No, I’m not pregnant I’m….

  • Fat?
  • Unfortunate with where my body likes to cling on to fat?
  • Wearing the wrong underwear?
  • Struggling with the summer to autumn/winter wardrobe transition?
  • Any other suggestions….?

You see, in the space of 4 weeks I have been asked or it has been assumed that I am pregnant, 3 times. I actually considered buying a pregnancy test just in case complete strangers are tuning into something I have missed. Then I decided that maybe I should use that money to buy some of those pully/sucky in tummy tights instead.

Grrrr…. I can’t deny it’s pissed me off and also made me a bit sad. Am I fairly disinterested and relaxed about following fashion and staying on trend – yes. But do I try to and think I look nice in my own casual, low fuss style – yes. I’m not looking for sympathy by the way. Far worse things are happening in the world than people thinking I’m pregnant. But it’s grating.

I’ve had 3 kids. I try and run twice and week. I like to call myself a size 13 because depending on where I shop I can be a 12 or 14. I have a body that does like to collect extra fat, there’s an even layer going all the way round and dollop extra on my tummy for good measure. The only part of my body to escape extra weight is my boobs. They, in spite of 3 kids, remain small and round and in pretty good shape (hooray boobs)! This does show up my tummy somewhat though. I know this.

I could eat less, I could exercise more, but I don’t and I am fine with that. I think what it’s made me think about most is the continued assumptions we all make about other people, purely based on the way they look. Overweight people must be unhealthy, thin people must all be on a permanent diet or have an eating disorder, people with spots or greasy hair just need a decent cleanser and shampoo. People whose stomachs stick out in equal distance to (and on a good food day sometimes more than) their boobs must be with child. Good, as long as that’s clear then.

Oh, hang on a minute, maybe life and the human body is a bit more complicated than that… Maybe people’s bodies and what is going on with them is their business. I don’t know if I am meant to feel bad that people think I am pregnant. Honestly, it sucks and I did for a bit. Now I feel mad, why does someone else get to make me feel like that? Did they mean to upset me – probably not. (although one woman asked me if I was sure and then laughed and laughed. Maybe to cover her embarrassment but I’m not sure. Yeah, that happened). By whether there was intent there or not it doesn’t matter now because the end result is I’ve been made to feel bad about my body. Somehow it is not fitting with how it should look for a non pregnant woman. My tummy didn’t bounce back, in truth I’m not sure it’s meant to (and it wasn’t flat to start with) but that’s the message that’s out there.

What to do?

Well, review my wardrobe choices. I wanted to this then I thought BALLS TO YOU, I like my clothes so they are staying.

Invent some form of underwear/tights that can push the fat from your stomach right up into your bra (but be extremely comfortable and allow lots of room for breathing and eating lots) and call it something like ‘Boob Illusion’ or ‘short term fat redistribution wear’. This is still a working concept.

Refocus – turn my experiences into a positive by being sure that I stay aware of any judgments I’m making or forming about others, purely based on their looks. Keep drilling it into my kids that what they see on TV, in magazines and when they are old enough social media, is not reality. Because we hear it said enough but I fear what our kids are going to have to deal with is going to happen much earlier and much harder than and woman in her 30s being made to feel bad about her rounded tum. I’ve seen a lot in the media by way of body positive messages, loving yourself but until everyone understands its about feeling good in your own because you just do, rather than in spite of not being a socially acceptable ‘prefect’, it’s going to be a challenge to bring that message home.

Be kind – starting with myself. I am imperfect on so many levels that really the shape of my stomach should feature quite far down the list. But I’m me, I’m real, I am soft and warm and loving. People love me and I’m fierce when it comes to those I love. Kindness spreads. Trying to understand people better and keep on learning from life and all the experiences is a good thing.

Keep it real. As I say, I don’t want sympathy I just want to rant (because it’s what I do), breathe out and move on. I will probably need some cake and wine too.

So no, I am not pregnant. I have been 3 times, that makes me feel very lucky and my boobs are still pretty awesome.

 

*First published on Selfish Mother Oct 2017

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