Word choice can be a funny thing . . . and the word “bullied” is a strong one, not to mention a “hot topic” these days. It definitely captured the attention of readers all around the world, after an interview I did, about a month ago, was published. So before Baby #2 arrives, I wanted to clear a few things up for all my family, friends, and fans, who have been asking about the articles and various quotes that circulated in over forty plus outlets.
Ask ANY pregnant woman, and she will probably share with you both positive and negative comments that she has received both inside and more commonly, outside the gym. For someone my size (5’1” & 105 lbs. not pregnant), I carry large babies. My son was almost 8.5 lbs and #2 is on it’s way to be about the same. In other words, there is no hiding pregnancy with me – I walk in the room and it’s like “Hey Baby!”
So I suppose that it should be no surprise that during this pregnancy, I’ve overheard side comments about my bump and surprisingly even received many comments directly – all of which I tried my best to respond to with a smile on my face. After hearing some pretty crazy ones, I reached out to friends, and even “Facebooked” it, to see what other interesting comments women had heard during their pregnancies. The response from fellow mommies was overwhelming with anything from, “Your stretch marks are the worst I’ve ever seen.” to “Your butt is so big.”
What were some of my own experiences? They are pretty funny really. In my first trimester, I had a few girls who took a class after I taught comment, “That instructor looks like she just ate a burrito,” to which I wondered, “Did they think I couldn’t hear them?” By the way, I didn’t hesitate to correct them and mention that yes, my burrito was in fact a baby. The running joke, among a few fellow trainers and me, has been “How many burritos does it look Sara’s eaten today?” Hey, you have to have a sense of humor about all of this, right?
In my second trimester I got everything from “Oh, are you like 7 months now?” when I was only 5 months. (My male friends have all learned from my venting that you NEVER guess how far along a pregnant woman is.) I even had someone say, “You look great. Your face is just fuller.” My reaction to this was “Really? Did you think that was a compliment?” What I really wanted to say was, “Would you ever say that to someone that was NOT pregnant?” Trust me, it’s better to just comment on our “healthy glow.”
And most recently in my third trimester, my favorites: “OMG – are you due tomorrow?” and “You’re STILL pregnant?’” to which my usual response is: “If you feel that way, imagine how I feel.”
So, I guess the question becomes: Is this bullying? I suppose some may see it that way. By definition, bullying is “to treat abusively” or “to behave in a certain way to gain power over another person.” Do I think that the things that were said to me were said with that intention? No . . . no way. But I do think if they were said to the wrong person, they could be taken that way, and I do think that there may be some people, especially in a gym setting, who might “power trip” on seeing a usually fit person put on weight. I don’t know that I will ever understand the need to comment on someone’s pregnancy, especially to their face, but it happens and it bothers me, which is ultimately why it was addressed in the interview I did.
Rather than “bullying,” I see this more as pure ignorance, or people making unfiltered comments without thinking about how it might actually make the pregnant woman feel. More often than not, I find that these comments are made my men or women who have not had babies. In other words, these people have not been pregnant (or maybe have never been around a pregnant person), so they don’t realize what or how it feels to be in a forever changing body that you don’t have much control over.
And yes, I promise you there are many more people out there who say kind and wonderful things during my pregnancy, like “You look great.” or “I admire you for still working out.” but that’s not a “hot topic” and discussing all the good things people say most likely will not open people’s minds and hearts to the idea of thinking before they speak. People WILL continue to be unfiltered; it’s inevitable. My goal in doing the interview was to remind expecting women to keep their self-confidence in tact, especially when we’re actively growing a human. Creating a healthy baby inside a healthy body is our number one goal, and that means eating well, exercising, sleeping, eliminating stress, etc. Who cares what anyone else has to say!
I hope this answers some of your lingering questions. Thank you to all of those who have supported and encouraged me throughout my pregnancies – the body is an extraordinary thing. I feel beyond honored to have been able to do this again for the second time. Stay tuned . . . I should have an announcement any day now.