I am almost thirty-seven weeks pregnant with my second child. I’ve only gained about twenty-five lbs and I’m still very active with volunteer projects at my church and other organizations. I admit to an ungainly waddle… but what pregnant woman doesn’t waddle? However, I don’t lay around and let it keep me down.
I recently finished teaching at a week long Bible study at my church. A gentleman (using the term loosely) there is known for being a good person but spectacularly rude and obnoxious in his comments to others. I feel that this one took the proverbial cake.
Passing him the hallway I made the typical, polite banter about it being a long week, etc. This man calls me back with a, “Hey, c’mere… somebody was saying that instead of building a prop airplane (for the Bible study theme) that you coulda been the blimp!” He then looks at me expectantly, I suppose waiting for guffaws of laughter.
Instead, he got a derisive look and a dry, “Wow, that wasn’t nice.” I just walked away.
This was not the first rude or ugly comment he’s made to me or others but this was the first comment about my physical person.
I guess I just wanted to share as a caveat to others… pregnancy does not give you the right to comment on a woman’s body (or to touch it, but that’s another story altogether!). We know we are round and ungainly but we are excited to be pregnant with a beloved child and if you can’t say something nice, then keep your mouth shut.
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Yes, please keep your nasty comments and hands to yourself. Remember, your mother was once a “blimp” when she was pregnant with you. If you wouldn’t say it to your mother or grandmother, don’t say it to any other women.
I’m afraid this man is probably the kind that would say rude things like this to his mother or even wife.
While this may be accurate and the mother & grandmother argument can be a beginning of teaching what’s appropriate, eventually I hope we all arrive at “let’s treat womxn respectfully because of their autonomy as fellow human beings, not based on their relationship to you or to men in general.”
OP, I am very sorry this happened to you and for the horrible treatment pregnant women receive in general.
How nice can someone be if they are known for saying such rude things to people? I applaud the OP for her response; mine would have been less gracious.
My ex-husband had no class at all. When I was 6 months along with our oldest I was bending over to look in our guinea pig cage….he came up behind me and smacked me on the rear and said “how ya doin gigantic butt!”….as soon as I swung around he said “oh I’m gonna get slapped”. Nope I walked out of the room and cried. Not nice.
I’m 17 weeks pregnant. Now that I’m starting to show, it’s like I’ve achieved this whole new level of public scrutiny. Don’t eat that, don’t carry this, don’t don’t don’t. Y’all, I’m pregnant, not feeble-minded. Kindly assume I’m a competent adult and leave me be.
Also, yes, I found out I’m having a girl. That doesn’t give anyone an opening to spout sexist nonsense about girls having “drama” but being “better behaved,” and boys being “rambunctious.” It’s been my observation that boys act up because their parents have lower expectations of behavior for boys, not because they wield a Y chromosome.
Even my husband was scared about the possibility of having a boy. We had several friends with boys who were very rambunctious. I asked my husband “were you like that when you were little?” The answer was no. I replied “then if we have a boy we do our best to make sure he behaves like you did”.
We had two girls. Who fortunately have been fairly drama free.
It’s just so tiresome. Girls have “drama” because we’re socialized to not handle conflict head-on. Boys are “rambunctious” because, unlike girls, they aren’t scolded and told to play quietly every time they make noise.
Every time there are kids in my house, it’s the same story. I can guarantee the boys will be shouting and running indoors and interrupting adults right and left, while their parents obliviously cluck about boys just being naturally rowdy. Meanwhile, if any of the girl children make a peep, the parents will be all over her with lectures about manners.
I’ve taken to straight up telling boys to simmer down and act right, because I have rules in my home. If the parents object, well, my heart doesn’t exactly break for them.
I have twin boys. When people heard that we were having boys, the line that seemed to come from everyone’s lips was, ‘Oh, double trouble!’ To which I firmly replied each time, ‘Double blessing!’ It annoyed me so much everyone’s reaction to the idea of boys was negative. Yes, boys can be rambunctious, but girls can be too. Children are individuals, just like everyone else. Some are loud and messy and always on the move, others are quiet and gentle. And even the loud and messy ones can be taught to be polite and kind and clean up after themselves. And sometimes, it’s the kids who gave you the most trouble when they were little that grow up into the most awesome adults.
