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No. I’m Not Pregnant. But Thanks for Asking…Jerk

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If there’s one thing you never, never EVER ask a woman of childbearing age, it’s, “Are you pregnant?”

Because—here’s a newsflash: Not everyone with a little bump in their belly is pregnant. Maybe they were at one or more points in the past, maybe they will be in the future, maybe they are right now, or maybe not. No matter what, if you have to ask, it’s probably not your business.

It doesn’t matter how curious you are about her suspicious looking belly—just. don’t. ask.

When the answer is a defiant “no,” it can result in uncomfortable silence, fumbling attempts to backtrack and apologize, and a quick journey into total body analysis by the not-pregnant lady.

not pregnant thanks for asking

The outfit I was wearing which prompted someone to ask, “Are you pregnant?” The answer? No!

As a thirty-something woman whose body has stretched and strained to grow three children over the last seven years, I’ve gotten this question a few times—usually from well-meaning little old ladies or clueless middle-aged men. It can be a bit…awkward. This question typically comes from the same type of person who feels they have carte blanche to offer “advice” to women who actually are pregnant.

Generally, I’m not overly self-conscious about my body, but like any mom whose mid-section has been irrevocably changed by pregnancy and childbirth, I am sensitive about comments that draw attention to it. The “are you pregnant” question shines a too-bright light on one of my deepest insecurities about my own body. Perhaps that’s why I’m a bit defensive.

pregnant mama before induction

A photo of me several hours before I was induced with baby #3. If you saw me in this state, I’d forgive you for asking me if I was pregnant.

Sure, I could stand to lose 10 pounds, but I am not so overweight or in possession of such an oddly shaped body that you could be forgiven for thinking I’m in the third trimester. I eat pretty well, occasionally utilize my Y membership, and I spend kind of an inordinate amount of time assembling outfits that minimize my middle. I know what not to wear; I don’t go around in tight t-shirts and jeans or billowy, empire-waist shirts and leggings.

So asking, “Are you pregnant?” not only draws attention to a physical flaw of mine, but also—because I do make an effort to conceal that “flaw”—reminds me that I failed at that too. You just can’t win.

“Wouldn’t it be better for you if you just firmed up those abs, so you wouldn’t have to live in constant fear of people thinking you’re pregnant?” some might ask. Good question, but I’m doing the best I can here. Raising three children, working a full time job, maintaining a relationship with my husband, and piecing together a social life does not leave much time or energy to do the necessary crunches to rid myself of the excess belly jiggle incurred from multiple pregnancies.

Maybe the people tempted to ask, “Are you pregnant?” should do some sleuthing through the grapevine, or just wonder silently about that question—letting the curiosity eventually kill them.

Like I said, I really am not terribly insecure about my body. It’s not perfect, but it’s not my enemy either. However, it is mine, and there’s really no need for anyone else to comment on it. I’ll leave you with some possible responses to the dreaded question, “Are you pregnant?”

“No, but I have some wicked stretch marks from my three pregnancies, wanna see?”

“I don’t think so, but I’ll let you know in about nine months.”

“No, I just had a really big breakfast/lunch/dinner.” (Choose appropriate meal based on time of day the jerk asks you the question.)

“Nope, just my muffin top. Mmmm, muffin top. Wow, I’m hungry. Gotta go.”

And finally, “Oh dear God, what if I actually am pregnant?!?!”

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