Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shower and Tell

This weekend, I went to a shower for a fellow infertile. J is 28 weeks pregnant with a little girl, conceived via IVF at the same clinic where I went.

Before I say anymore, I should stop and say how lovely the shower was. Her sister and mother put in a lot of effort into making the party very nice. They did a spa theme, complete with candle and lotion giveaways. There was a yummy chicken salad, croissants, some amazing fruit tarts, and cheese and crackers. The cake was gorgeous. The shower was at her house, so we got to peek at the nursery, which is beautiful.

It wasn't too large of a group, so I didn't feel lost in the crowd. She got some really great gifts and was gracious during the opening. The shower game wasn't too cheesy (a purse scavenger hunt) and I knew several of her other friends. I got to hold a five week old little boy for about twenty minutes and I gobbled up every single second with him.

Okay, but you know this is going somewhere, and it is.

If one more person at that shower asked me if I was sure about my due date or if it is twins or not, I was going to scream. It started right off the bat, when I came in and the great-grandma-to-be asked me when I was due. I told her and her eyes bugged out of her head. She called J over, who is not showing very much at all, even at 28 weeks. Honestly, she doesn't even look pregnant. So, of course, Grandma starts exclaiming over how huge I am. She asks if the due date is wrong or if it's twins. She is gesturing for others to come over and compare my monstrousity of a belly with J's teeny tiny little bump. J was great, trying to get her grandma to talk about something else, but of course, she kept on going.

Finally, I managed to disengage myself from that lovely little conversation, only to have it repeated about ten times over the course of the shower. I just stuck to my usual responses:"My doctor says I am measuring just fine." "I have a forward tilting uterus." "I've been waiting for this for so long, I am glad to have a big bump so people know that I am pregnant."

I really tried not to let it get to me, but it was kind of an ego buster. My husband pointed out that they were talking about my stomach, but when I hear the word huge, I think about my chubby cheeks (north and south) and how my thighs rub together when I get out of the shower. I feel large and in charge, and I have a lot of growing left to do.

The icing on the cake was when another friend tried to take my picture. She took one shot, looked at it, shook her head, took another. Then another. I looked at the pictures on the viewfinder and my face looked so round and puffy. It probably didn't help that I was holding a plate piled with food. They were not flattering pictures. I made her delete them.

I cried on the way home. I did not want to obsess about my weight. I wanted to be happy with my healthy, growing baby. But I did not expect to hear all of these size comments. I did not know how they would affect me. I don't want to complain about something so trivial. I actually think that my belly is beautiful. When I look at it in the mirror, it looks like the pregnant belly that I have always wanted. But then people start commenting, and I lose that self-confidence.


Jen said...

Looking at your pictures, I agree with your DH in that people are probably just referring to your belly and not your overall size. But of course it can be disconcerting to be called huge when that would never have been acceptable before.

At the same time I feel kind of bad for your friend. For me one of the joys has been developing a belly that is noticeable to everybody. I'd be sad to be 28 weeks and not really showing much. And then to have your family and friends commenting endlessly about somebody else's belly wouldn't help.

infertility just sucks said...

It's just major foot-in-mouth disease. They don't even know they're being rude and that's why they just keep going on and on and on...and on!

People just get excited about babies and turn stupid. I admit that it's really tough, but don't let it get to you.

If you want to get really snarky with them say something next time. Point out that they ARE being rude. I would have said something like, "Oh wow, having you call me fat so much is really starting to sting."

I get it though.

Amy said...

You are beautiful. I am sure it hurts your feelings but don't take it that way. Just say, "yes, my tummy is large and my baby is growing to be a healthy one!" turn on toe and walk away!

I'm sure that hormones don't help matters but know that you have a healthy little monkey growing in there and all will be fine!

Fertilized said...

It's like being "huge" is supposed to be a compliment- one that feels like a backwards compliment.

Here is my take on it- I know you are not normally one with a belly - therefore Now you have a belly- and people have foot-in-mouth syndrome and get all flaky and stpid- Oh aren't you huge ... Meaning "hey look she is carrying a baby" ....I am so sorry that your feelings are getting so hurt by this. I have things that bother me as well. It's hard to handle and then we have extra hormones going on!

