Ever heard the phrase, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" My parents repeatedly instilled this in my siblings and I at a young age. Over time, we learned the importance of knowing when to speak and knowing when to be silent. We learned the uplifting power of kind words and the damaging power of sour words. We were five, and we were getting it.
As an adult, I've noticed there are people who pride themselves on being "bold" and "outspoken." I've come to the understanding that, the majority of the time, that's just their sugar coated way of saying, "I'm rude." Now, don't get me wrong. I like bold, outspoken people. I happen to be one myself. I believe it's a God-given gift (as I do introverted people as well), and when God gives you much, much is expected. What good is it to carry this gift of boldness if you continually abuse it by using it to put people down instead of to encourage people, as it was intended? It is just as bold to say something confidently as it is to know when not to say anything.
When you're pregnant and the bump is clearly a baby bump and not just a few extra pounds, you are inevitably on display. People look you in the eyes after first looking at your belly. Some people ask when you're due or simply congratulate you. Although it does bring upon some awkward interactions, I get it. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing that people are curious about. As a more extroverted person, I have no problem with people asking questions or looking at my belly. I actually happen to enjoy talking about this new love in my life.
However, a line has got to be drawn. While I welcome smiles of congratulations and questions about if a woman is having a boy or girl etc, I detest statements that belittle the woman carrying the baby. For instance, telling a pregnant woman she pulls off pregnancy well is one thing. Telling a woman you can't believe she's not due any day now...that's just unacceptable.
I'm astounded at some of the "bold" things I have been told. "I can't imagine you being any bigger." "Are they sure you're not having twins?" "Do they think the baby is just really big?" "I can't believe how huge you are!" "My friend is farther along than you and she's not showing at all!" TAKE NOTE: ALL THESE THINGS ARE NOT OK TO SAY. They are not words from a bold person who carries that weight responsibly. They are words from a rude person who think it's OK to pick apart your body. Completely uncalled for.
As if I should have to defend myself, but let me relay a few facts for you. For one, most women 28 weeks pregnant have gained about 17-25 pounds so far. I have gained a whopping 10. I am not "huge" and I am certainly not carrying twins. There's no reason to believe the baby's weight is above average. I am actually below average on every level, so it's probably best you do a little research before opening your rude mouth.
That being said, so what if I had gained 30 pounds already? What if I gain a good hundred before baby gets here? What if I deliver a 12 pound baby, complete with a beard and all? Or what if I was 8 months pregnant and hardly showing at all? Does that give you the right to just say the first thing that comes to your mind and pick apart my body as if I'm not right in front of you? Heck no.
On the same token, how would someone feel if I made comments about how I felt about the baby weight they're still carrying? I guarantee most of us would be horrified at the audacity it would take to ask such a rude and degrading question, as we should be. How is commenting on a pregnant woman's weight any different?
I'd like to tell you where you can put those outrageously rude comments, but I like to keep this blog fairly PG. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to beg you from the very bottom of my heart on behalf of us all to do every woman in the world a favor and keep those comments to yourself. Stick with the smiles and congratulations and stories of encouragement. Use your God-given ability to be bold and outspoken to make people actually feel good about themselves. Build somebody up today.
**I should take the time to note that I've been blessed enough to be surrounded by so many who have done nothing but encourage me and make me feel like quite the babe. They have told me I look beautiful and how excited they are to meet our son. I treasure your sweet words and appreciate you going out of your way to be kind. Keep making people feel loved and beautiful! It means more than you know!