OP – good on you for your polite spine and response. You called the comment for what it was. And I hope he thinks twice before he says something that isn’t funny at all, but mean.
“Oh, don’t worry! If we need a huge gas-bag, I know exactly where to look!”
When I was pregnant with my first child, only one person commented on my size, and that was a total stranger. I’m larger already, so I think the additional weight of pregnancy makes people uncomfortable to make comments, and thank goodness for that! The one person who DID have something to say said something to the effect of it looking like I was having twins, and his tone was extremely condescending.
I’ve always wished I’d commented that it LOOKED like it he had brains, but appearances can be deceiving….. (In reality, I didn’t respond at all, which was probably the appropriate thing to do, even if it has left me with a few regrets).
A gentleman (using the term loosely) there is known for being a good person but spectacularly rude and obnoxious in his comments to others…..
It’s gotta be one or the other. You can’t be a good person AND a spectacular ass.
You gave the perfect response.
I have a habit of declaring someone a good person, in spite of ugly habits or occasional poor treatment of others. I think in many cases, I’m wrong, and you may be as well, OP. If he was a good person, he would never dream of saying something so unkind. What a buffoon.
I just want to stand up and applaud you on that comeback. Perfect! I hope he takes the hint for the next time he’s tempted to make a “joke” about someone else’s appearance.
I love that this was at a Bible study course, of all things!
I hope you didn’t let it get to you and instead enjoyed your pregnancy.
People are apparently very touchy at this stage, some more so than others (I wasn’t, but then no one harassed me either), so it’s definitely best to just keep one’s mouth shut.
Oddly enough, when I was about the same distance along, I put a photo of myself on Facebook, saying I needed to do it before I popped. A friend made a comment with the same phrasing (something like ‘you do look like you’re about to pop!’) which I obviously didn’t mind. Another person came along and chewed her out for speaking that way and how rude it was. I immediately jumped in to clarify that it was absolutely fine and the commentary ended there. All I can think, however, is that this particular person was a bit late with her own baby just then and must have been hypersensitive or received a ton of flack herself to start complaining about something that technically had nothing to do with her.
I probably wouldn’t have minded the blimp joke either, but it’s definitely a know your audience thing and he certainly didn’t. Also “someone said….” yeah right. We all know it was him.
wow…sounds like my cousin cant say anything nice to anyone…
Your co-worker is NOT a good person. Good people don’t make “rude or ugly” comments to other people. I bet he’s one of those people that, if he’s called out on a comment, responds with “Can’t you take a joke?”.
Wow, what a jerk.
Oh my goodness, how inappropriate. I carry “in the front”, so while you couldn’t tell I was pregnant from the back, I was all belly with all of my pregnancies, and the amount of downright obnoxious comments I received was ridiculous. I was told ,”that baby is going to fall out” (a great thing to say to an anxious mother who had buried two premies), “it must be a boy/girl”, “you look like you swallowed a watermelon”, “a girl from the back, a while from the front”, etc. It was very difficult to muster being graceful and courteous, although I certainly wasn’t with random people trying to touch my belly. Although I initially was quite placid regarding silly pregnancy related comments, as I went along a stern and frosty, “Excuse me?” was quite useful a few times. You certainly don’t have to be nice to a person who is being obnoxious towards you. You have to be civil, but that is not the same as being nice.
“You have to be civil, but that is not the same as being nice.”
That is very well said, and advice that applies to many situations. It’s the core to the polite spine.
I’m honestly surprised at the number of times that I hear this happens. I had toxemia and, as is typical with that condition, gained 60 pounds. The good news is that I dropped 60 pounds literally over night after my daughter was born. I went into the hospital looking huge and came out the next day looking like an entirely different person. I don’t know if my family and friends shielded me from rude comments or I was just lucky. But, I never heard anything derogatory about my appearance while pregnant. On the other hand, the way I felt during my pregnancy, anyone who said something that rude to me might have been risking his own health if not his life.
I think you should rethink your description someone can’t be known for being a good person and making rude remarks. Your response was fine, but the group should send a clear message that he needs to change his behavior yesterday because it is completely unacceptable.
