Examine the photo:
A woman on the left – twenty four weeks pregnant. Is constantly asked by strangers when her baby is due.
A woman on the right – not pregnant. Is constantly asked by strangers when her baby is due.
Hmm… this presents quite a challenge to you, as a stranger, next time you spot a woman with a round belly, standing in line at a coffeeshop.
Do you just say “congratulations!”, pointing to her stomach?
But… Unless you actually know this woman, you don’t really know if her pregnancy is a “good” thing, do you? Perhaps, this was quite unplanned and quite unwanted.
Do you first ask IF she is pregnant?
And THEN ask when her baby is due?
But wait. She might not be pregnant at all (see photo above). Then what?
A male friend told me how he once congratulated his sister in law on her pregnancy. Only to be told that she was not pregnant. Um. Yeah. The entertaining thing was how incensed he was about the whole situation. It is as if this woman’s body shape has betrayed him somehow. Misled him, confused him.
How dare she look like that?
I ask how D. (in the photo) responds to questions about her non-existent pregnancy. “I say no, I’m just fat!”, she laughs. “Which, in turn, makes people super uncomfortable for some reason, even though they are the ones who commented on my body”.
So, you are risking making the woman uncomfortable, or yourself uncomfortable. Or both. All in exchange for satisfying your own curiosity. I believe this is what we call a lose-lose scenario.
Oh, calamity. This whole commenting on strangers’ bodies business is so confusing.
Attention, an elegant solution! Stop asking people about the state of their reproductive organs, unless you are their x-ray technician.
P.S. Meanwhile, my friend Carolina Belmares just write an article for Girls Gone Strong on how to respond when someone asks you if you are pregnant, and… you are not. Check it out here.