Most people have enough sense to keep their mouths shut when it comes to talking about someone else’s body — at least to their face. But when you’re pregnant, it seems like all semblance of common decency goes flying out the window. Suddenly, strangers feel it’s perfectly fine to barrage moms-to-be with questions and comments about their pregnant bodies.
I was shocked by how often this happened to me. I got everything from, “Oh, you’re carrying high. Must be a boy,” to “You look like you’ve got three basketballs in there!” Others made off-handed comments about how much weight I seemed to be gaining. It was as though my feelings about the whole thing had absolutely no importance: I was just a baby vessel, and open to anyone’s opinion and theories.
Every fiber of my being wanted to tell the world to kindly STFU. But honestly, I was too polite to do much besides smile and nod — and then try to run the hell away if I could.
That’s why I fell instantly in love with a new video by Jill Krause, the brutally honest blogger behind Baby Rabies. In her video “What (Not) To Say To A Pregnant Woman,” Jill speaks directly to those who feel it’s totally cool to walk up to pregnant women and spout nonsense about their bodies.
What’s more, Jill delivers it all with just the right blend of snark and clever wit, so that anyone who’s ever been pregnant can’t help but pump their fists right along with her and scream, “PREACH!” (At least, I know I did.)
The video, which was shared on Jill’s Facebook page September 18, is quickly going viral, with over 5K likes, 5K shares, and 800 comments so far. From those numbers, it’s clear Jill and I aren’t the only ones who can’t freaking stand it when people scrutinize our super-cute pregnant bodies (seriously: they are nothing but CUTE, thankyouverymuch).
Jill, who’s currently pregnant with her fourth child, kicks things off with a sarcastic shout-out to a rude man she recently encountered while running errands:
“This goes out to the guy who walked up to me in the grocery store,” Jill writes, “ … demanded to know my due date — LIKE HE IS ENTITLED TO KNOW IT — then rudely replied, ‘Damn, girl. You SURE it’s not twins?!’ and walked away.”
Seriously? What kind of jackass thinks stuff like this is OK to say (to a stranger, no less) in any way?
“Suggestion for those of you who aren’t pregnant,” Jill says to the camera, “There is no other human condition in which it is appropriate for a stranger to approach another person in a public space and make a comment on the appearance of their body. The next time that you are so taken aback by a pregnant woman’s appearance that you feel the need to say something to her, this is all you’re allowed to say”
She then takes a nice pregnant pause (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) before saying: “You look amazing.”
Yep, that’s it. The only acceptable thing to say when commenting on a woman’s pregnant body — if you really must say anything at all — is just that. You. look. amazing.
And to that, I say, hell YEAH.
There truly is nothing anyone needs to say besides how beautiful a pregnant woman looks. It doesn’t matter if her feet have swollen to the size of watermelons or if the width of her hips has seemingly doubled over night. She is housing an entire human being inside her body, people; and she is therefore nothing short of a miracle worker and a goddess.
“I don’t care if she looks like Jabba the Hutt incubating a small planet,” says Jill. “None of any of this is technically your business. So if you’re not going to say ‘You look amazing’ or ‘Congratulations, you’re glowing,’ then shut up. And turn around, and move on with your life.”
I’m seriously wondering why I didn’t have Jill around when I was pregnant to tell off the countless strangers who ruined my day by talking about my body as though there wasn’t an actual human being with real feelings attached to it.
Babble was able to catch up with Jill to ask get more of her thoughts on the matter, as well as what the reaction has been to the widespread sharing of her video.
“I get that some people ‘mean well’ when they say these things, but also, I’m not entirely convinced they all do,” Jill tells Babble. “I think for some it’s just an open invitation for them to say rude stuff, and it seems socially acceptable for them to do so. In my experience, the one that sparked the video, there was absolutely nothing kind about what was said to me in his tone or his body language.”
As for what the response has been to the video, Jill has been pleasantly surprised to find that tons of women have had similar experiences, and feel as angry about the matter as she does. “I think, based on the response, I’m not alone in feeling like a lot of these comments don’t come from a kind place,” she says.
The fact is that women — pregnant or not — are constantly scrutinized about their bodies. For our whole lives, we’ve been fed messages from the media — and even from friends and family — that our bodies are flawed, ugly, or simply not good enough in one way or another. I wish more people would realize how rude and hurtful those kind of comments can be to pregnant women in particular.
But to those who just don’t see “what the big deal is,” I suggest you watch Jill’s video one more time, and put yourself in a pregnant woman’s shoes for a minute.
And then? Shut your mouth, zip your lips, and find something else to talk about. Or, if you don’t have anything kind to say, how about saying nothing at all?