, believe it or not, during Pregnancy.
You know that time when you are eating for two and are supposed to GLOW like a Christmas Tree and your body is a temple of growth and nurture, for all to admire and be in awe of?
When you’re also a hormonal wreck, paranoid, vulnerable and particularly susceptible to tears?
When you’re growing a PERSON inside of you; sometimes more than one, and you are officially exempt from giving a continental crap about your shape for the next year and more?
Yes. Even then.
Body shaming the Bump DOES happen.
It’s not usually intentional, but it happens.
I have a confession to make.
During my last pregnancy… (and I mean last in both senses of that word!)…I did something mean.
I got so fecking SICK of people freaking out when they saw the size of my bump, that one day I decided to have a little fun with it.
I was HUMONGOUS. (And no, I am NOT exaggerating. Ask ANY of my family or friends and they will smile a dim smile and nod in agreement.) And just to prove how big my perfect bump was, the photograph below was taken when I was 36 weeks. And I wasn’t quite as big as I would be at 39!
With Mini-Me, I showed at 10 weeks.
With Princess, I got to 7 weeks before I got fed up trying to hide my bump.
So you can imagine how big I was by 30 weeks. I looked bigger than most expectant Mammas look at full term. I remember walking into a shop one day at 31 weeks and the look of panic on the shop assistant’s face when she clocked the BUMP was hilarious. She approached me and flew through the usual chitchat to get straight to her point.
“When are you due love?”
I couldn’t help myself my Pretties. It was out before I even thought about it.
“Ten days ago”, I answered, shaking my head and rubbing my big belly, “I’m hoping a walk around the shops will help get me started.” (added puffs for effect…pause as if wincing in pain…)
“Here let me help you!” I swear to God, she ran around that shop filling my wee basket so quickly, I really couldn’t keep up with her.
“All the best now Lovey, I hope all goes well!” she cooed after me as I left. I’m pretty sure she needed a strong drink after that. and yes, I shouldn’t have lied, but I was fed up.
For almost 10 months, you become the property of the world. (and yes, it is 10 months…9 my arse.)
EVERYONE has an opinion
“You’re so HUGE!” (Really? I hadn’t noticed. Is that why my pelvis is dragging on the ground when I walk?)
“I was never as big as you!” (Bugger off.)
“Aw poor Maria. You must be scundered…” (No Deary. I’m just pregnant.)
“Well Tracy SAID you were huge but I didn’t think you were THIS HUGE!” (Yup. For this one, I had to kick my sister under the table to stop her from DESTROYING the unintentionally offensive woman.)
“Is it heavy?” (In fairness, this question was from a lovely friend who has bever been pregnant so it was a genuine question and I gave her a genuine answer… “Yes. I feel like I’m carrying an articulated fecking LORRY on my ladybits.”)
“I suppose you can barely move with that bump?” (No. I’m just back from Irish Dancing. I’m high kicking Higher than ever before!)
“Aaaaaaah you’re not THAT big!” OK, OK. Who am I kidding? I NEVER heard this one!
“You must be nearly due?” (No I’m only 28/30/32/34 weeks…cue shock/horror/sympathy/panic on their face.
And these are only the few I remember.
And so maybe now, you understand why I played the trick.
Do I feel guilty? No, but I felt really fricken frustrated a few weeks later when I didn’t have the balls to go in with my even BIGGER Bump and I really wanted a certain cheese the lady stocked.
But seriously, Stop it. We all need to stop it. (And of course I include myself in this. We ALL do it don’t we?)
In fairness, we don’t even realise we’re doing it.
The things we say to a pregnant lady are usually not intending ANY offence AT ALL. Of course not.
But if you’re going to say anything, try not to comment on the bump.
Tell her she looks glowing, even if you think she looks knackered.
Tell her she’s gorgeous, even if she looks like the articulated lorry she feels like she’s carrying.
Tell her it suits her. She might just need to hear that, but don’t comment on the size of the bump, regardless whether it’s big or small.
The Mammy who hears “You’re so neat”, might have spent the whole night up counting baby’s kicks, or panicking that her bump is too small compared to others.
The Mammy who hears “You’re huge!” doesn’t need to be reminded. Trust me, she already knows. She remembered once she opened her eyes this morning and tried, like an upturned turtle, to get out of the bed to pee.
So keep it positive and keep it off the bump.
And yes I know that many people don’t mind and maybe even enjoy the attention the bump brings, but unless you’re telling them their bump is gorgeous, just Ssssssh!
If you have a bump right now, regardless of what size it is, just know that you’re beautiful and your bump is perfect. That is all you need to hear.