Ms. J said...

That had to be tough. Sounds like you handled it with a lot more grace than I would have, LOL. I'd have pitched it back on some of those old ladies . . "WOW, your hair is REALLY gray!" . . . "Did your boobs get that saggy post-pregnancy, or were they always like that?" . . . "NOW you never lost any of the weight after you had your kids, right?!"

You need a b*tchy non-pregnant friend to help you with some snappy retorts -- even if you never get the nerve to utter them, just having them in your arsenal may help ya feel better ;o)

I was complaining to friend of mine who has IVF-made twins about how, since announcing our adoption, everyone says to us "What are you going to do if you get pregnant -- you know that's going to happen now?!" This makes me want to burst into tears (it devalues the baby we ARE going to parent, and after 3 m/c we don't want to be pregnant again). Kirsten told me to say to them "We're going to return her to China, if that happens. That's why we bought open-ended plane tickets." LOL -- I can't wait to say it to somebody, and make them FEEL as stupid and insensitive as their own comment!!!

K @ ourboxofrain said...

I'm sorry people are so extraordinarily insensitive -- it never ceases to amaze me that people think being polite is no longer necessary when dealing with pregnant women (or they forget what polite is). From the pictures you've posted, I don't think you look huge at all. On one of my September boards, other people posted their 20-week shots and many were far bigger than you -- and proud of it, as you should be. You look great! (And I really like Ms. J's snappy comebacks.)

To echo Jen's comment, the other side kinda sucks too -- at 20 weeks, most people still are surprised to find out I'm pregnant, or say that they thought I might be but figured I was 12 or 13 weeks. It makes me feel deficient, like I'm not growing the baby properly or taking proper care of him/her, which also sucks. I'm not sure who the women are that have the perfect-sized bellies for their gestation, but I think the rest of us are all jealous of them :)

Amy said...

People say some dumb things.....it's called know your inside/outside voice! LOL! You are adoreable and tiny. PERIOD. Love you!

Polka Dot said...

I agree with the others - the pictures you showed don't show a chubby woman, just a larger belly. And a cute one at that!

Laura said...

I think your belly is beautiful and you didn't look the least bit chubby. I agree with others - you should have some really mean comebacks, even if you only say them in your head next time.

A lady at work keeps telling me I am gaining weight. Every time she says it I say in my head "Yeah well at least I'm pregnant, b*tch, what's your excuse." Makes me giggle every time. :)

Kathy V said...

I am sorry that people were rude and hurt your feelings. It seems like people say things to a pregnant woman about their size, shape and whatever else enters their thought spectrum when the reality is that because of our hormones people should be more senstitive to us. Your belly is fine. I am sure mine will be the same way as yours as I have a front tilted uterus also. Every person is different and every person is going to carry differently. You are beautiful and your belly is beautiful too. Try not to let those meanies get to you.

(I like the comebacks to even if you do just mutter them inside your head.) All the things I have heard from people about others reguardless of being pregnant or not makes me want to remind people of that phrase you learned when you were little. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!

Waiting Amy said...

You have heard all the right things! Your bump is beautiful, you look wonderful and those women were wacky!

I'm sorry they made you cry. Even though I'm thrilled to finally have a notable big belly, I'm still struggling with feeling unattractive at times. I think it's pretty normal.

Feel better, sweetie!

JuliaS said...

I really wish I had a mute button for some people.

I always popped out very fast and got very big very fast. I got the same questions. I was tempted to make up a tshirt that read: Only One; Yes, I'm sure; Not Soon Enough

Grandma should have had more tact. Good grief.

I've seen your pictures and I think you look perfectly lovely with a wonderful baby belly. Besides, who just wants to look like they had a triple cheeseburger for lunch when they are so wonderfully pg after working so hard to get there?!

Hugs - from someone who can totally empathize.

G said...

Ahh, hun, try not to let it get to you too much. People carry differently, babies lay differently, people should just shut it. In fact, I bet your baby stuck his ass out everytime someone commented. It's his way of saying "kiss my ass, my mom looks goooood, you're just jealous."

