Of course, it happened on Mother’s Day, outside a Catholic church.
My husband was home sick. I had the three well-dressed moppets alone, whom I had just spent an hour keeping in check with stickers, paper, bribes, threats, lap-sitting, threats referencing Jesus, threats referencing the priest, and the golden-oldie, “Wait ’til we get home.”
And we spilled outside into a beautiful morning, where I pulled up their socks, straightened their Eton jackets, messed with my 7-year-old’s three-piece suit and tie. I was still messing, and they were still playing, when she came up to me. She is 60-something. She is nosey. She has no filter, and she thinks we adore her.
“They look so cute in those suits!” she said. “And you’re expecting another one!”
“What?” I said. It dawned on me. Fucking baby Buddha, she thought I was knocked up. “No!” I said loudly. “No! In fact,” I continued indignantly and loudly, “I’ve lost a ton of weight lately. I am not pregnant.”
She backed off, hands in the air. “Well, well, that’s why I was — so surprised. It’s the drape of the dress. It’s the drape of the dress.” She ran.
Great, now I have to burn the fucking dress. Thanks for nothing, church lady.
Like the church lady, you may be wondering when it’s okay to mention that a woman is pregnant or ask if she may be pregnant. You may be burning with the inner-knowledge that her unflat stomach is growin’ up a fetus. You may think you can tell because not only is her stomach not flat, she’s got that pink glow in her cheeks, which are chipmunky. Also she has several kids already so she must be in perpetual state of pregnancy. You may think all of these things.
The important part: You may think them. That’s it.
Because the only time someone is entitled to mention a lady’s pregnancy without her mentioning it first, there better be a baby emerging from her vagina. I mean that baby is actively coming out of her like a watermelon through a hole the size of lemon and she is screaming about it; you can possibly see blood and perhaps an amniotic sac. You can’t go wrong once you see the amniotic sac. But before that, a possible pregnancy is nunya. As in, none of your fucking business.
Because she may be pregnant, all right. She may be pregnant with a food baby. No one wants their food baby mistaken for a real baby. No matter how body positive you are, you feel like a donut-grubbing fat ass when you have to explain it. She’s probably trying to make the food baby go away through a variety of means, or even better, she’s made peace with the food baby and loves it, and wouldn’t want it to be mistaken for an actual fetus. Because she doesn’t want an actual fetus, she wants her fucking food baby. So STFU.
Or she may have been pregnant, like, she was pregnant in the past which resulted in a live birth or not, and that pregnancy left its marks on her body, like stretch marks, like a linea nigra, like the saggy paunch of tummy that hangs over and around her waistline, because it used to hold a fucking human being and now it doesn’t. She is likely postpartum by at least two years.
When you make a comment about her impending bundle of joy, she’s apt to burst into tears because you’re reminding her that her body will never be the same, short of plastic surgery, and thanks for that reminder, douchebag. And if she’s wearing Spanx and you still insinuate she’s pregnant, she’ll really cry because she’ll feel all the futility of modern beauty standards crashing down around her. Or she’ll punch you in the face.
Moreover, if you are an in-law, a parent, a grandparent, a grandparent-in-law, a great-aunt, an aunt-in-law, or a nosey-ass friend of the family, you are not allowed to ask about a possible pregnancy, regardless of the body shape of the woman in question. You want a baby. You want her to have a baby. So you badger her about getting knocked-up and ask every time you see her. “Are you pregnant yet?” That three letter word — Y-E-T — will make any self-respecting woman want to chew glass. She can’t punch you because you’re related. All she can do is smile. Realize that the sweet smile actually says, “Fuck you and the old-fashioned mores you rode in on.”
There are only three people who can ask, with impunity, if a woman is knocked up. Those include her partner, who has a vested interest in this sort of thing; an X-ray tech, who doesn’t want to fry a fetus, and a pharmacist, who doesn’t want to accidentally dole out anything that may harm a developing fetus. Your doc can ask, but the date of your last period should be on your chart, so if he can fucking read — and I can only imagine that reading is a prerequisite for medical school — the question shouldn’t come up.
Basically, unless you’re in a birth squat and moaning like a wounded wildebeest, it doesn’t matter what your stomach looks like. It doesn’t matter what your face looks like. It doesn’t matter if your belly button popped, and you’re wearing a bikini and God and his angels came down in front of everyone to announce the impending birth of your child. No one has the right to insinuate you’re pregnant — until you bitch about it, that is. Then they can chatter away. But until a woman complains about her back, asks someone for name suggestions, or screams, “I’m pregnant, Aunt Gertrude!” in someone’s ear, they have no right to say shit about a woman’s possible pregnancy. Or food baby. Or postpartum paunch.
“You have no right to comment on my body” is the recommended phrase.
Followed by a punch to the throat, if you’re feeling feisty.