I had my last child at age 40. I had some grey hairs at that time. One of my clients at work (older male) asked me if the baby was going to have grey hair too. Jerk.
I’ve known 2 people who were just as obnoxious as the man in OP’s post. I chose not to socialize with them. OP is in a situation where she can’t avoid him. Most people will make a stupid, thoughtless joke sometime in their life, or more when they’re children, realize it was bad, and learn from their mistake. What I don’t understand is how someone can get into adulthood without learning that these remarks aren’t acceptable. When I was growing up, children who made obnoxious or rude comments were corrected.
In the cases of the two people I knew, they were so obnoxious that their friends would warn you about them ahead of time, and tell you to just ignore it because he really is nice and doesn’t mean it. It’s just his brand of humor. Nope. Unless someone has a mental health or neurological issue, he can learn to control his mouth. OP, you handled it well, letting him know that he wasn’t funny.
My thoughts exactly!!!
“Well then I hope that you had enough manners to tell that “someone” that such a comment is extremely rude and should never be said to anyone.”
I’m a little baffled how a person known for being obnoxious and rude can be described as a good person in the same breath.
That is not a good person.
I think you handled it perfectly.
Perfect response I think!
When my DD was pregnant, she was adamant that NO ONE touch her belly. During the later months she had some issues and had to go on bed rest twice and was hospitalized once. (thankfully we had a perfectly healthy baby).
At her shower, her MIL and my sister started talking about how they didn’t care what she said, it was their right to touch her belly and they would. I went into full mother bear mode, and told them “She’s had enough problems with this pregnancy, she doesn’t need you two upsetting her. LEAVE MY BABY ALONE!!”
? good for you!
When my little sister was pregnant for the first time, i got her a maternity shirt with a cute animal and the words „mein Bauch ist kein Streichelzoo!“ (my belly‘s not a petting zoo) on it. She loved it and I think she got good use out of it.
I‘ve never been pregnant, but I‘ve always been a bit overweight, so once my mom was asked by an acquaintance when the happy day would be and there‘s another story where that assumption went completely off the rails…
That guy was inexcusable. I think OP handled it well, but still, what kind of person would say that? Wait, a jerk would, obviously.
I worked with a woman who was just over five feet tall and carried big twins in her last pregnancy. She was definitely big and round quite early in the pregnancy. One of our co-workers, a bachelor, took to calling her “Shamu.” I actually took him aside and told him that wasn’t clever or funny in my book, but he assured me she didn’t mind. She told me later that she did mind and even told him so, but he just laughed and persisted in calling her Shamu. Some people just think they are funny so they can say what they want, no matter what, I guess.
You should have told HR. Persistent name-calling falls and the fact she’s the target because she’s pregnant makes this the legal definition of workplace harassment for EEOC claims.
* typo… ignore “falls”… I started to type “falls under the legal definition of harassment” but I switched my wording and missed erasing all of the original phrase.
I hope he didn’t follow up with you ‘needing to lighten up’ or ‘not able to take a joke’. Plenty of my very pregnant friends have made similar quips about their own bodies, but that’s their body to y’all about.
OP- your response was spot on. I hope that moment of embarrassment gave the old man a pause for thought.
Why are some people so obsessed with being funny that they always have to make a joke? It doesn’t matter if it is appropriate or not, fun or not, well timed or not. They just _HAVE_ to comment…
For the record, these people’s jokes are more often un-funny than funny, due to the fact that they are not original, just off the shelf jokes. They could possibly be fun at the right occasion if they are told in a good way and well timed. But the ”Hey, c’mere…” is a big turnoff. It is like ”Listen now, I will say something REALLY FUNNY!” And then comes a bad cheap and simple joke…
You were far nicer than I would have been, OP.
I have a long history of a metabolism out of whack and it has as last manifestation settled into I look varying shades of pregnant. For over two decades. The body insists on dropping every extra calorie or carbs onto my bay window. My arms and legs are between normal and skinny, then the stomach. I can with religiously strict diet keep it down though I will always have a thick waist. I know every bit of how the world treats a pregnant woman. At some shows I used to do I got so tired of explaining I wasn’t pregnant that I took my buttonmaker and made one to wear that said “I’m NOT pregnant” (next one) “I just look like it” Or else I would be fending it off all show and some couldn’t be convinced that I wasn’t toting no matter what. (one person I finally showed a few years of pictures to where I looked like that consistently, no break that would be having or losing a baby and getting pregnant again. I always had the stomach).