Anonymous said...


I think you look great!

I am 28 weeks and my MIL came over this weekend who hasn't seen me since I was 10 weeks.
Her first words in a room full of people .... "Oh I see you have the mask of pregnancy - your cheeks look sunburned".

Thanks for pointing out something I am trying so hard to pretend doesn't exist but am truthfully super self-concious about!! Im glad she didn't mention the fact that my upper lip is turning brown too!

Pregnancy is great, but humbling in some ways.

My Reality said...

You belly might be sticking out pretty good, but the rest of you isn't huge. Promise.

Ally said...

I cannot believe people can be so rude and obnoxious. Whatever on earth possesses people to open their big, fat mouths on a subject like this?

I think you look amazing, beautiful, and radiant in the pictures you have posted here and in no way, shape, or form are you fat.

I know it is hurtful and I know it is hard to shake it off when people say such things, but I wuld encourage you not to believe these people. They clearly have no idea what they are talking about.

Searching said...

I love all the snarky comment suggestions! I think baby bellies are beautiful, no matter the size. You and your body have been undertaking an amazing journey. A miracle is camping out in that "huge" belly. I am of the opinion that you are just beautiful. I'm sorry people felt the need to say otherwise.

ps- When my mom was pregnant at 35 with my littlest sis (4th child- miracle gift from God born 9y post-vasectomy!) my other sis wrote an essay from school titled "My Incredible Expanding Mother" and read it to the whole class. Nice, huh. ;)

waitinginline said...

From the last pics that you showed, I think you look absolutely beautiful! You have a wonderful baby belly, and that's all that I see. I don't think you look "huge" at all.

Why is it that people can say rude and stupid things to pregnant women and they're just supposed to smile and take it? People constanly came up to my friend and argued with her that she was having twins. She had a forward tilting uterus and had gained some extra weight. She finally told them, "We've had 4 ultrasounds...I know it's not twins" in a pretty nasty tone.

People can be so thoughtless and rude.

Geohde said...

It's hard, but try to ignore the comments, I've been told that I'm huge AND small in the same day and of course I do have twins in there (and measure crazy big).

People just have no idea,


Adriane said...

People are jerks and don't even realize it. UGH! Your belly pics are fabulous. I don't think you look at all big for 20 weeks. Truly.

We know how glad you are to have your bump. I wish people would let you enjoy it instead of making you feel self-conscious. Just chalk it up to insensitivity. You look great!

Mel said...

Gosh, you know some lousy people with big mouth problems!
Katie, you are a STUNNING pregnant woman, and I am not just saying that in the kiss-ass blogger kind of way. You really look utterly amazing in all of the photos I've seen and I can only say I dream of having your perfecly pregnant figure someday.
Don't be so hard on yourself and remember that you earned that belly. The hard way.
*hugs and love*

Joy said...

This happened to me as well. We have a tiny little church and this older woman said, REALLY loud, "Now you sure it's not twins?! Because you're huge!" I just smiled at her and sat down in my seat. There are just moments where I don't have grace and not saying anything is best.

I haven't seen a pic of you but let me tell you---you'll most likely lose the weight after baby comes! Just know that you're nurturing a little baby who will be in your arms soon!

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I know its hard, but hang in there. I've gotten such a range of comments from "you look great!" to "WOW! You're huge!" And I get them throughout the course of a day. The worst was my MIL and her sister who said I was the biggest pregnant person they had seen...and that was when I was like 22ish weeks.

Love and enjoy that belly! And screw anyone who thinks its not what it should be. It's yours and its perfect! HUGS!

Samantha said...

It's hard for women to love their bodies, pregnant or not pregnant. You are beautiful, you have a beautiful body with a beautiful baby growing inside it, and be proud of that belly!

Debby said...

Oh i'm so sorry and can SO relate. I have all the same comments coming my way about twins and wrong due date and all that. I'm so sick of it. I'm 34 weeks in and have gained 41 pounds. It's tough to take in, but when I remember what a great cause it's for I try to just shrug it off.