Everyone's A Critic
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There comes a certain point in all of my pregnancies when I dread going out in public. I don't do pregnancy daintily, I happen to have a whole host of other children, and I'm only 28 (today, in fact!), which all translates into me looking like a hapless pregnant teenager just waiting for the world to set me straight.
If I've heard one rude pregnancy comment, I've heard them all. And over my past six years of apparent non-stop childbearing, I've picked up a few tips for surviving the public scrutiny of pregnancy.
1. Realize that they aren't judging you
I'll never forget the first rude comment I was privy to, a mere week after having my daughter. An elderly woman leaned in close to me at church, and while I was expecting her to coo over my beautiful baby, she instead scolded me for not knowing to dress her warmly enough. I was mortified and felt like from that moment on, every person in public was out to judge me and my mothering abilities. It took me a long time to realize that wasn't necessarily true; sometimes, people just want to comment on the amazing mystery that is pregnancy.
2. Just say no
Know what's rude? Assuming it's cool to reach out and rub a complete stranger's belly. Know what's not rude? Telling said stranger to back the heck off because baby or not, that's your belly.
3. Learn to laugh
This one is not easy when everyone and their brother is commenting on the breadth of your belly or asking you intimate questions about breastfeeding, but eventually, if you want to survive ever walking through the grocery store again, you have to learn to laugh off the comments. My favorite outlet is immediately posting any and all rude comments to my social media outlets, where I will quickly realize: it's not me, it's them.
4. Lie through your teeth
Allow me to explain. Say you're out in public, shopping innocently for some chocolate-covered raisins, when the clerk who's ringing you up eyes your stomach and asks the inevitable, "So, when are you due?" You may panic, knowing that once you tell her the answer, her eyes will boggle out of her head and she will wonder how on earth you still have four months to go.
This has often been a scenario with me and the last time it happened, I had an epiphany: I didn't owe this lady anything. I didn't need to explain my conception and due date to her. All I had to do was answer her question as easily and politely as possible. So I smiled sweetly and simply said, "Soon."
5. Turn the tables
One of the most common rude pregnancy comments I get is in regards to how many children I have (I'm pregnant with baby No. 4). The questions range from, "Were they all planned?" to "Do you know how to use birth control?" to simply, "Why?" and, honestly, after the 10,976th time of hearing them, I get a little tired of it. So this time around, I've taken to turning the question-asking table and dishing it right back. When the lady at the ice cream store told me I was too young to have all those kids, I asked her why she would say such a rude thing. When the clerk at our gym asked me point-blank if my pregnancy was planned, I told her that was a completely inappropriate question and asked her why it would matter. When the grocery store cashier told me how big I was getting, I told her she was too. (OK, so I made that last one up.)
6. Fight fire with kindness
Your mama was right on this one. It's my personal philosophy that for every rude pregnancy comment I get during my gestational periods, I will in turn bestow one act of kindness on my fellow pregnant peeps. That may be a quick smile or a "You look great!" when she's feeling like she has pregnant face going on or even ignoring the public temper tantrum her kid is having in the checkout aisle.
Because let's face it...
We've all been there.