things i have learned after more than half a year of pregnancy:
- there are plenty of people who know you who claim to love you and to care for you who will insult you without provocation about your pregnancy. either you are too fat, chubby, gained too much weight in your pregnancy. they will try to make your body a public spectacle. a part of my family a few weeks after not seeing me for over a year, came into my home, grabbed my body, poked my breasts and belly, and then slapped me on my ass. this behaviour was performed by an older male relative as well as his wife and child…when i tried over and over again to establish physical or verbal boundaries i was ignored again and again. i then told them to go fuck themselves. this male relative then played the ‘victim’ talking about how ‘hurt’ he was by my response. isnt this common that those who perpetrate the violation of your body are the first to cry ‘victim’! the sad part is that considering how he and other members of my family considered his and his family’s behaviour to be ‘normal’ then i am not the first person to be sexually harrassed by him…what did i learn? always speak up for your right to be treated as a human being with dignity.
- when you do speak up for yourself and you are pregnant…people will attribute your strange and unusual behaviour (the audacity of you to tell others not to sexually harrass you or violate your body!) to you being pregnant. pray to god that there is not some secret hormone that starts to act when you are give birth which makes you unable to stand up for yourself or your child.
- no matter what choices you have made for your baby-rearing (working mom or stay at home, formula or breastfeeding, drug free labor or c-section, cloth diapers or disposable, etc.) there will always be those who are highly critical and insulting of your choices…telling you how irresponsible you are, stupid you are, lazy you are, unrealistic, etc. the best way to deal with these insults are to ask: who the fuck are you? even if you dont feel comfortable saying so out loud keep saying it in your head over and over again? and try to find the answer. who the fuck are you? you are a woman who has never been pregnant and never had children. you are a woman who convinced yourself that you had to give up your dreams in order to have a child and have spent the past decades resentful of your choices. you are someone who feels intimidated and jealous and afraid because if i can envision another way of living then you are afraid that i will spend my time looking down on you, insulting you, and negatively judging you. as if i have the time to worry about your life…
- some of your friends/peers will treat you as if your pregnancy is an inconvenience to their fun. they will complain about how slow you are, or how boring your life is now, or how disgusting the entire concept of pregnancy is…again, jealousy and fear rear its ugly head. they will compare you to invisible pregnant friends who bungee jumped in their 8th month of pregnancy or something else fabulous and exhausting. or they will sit down next to you and out of the blue tell you that your body will never be the same again. and give up and wanting to wear a bikini in a year. and they will compare you to being sick. as if you have had the flu for the past 7 months and not a growing fetus inside your uterus. your friends are having a complex set of issues hypnotizing them into forgetting how to be a real friend. first, they are reacting out of a classic internalized sexist fear of the female body. they have in some way convinced themselves that their are no biological differences between the xx and the xy and the myriad of other genetic sex combinations and so your round belly and glowing skin freaks them out. if this could happen to you maybe this could happen to them and then they would have to deal with the complexity of gender identification…god forbid…second, in a patriarchial society the pregnant body is idealized iconografied and used as the picture of ‘true womanhood’, they feel as if you have gained some societal privilege by being pregnant and they just want to ‘put you in your place’. well, if you have become the poster child for an oppressed people (i.e. women) that is not a privilege. dont get it twisted. third, you are so beautiful, so fabulous, so lucky, you make it all look so easy and effortless, and their lives in comparison seem to be lackluster. just remind your friends that your life is even better than they can imagine. they have every right to be jealous…its only human.