On getting offended by strangers…

belly1

So at this point in my life I am pregnant with my second child, about 7mths along. Contrary to my first, this baby is growing well [too well…?!] and I am subsequently much bigger than I was first time around.  In fact, the medical professionals think this baby [I have nicknamed him Boofa] is already larger than my daughter was at birth. And I still have 8 weeks cooking time. Yep, EIGHT. Sooooo … fun times.

Anyway, this means that I am constantly subject to comments from everyone about the size of my incubator.  Usually, the convo runs like this:
“Wow, look at you! How long have you got to go?”
“Still another 8 weeks,” said with a smile, often apologetic, though I have no idea why.
Oh. Ooohhhhh.” Slight look of fear crosses their face at this stage, followed by a “Wow”, or an encouraging “It looks hopeless but you’ll be OK!” kind of facial expression.

Sometimes though, I get comments that go a step further, from family members arguing with me that I can’t be 100% certain there is only one baby despite multiple scans [“Scans can be wrong, you know!” – “Yes, maybe in 1980, but these days quite unlikely considering I’ve had at least 6.”] to absolute strangers making fairly strong observations: “You look like your baby is going to fall out!”

I won’t say I never feel annoyed or want to say “Thank you, Captain Obvious,”, or that I am not myself sometimes concerned by the truly impressive size of my incubator, but if you go along with 90% of the internet articles, I must be HORRIBLY OFFENDED at all these people for MAKING COMMENTS on MY body.  For SPEAKING TO ME about something as PERSONAL as the size of my belly when they are clearly NOT ME or MY HUSBAND.

And the truth is, I’m not.  I don’t find it at all offensive that I have a large belly or that I’m growing a big baby this time….so why would I find it offensive that others also don’t mind it? No-one has said to me, “Ermahgawd, that stomach is DISGUSTING, you should be ASHAMED!” or anything of the like.  Pregnant women touch a chord with most people – remind us that life is an incredible miracle and often make us feel nostalgic, awe inspired, clucky, protective, happy…. a range of positive emotions – and people want to express that to me in their own special way.  Why would that offend me?

I am sure I would get offended if someone launched a personal attack at me, made assumptions about me, my lifestyle etc., and told me off for the crime they’ve decided I’m committing [say, told me I should be ashamed to be obviously eating so much shit so as to put on heaps of weight and endanger the health of my unborn child].  And that would be justified. But getting offended just because people make an observation, start a conversation, offer a compliment?   Come on people.  I find it sweet, sometimes a bit annoying, sometimes [like the ‘fall out’ comment] downright funny.

Aren’t there things in this world more important to be offended about? Greater atrocities? While so many peeps out there worry about and blog about *gasp* being asked if their twins are identical, or getting comments like “Wow, you’re quite big aren’t you!”, real, horrendous and actually important atrocities are being perpetrated every day.  Why isn’t the internet ‘breaking’ about those??

Haven’t we perhaps taken our new trend of being fiercely defensive of our right to have our own opinion go unchallenged so far as to now expect others not to express an opinion at all?  Are we so determined to be ‘politically correct’ at all times, and expect other to be as well, that we can no longer say anything because everything can be offensive to someone?  Or is it that some of us [read: a LOT of us] are so keen to secure five minutes of blogger fame that we will spew righteous indignation about genuinely innocent if somewhat blunt communication from friends, family or strangers….?

And then, these blogs are read by thousands who then think, “hey yeh, how DARE a person express an opinion or make an observation about me that isn’t exactly the same is mine?” and this then becomes their mindset.  And suddenly people stop talking to one another and the only communication that remains is via internet commentary where you may still offend but can retain anonymity. How sad is that for humankind?

So next time someone asks you something and it triggers a memory of a blog you read and you think ‘How dare they ask me that/make that innocent comment!’, take a step back, ask yourself if it really actually fucking matters and then get over yourself and ask the question again. 90% of the time I guarantee it doesn’t and you should just shrug it off and go find something real to worry about and fight for.  I’m not saying don’t be annoyed – but don’t forget that the intent was innocent and well intended.

And if it IS one of those 10% of comments or questions that is actually genuinely offensive, cause they certainly DO happen, and they suck – then just look at the person with pity and move on, because THAT person is not even worth your ire and their opinion is not worth the shit on the bottom of your shoe. Life is too short.

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One thought on “On getting offended by strangers…

  1. I totally agree with you on this post! Majority of the time the people interested in my huge bump don’t upset me. I think I mentioned in my post from tonight that I wasn’t upset by the lady at the servo. I just think I’m shocked by the comments sometimes because I’ve never been this pregnant before and I’m not accustomed to being in a position where strangers feel its ok to come up and give me their opinions on my body. Seriously though if I had a dollar for every time someone asked if it was twins haha. How do these people think modern ultrasound technology works?!? The 20 week scan took like an hour there’s no way a second baby was hiding out for that length of time!!

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