Friday, September 26, 2008

it must be all those pregnancy hormones

I have noticed that when one is pregnant, normally taboo topics or comments are suddenly acceptable. Do you know what I mean? Under normal circumstances, at least in the U.S. the average woman would never comment on another woman's weight gain. Weight loss, maybe, but not gain. Of course, weight gain in pregnancy is totally normal, but that doesn't account for the incredibly insensitive remarks I have heard made. When I was pregnant with Danny, a woman at church routinely pointed out to me how enormously huge I was getting. And seriously, she said it in an almost accusatory way. It was so bad my friend's husband actually stood up for me. And if a man can sense that the weight comments are insensitive, they must be pretty bad, I think. The funny part? This was a rather large woman herself who I am sure would be completely offended if anyone made disparaging remarks about her size.

When I was pregnant with Charlotte, a man at church told me I should have dressed up for Halloween as a basketball. When else would this be an acceptable comment?

I also had my mother and aunts make fun of how much I was eating when I was pregnant with Danny. The thing was, I wasn't eating any more than usual, but because I was pregnant, all of a sudden, my eating habits were under scrutiny. Then, when I protested, my aunt brushed my feelings off by saying it was the hormones.

This is my biggest complaint. I absolutely hate when every feeling I have is chalked up to pregnancy hormones. And it is almost always other women who have made this remark to me. Just the other week, I was at church and Danny was acting crazy. It was totally disheartening to me, because it was such unusual behavior for him; I had thought we had finally gotten this part under control. I was tired and frustrated and very stressed about what we should be doing to best help him.

After Bil took him out of the chapel, I cried a bit. I was just overwhelmed. I have been dissatisfied with his OT and wondering what we should do about it, wondering what sort of discipline we should be using, etc and wondering if I was missing some important aspect of his treatment. As I was indulging in a bit of a cry, a friend came up behind me and said, "It's hard dealing with this when you are pregnant, isn't it?"

I said, "It has nothing to do with me being pregnant."
She replied, "Well, it doesn't help having all those pregnancy hormones in your body, right?"

This is not the first time in this pregnancy that she has made these sorts of remarks. What interests me, though, is that this woman would probably go ballistic if her husband assumed she was PMSing because she was upset about something.

Why, all of a sudden, just because I happen to be carrying a child, are all my feelings completely invalidated?

This makes me think of a comment a friend of my husband's made when I was pregnant with Danny. Earl said that after all of his wife's pregnancies, he has finally learned that the safest thing you can say to a pregnant woman is, "You look great." I have to agree that this comment would be a welcome respite from the insensitive jibes.

I know I sound bitter, but actually, I am mostly just really curious why the normal social rules fall away once people find out you are with child. What is it about a pregnant woman that encourages people to not filter their comments? And hasn't it occurred to any of these people that pregnant woman could use some emotional TLC? Someone should do a sociological study of this. Seriously.


Amy Jane said...

Amen, sister!

Anonymous said...

It is a bizarre-o phenomenon indeed.

Amy Jane said...


It's the weirdest thing - I DO seem to be collecting Mormon friends! In addition to you and Susie (missourimormonmama), there's another one here named Mary. Both Susie and Mary are in my MOPS group. I'm a Mormon-magnet! :)

mrsbear said...

I can't say hormones haven't been partly to blame for some of my pregnancy reactions to things, but having my feelings dismissed offhand used to really tick me off. By the fourth pregnancy one thing that really unnerved me, was people's unsolicited opinions about whether or not I should get my tubes tied. Talk about rude! That and the oh-my-you-must-be-having-twins-you're-so-huge comment. I feel ya. :-(

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

My emotions have been crazier during pregnancy, and well into the nursing time too. But I think people say things about it because they don't know what else to say. They want to make us feel better I think, as if under normal circumstances we wouldn't react that way.

Soemtimes these comments have helped me because I HAVE felt a little out of control during pregnancy/nursing and I was reminded that my perspective would be different "normally." But I also totally understand when such comments are just inappropriate and unwelcome!

bernthis said...

Darlin you don't sound bitter. It's amazing how poorly women can treat other women. I, for one, make it a point no to. If we don't help each other who the hell else will.

Anytime someone makes those remarks to a pregnant woman she should turn and say, "So what's your excuse?" LOL

BTW-Loved the comment about the rainbow house although remember, I live in L.A.. it takes A LOT to get noticed in this city. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree, only my family is the worst offenders. This is my 3rd pregnancy and my chilren are 11
and 13 and they are full of the
"wow you are getting huge". My husband told me well your butt looks smaller cause your belly is bigger ????? I get more positive feedback from friends. Sorry for the vent I'm 34 weeks and having a horrible day due to at the great comments I've been getting.