When I fell pregnant, I started to notice little comments here and there. Not a lot, just the occasional offer of advice that I hadn't even thought about given I was only a few months in.
Now I am seven months pregnant, it's a very different story. The comments I receive are not the friendly offers of advice I had in the beginning. I still have a neat bump and the rest of my body, apart from my breasts, has stayed the same. But even if it were to change, I trust my body to do what it has to for my baby, and quite frankly, I don't care - as long as my baby is alive and well.
What I've noticed throughout my pregnancy is that it's been predominantly women who have made backhanded, thoughtless and hurtful comments. It's left me wondering why other women feel the need to say negative things to someone who's going through something so beautiful and special?
The You're SO BIG Comment
The first person to say this was actually a friend. I was just over four months pregnant, with a hint of a bump. They walked up to me and shouted very loudly, "You're ENORMOUS!" I paused and looked down at my little protruding tummy. Really? I thought to myself. But more than that, I noticed how it made me feel. I felt big, even though I knew I was small.
The second time, a family member told me I was "getting big" after looking at me in a baggy jumper. Again, I studied myself in the mirror, feeling larger than I was.
The third time an ex-boyfriend's sister came bounding up to me with her arms stretched out shouting: "Who ate all the pies!" followed by a grope of my tummy and a laugh. She then asked if I minded her touching my stomach as 'some people do' but she guessed 'I wouldn't be one of them.' To be honest, I didn't know if I did or didn't mind because she didn't give me the chance to consider it. It turns out, I did.
The fourth time a nurse walked up to me and said: "Wow, you're so big, you've got a while to go yet - are you sure you've not got twins in there?" I looked down at my bump that I felt so proud of and back towards her. I literally had no words. It's not that I mind having a bump - in fact, I love it. The bigger it gets the more I know my baby is growing and still alive - something I cherish after losing two babies. But, it's not something that would ever come out of my mouth. I'd be telling a woman how amazing she looks. Size wouldn't come into it.
The Your Husband Must Love Your Bigger Boobs Comment
I've heard this one a few times. Let me start by saying I've never had massive boobs, nor have I ever wanted them. Not that there is anything wrong with massive boobs. It's just that I am happy with what I've got, and so is my husband. However, as my pregnancy has taken shape, so have my breasts.
Newsflash - they've grown.
I've been surprised by the number of friends comments on this. Namely, "your husband must love it!" and "what does your husband think?" This comment is probably one of the most offensive. Do they not realise what they are implying? That my husband would prefer bigger breasts? That my breasts were not good enough before? They assume his preference is bigger breasts, when in actual fact my husband hasn't treated them, or me, any differently.
He loved my boobs then and he loves my boobs now, do you know why? Because his preference is me - just the way I am.
I realised the problem was with them. They were ignorant to it. They had no idea what they were implying. I wondered how they'd feel if I said their husband would prefer them with a fuller bottom, longer legs, or slimmer. I would never think that, or say it, but I know the response I'd get if I did.
They'd never talk to me again.
The Horror Stories Comment
For some reason, many people feel the need to share their horror stories - from vagina-ripping births to 72-hour labours. I don't have a problem with people sharing their experiences, I find it fascinating, but when they assume that's how it will be for me, it really gets my goat.
Newsflash - I don't mind if it hurts. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. I want to feel it. I lost two babies before we were gifted with this one so I can't wait to feel everything that comes with it. If that's a 72-hour gut-wrenching labour, then so be it.
The Prediction Comment
The one I hear the most. People trying to predict the sex of my baby after I tell them we don't want to know.
I realise this is a normal thing to do, and I wouldn't mind if they just said: "I think you're having a girl/boy" and left it at that. But there is such a thing as crossing boundaries, and I believe trying to guess on the shape of a bump if you've clearly stated you don't want to know - is one of them.
On a daily basis, I get people (friends, family, and strangers) asking me if we know what we're having. I reply with, 'we don't want to know because we want the surprise on the day' hoping they will get the hint. This is usually followed by shocked disbelief, a glance down at my tummy, a pause, a head tilt, and then a prediction based on the shape and position of my bump.
What this does is take something away from an expectant mother. Whether the myth is true or false - they don't want to know. They want the surprise. It's their right, their choice, and the one they made with their other half about their baby.
When you do this it puts a particular sex in their head.
My cousin was told she was having a boy with all four of her pregnancies because she was carrying neat and low.
She had four girls.
I have since asked my midwife if there is any truth in this theory. She has told me no one can predict the sex of your baby apart from the sonographer (who can also get it wrong). She said the shape and position of your bump is down to the fact if it's your first baby, your body shape and the position of the baby itself.
So, here's a word of advice for all mummys-to-be:
Smile to yourself knowing you look beautiful, and just concentrate on you, your partner, and the precious baby you've both created that's growing perfectly inside your perfect bump, no matter how big or small - because nothing else matters.