How I Handle Strangers Who Think I'm Pregnant

by Britt Burbank
Originally Published: 
post-baby body
Agnieszka / Flickr / Creative Commons

Oh, you just found out you’re pregnant? Welcome. Are you nervous? Of course you are! Get ready because now perfect strangers feel the need to comment on your life and ask intrusive questions. People who once upon a time would not have even made eye contact with you at the grocery store are now telling you how to raise your children in the dog food isle. If you are lucky, you may even get your stomach rubbed by a stranger in the grocery store.

It really does blow my mind. Why because you have a baby in your belly do people think it’s OK to touch you without asking? Imagine if I was standing at the deli in Stop & Shop and I just turned to some random woman who isn’t pregnant and said, “Oh, hey, I love your top!” and then start rubbing my hands all over her stomach and shoulders. A couple things could happen: She might yell, punch, run away, or call the cops—who really knows. But one thing we can all agree on is that she would definitely think I was nuts. You just don’t go around rubbing people!

All the rules change when you are pregnant. Luckily for me, I don’t really give off the “talk to me,” let alone “touch me,” vibe. I definitely was rocking a frown at the end of my second pregnancy. Let’s just say that my give-a-damn was busted. So I only got touched a few times and that was because some Betty White looking mother truckers at the library just did not care. They would come over and grope me while my son and I were trying to check out the turtles and perform our own two-man puppet show.

Then there are the questions, questions, questions. While you are pregnant, you spend 75% of your time answering questions and the other 25% lying in your bed with 12 pillows, a Snoogle, and your laptop on your nightstand binge watching Netflix (Orange is the New Black, ahh…just one more episode. It’s easy to watch four episodes in one night when you go to bed at 7:30. Oh, was that just me?)

Once baby shows up, you assume the awkward conversations will have to settle down a little bit. You don’t have a huge baby bump so maybe people will be less interested in you. You love how nice people are, but you are exhausted from small talk. But that doesn’t happen. The awkward just morphs into new topics. You assume your life will just be sitcom-style awkward banter from here on out.

My own post-baby body is foreign to me. I think the only person I can really identify with is Santa. I have really buff arms and legs. They got skinny again quickly. But then my middle is so jolly. Santa is climbing in and out of all those chimneys, so clearly he has some muscles. He is nimble, but still carts around that big ol’ belly. I consider my staircase my chimney. I just go up and down it all day long. I get it now, Santa. No wonder you always wear that ugly red suit. You are just sick of trying to find clothes that fit correctly. Your arms and legs continue to tone up, but your stomach is taking its sweet time. I look kinda pregnant again. It is not a body type listed when Cosmo tells you how to dress to your body type. I think after taking the “What is your body type?” quiz, I found out my ideal outfits are a poncho or a ghost costume.

Postpartum is an awkward time whether you admit it out loud or not. I will share my awkward story with you. It is sadly just a day in the life at this point. Therefore, let us laugh because it is better than crying:

I am at my place of employment. I am in the health care center of this place. There are at least six people between me and one of the nurses. I like this nurse. She is dry and funny. But she wasn’t trying to be funny. She was dead serious. She yells to me, “You already on No. 3? What, are you trying to break a record or something?” I can feel all the color fill in my face. I say, “Not pregnant. Just fat. Haha.”

She does not hear me and keeps talking about my third baby and when it’s due or something, maybe even if it is a girl. I didn’t even catch the last couple of questions being asked about my third pregnancy. I think I blacked out. I was scanning for an exit strategy.

So that happened.

“Oh my god, Brittany! You are beautiful!”

“Brittany, you just had two babies!”

Pshh. Save it.

Save your excessive Facebook compliments for someone who needs them.

The postpartum struggle is real!

I was congratulated on being pregnant at least 30 times in the year following having my second child. I think that makes me a professional. So, in case you find yourself in this situation, I’ve compiled a list of responses you can offer when someone thinks you are pregnant, but really your body is just deflated, and you don’t really understand it anymore:

Them: When are you due?

You: I’m due to take a poop at 9 a.m.

Them: How many months are you?

You: I’m 360 months old.

Them: Congratulations!

You: Thank you. I didn’t know if I’d be able to finish that whole burrito at lunch, but I powered through.

Them: Is it a boy or a girl?

You: It’s a a gluten intolerance I picked up from being pregnant for two years straight. So eat shit.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter. These laughing faces are worth any battle wounds you may have kept from birthing the man beasts whether they be physical or emotional. I just look at these silly men, and it’s impossible to care that much.



I want to live in a world where moms don’t strive to erase every sign of having a baby from their body. This is my badge of honor. I delivered two 10-pound babies, which confirmed every suspicion I had that I was a badass bitch.

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