I think there might be some rules in life:
If there are, this one is some where near the top of the list:
" Never ask a woman if she is pregnant - unless you can see part of a baby emerging from her body and you need to call an ambulance"
It's not okay. It's never going to be okay. Okay?
Don't even think it in your head. Your eyes will flit down to her stomach and back up to her face, and she will be waiting for you to flap your mouth off like an impulsive four year old, 'Come on, ask me you fucker, ask me if I'm knocked up, but I may have to knock you out!'
It happened to me this morning. I was walking along with my daughter, just about to drop her off at her dance class, and I thought; 'Some ones going to ask me if I'm pregnant today'.
This is because I had chosen a thin horizontal stripe vest, and a very fine knit red cardigan which I had been adjusting and re-adjusting to conceal my mummy tummy. I wasn't wearing any of those Bridget Jones knickers, although I own multiple pairs. I find them quite uncomfortable.
I had been planning on going to this rather dilapidated looking manicure place across the street whilst my daughter was in her class. By the way, I haven't used nail varnish for about a year, but seeing as my baby's now nearly six months old, I decided it was time to make some kind of effort to not only look better, but also practice some self care.
So I walk in and the lady calls her husband to come and do my nails. He starts with my toes. So he's filing my toes and I'm wincing a bit because it feels uncomfortable. But then I start to enjoy it. It feels quite nice. I even start to think what a great husband, helping his wife, able to do pedicures. He seems so sensitive. He's saying my colour looks really nice.
I'm actually starting to feel really good, and enjoy this moment of self care. I make a mental note to treat myself more often. And THEN...
The guy says, 'You got baby?'.
No he didn't? He didn't just say what I think he said when I was feeling relaxed and almost attractive for the first time in months? And no he didn't mean do I have children. He had been under the table doing my toes, and obviously 'You got baby?' meant 'have I got a baby in my bulging horizontally striped wearing mummy tummy?'.
I wanted to say yes. But I couldn't lie quick enough, so I said 'No.. but I've just had one'.
'How old?' he asks, trying to dig his way out the hole he's just dug.
So I said 'three months'. She's six months.
He laughed nervously, because he knew he fucked up. And then he's speaking a different language to his wife, and his wife is answering, and I can't understand but I'm sure she said 'ass hole'.
After that, I would have preferred to dive in to the plughole of the pedicure basin, along with the discarded toe nails and dead skin. But I had to wait for my nails to dry. So after five long cringe-worthy minutes, I got the courage to get up and walk out the shop, saying thank you with my mouth, and fuck you with my eyes.
Maybe I'm over-sensitive or too vain about my mum- tum, ugh, I hate the phrase even. You will never find me doing the whole standing proudly in my knickers taking selfies, proudly declaring allegiance to my body. Although, I like it when others have the courage to do it.
I don't love my mummy tummy. I am however proud of my body, it's strong and flexible. It's carried twins, another beautiful boy, and my sweet 9lb 2oz girl. What more could I ask it for? But my stomach is broken, and I'm not empowered by the broken parts of myself (although I have empathy and a small amount of hope for them). The muscles have been cut through three different times in three c sections, the skin is stretched and stretch marked, yoga inversions now create a rubber ring effect around my middle which is rather horrifying, and five and a half months past my last pregnancy now, I fear the bump is here to stay.
So getting back to life's little rules, for the four year olds amongst us:
If she is pregnant, and she wanted you to know...she would tell you.
If she doesn't tell you, it means shut the fuck up.
At least my toes look good though.
Anne Marshall, Mother of multiples and more, blogs at www.mumming-up.com