Some people can be so crude, rude, lewd and insensitive. Sorry you’re having to go through it. Hopefully even if the fellow has no filter, he hasn’t said anything more after that incident.
From the time I was six months along with my first, I’d get daily comments of “any day now.” I know I was big, but really? I didn’t love being pregnant and really didn’t love the inappropriate comments about my appearance from strangers.
Of course, this does get one ready for the endless comments and ‘helpful’ hints about parenting once one’s progeny is born.
Ugh. I feel your pain, OP. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I worked in an OR. Every week, there was one particular OB/GYN resident (who REALLY should have known better!) who felt the need to ask me, “Are you SURE you’re not having twins? They didn’t miss one on the ultrasound?”
It took a lot of restraint not to use one of the multiple sharp instruments I had in front of me on her, but I just kept saying, “Nope, still just the one in there.” Hard to believe none of her colleagues took her aside to point out how inappropriate she was being, especially given the specialty she was in. I suppose I could have taken her aside myself, but I didn’t trust myself to be particularly polite at that point.
A friend of mine got to endure a boss who, every time he passed her in the hall, made the comment, “Now I know what they mean when they say, ‘GREAT with child!'”
“That’s right: I’m great, and you’re a child!”
Seriously though, it’s ridiculous that people make these ‘jokes’. I have a theory that it’s because we have such pressure on women to look a certain way; it encourages people to believe that they can and should comment on women’s bodies. And as a fat woman (who has been pregnant herself) I get a little annoyed when people call pregnant women ‘fat’. There is a completely different belly shape between the two; don’t conflate us! It shows how unobservant most people are IMO.
That is the very person who needs to be put on the very spot he put you in. Call him on it, “That was a rude and unkind comment to make about me. Why did you feel it was necessary to tell me what is being said about me behind my back? Please tell me who made the comment so I can discuss it with him/her.” He won’t repeat anything else to you if you do it right.
When I visited my best friend during her 1st pregnancy, I waited for ages to ASK her if I could touch her when the baby moved; just because we’re close doesn’t mean I had carte blanche. She grabbed my hand & placed it on her belly, saying she had been feeling a little sad that I hadn’t yet – I’m childfree so she thought maybe I wasn’t interested. I explained it was out of respect & so she didn’t feel I was there for her bump rather than for HER, which she appreciated once she considered it. When we’d go out, I was like her bodyguard – I couldn’t believe the amount of total strangers on the street who thought her body was a free-for-all. Gross. I swear, when I hear about what women like the OP put up with, I’m amazed we don’t hear more stories about pregnant ladies going on violent sprees. I’m not kidding when I say I’d probably end up in jail if I was ever expecting.
Too many people have this weird entitlement to women’s looks/bodies; pregnancy only exacerbates it. I think OP handled herself really well; she didn’t insult him back but let him know what he said wasn’t acceptable. I know we’d all like to clap back with a stinging comment but sometimes a simple, “that’s not nice” is more dignified. But if that loser ever says anything again, you could tell him that yes, you’re big – big enough to not point out HIS flaws of which I’m sure he has many cos it always seems like it’s the men who aren’t blessed in the Looks Dept themselves who say dumb, unwelcome things like this. It boils down to insecurity, I reckon.
People can not resist making comments on pregnant women’s bodies regardless of size. I’m 20 weeks and fairly small compared to some people at the same stage of pregnancy – understandable given I’m much taller than the average woman and I lost a bit of weight due to morning sickness in the first trimester, so even though I can now eat normally, I’m only just back to pre-pregnancy weight. The number of co-workers and other acquaintances who have made upsetting comments astounds me – along the lines of “You’re so small! Are you eating? You know it’s dangerous to diet while pregnant! Is the baby growing OK? When I was *insert weeks of pregnancy here* I was showing FAR more than you!” etc. These women have ALL been pregnant and you’d think they would remember the rude comments they received and realise that my size is simply None Of Their Business.
I deal with it by bean dipping – “My midwife is very happy with my weight. Ooh look, who wants a chocolate biscuit?”.