Belly Commenting– Don’t Do It
“You’re still fat,” was the first thing she said. I was stunned at how rude and purposely hurtful she seemed to be.
“I just had a baby. What’s your excuse?!” I wanted to retort. I decided not to get into it with her– she’s just an ignoramus and there was no point in trying to give her an education.
A few days later I left my newborn with a sitter for an hour so I could get some errands done. On that brief trip to town two random strangers asked me when my baby was due. “I just had the baby you stupid fucktards*!” I wanted to screech as I ripped their faces off.
*Vocabulary, courtesy of Cecily.
Looking back on it now, I can see I was clearly hormonal, as most women are postpartum. Regardless, I promised myself that I’d never make that mistake. I would never ask when the due date was, no matter how pregnant someone appeared to be and I would never negatively comment on a woman’s postpartum belly.
Last weekend I went into a local department store, looking for a gift. There was tall, blonde saleswoman arranging a display of gift bags and boxes. She turned to face me and said hello. I’ve seen this friendly woman almost a hundred times before but she normally worked in the nursery department.
“I see you’ve had you baby,” I said, noticing her diminishing belly.
“Uh, yeah,” she responded, “a while ago.”
“What did you have?” I pressed on, “How old?”
“I had a boy and he’s six.”
“You mean six months?” I asked. I felt a small drop of perspiration form on my brow.
“No. Six years.”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGG!” I was screaming in my mind. “I did it! I did what I said I’d never do. I crossed the line. I had mistaken her previously swollen belly for a pregnancy when she, in fact, was just fat. Oh no!! Or even worse, maybe she had some kind of tumor or intestinal problem that made her belly bloat. I’m terrible, just terrible!”
“Uh. Well. Hmmmf. It seemed like the last time I saw you, you were pregnant. Time really flies. Doesn’t it?” I said and slinked off behind the scented candles.
Boy, did I feel like the biggest ASS ever! After a few minutes of mental flagellation, I decided I had to do something. I went back to the rounder of gift bags but she was gone. I finally tracked her down in the nursery department. “Look. You must think I’m an ass,” I said. “I mistook you for my old friend, Carol and I didn’t realize you weren’t her until I saw you back in your regular department.” Her crinkled up brow loosened and a slow smile spread over her face.
Good! She bought it. I left the store, congratulated myself on a well-told white lie and vowed never to make that kind of pregnancy inquiry again. Never.