I went to my exercise class the other day wearing my new maternity winter white down jacket. I use all of those adjectives because I mean, it’s pretty big. My mom got it for me for Christmas and when I tried it on, I didn’t feel, you know, beautiful. I felt large. “It is just to keep you warm,” my mom said. “I know,” I said. I knew I was just going to have to deal with it. I’m not one to really like this saying, but here it is, “it is what it is.”
I repeat that saying as I thump along the streets. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP!
So anyway, I was walking down the steps to my exercise class wearing that jacket and another student (about 60 years old or so) smiles at me and says, “When are you due?” But the “due” part kind of dragged on like this; “when are you duuueeeee.” I knew she thought I was going to say, “Any day now,” but I didn’t. I said a surprising, “early March.” Early March isn’t even the case but I had to shave off a few weeks based on her wide eyes. “OH!” She said. And then the pre-emptive defensive me said this, “I know, my belly is large.” What she was SUPPOSED to say was this, “No, it’s not, you look great.” After all, most women in their 60’s have probably had children and have been where I’m at. So they know. Throw me a bone. But she didn’t say that. She said, “This CAN’T be your first.” “No,” I responded, “It’s my third.” “That’s what I thought,” she continued on with no regard for my state of mind or hormones. “I gained the most with my 3rd too. At this point, who cares right? As long as the baby is healthy………………”
Why does she think I gained the most with this one? I haven’t. In fact, I’m in pretty good shape despite my big belly. She is saying this knowing I’m about to do 30 pushups at 32 weeks pregnant???
I walked away as she was saying all that nonsense to stuff my large winter white down coat in my cubby so her words trailed off. And then I mentally shut out her voice and pressed my lips together so not to cry. At that point, I thought to myself, “people can be so….” What’s the word even? I don’t know. Annoying. Cruel. Spiteful. No, those aren’t the right words. People can be so “clueless.” That’s it. People can be so incredibly clueless.
When I got home, I walked in the door and my kids said to me, “you look like a snow monster.”
Thank goodness my self-confidence comes from within and is not based on what is on the outside especially as I flaunt my coat all over town. Otherwise, I’m sure I would be somewhere with spa blue walls and people telling me over and over again that I need to take my meds as I drool nonsense about snow monsters and white down coats. “No,” they would say, “you don’t look like a snow monster Noreen. Now open wide.”
Being pregnant is not the easiest time for women. EVERYONE has an opinion. EVERYONE believes they have the right to say ANYTHING to you. And most people have NO REGARD for a pregnant woman’s hormones, feelings, or state of mind. They simply become CLUELESS when a pregnant woman approaches even if they have had children too; even if they gained 70 pounds with that child. Still, it is like it has never happened.
“You still have 7 weeks to go? How can your belly get any bigger?”
“March huh. You still have a LONG way to go.”
“Another girl. (Insert spiteful laugh) Your house is going to be full of hormones.”
I thank God for the people who have said nice things to me. They have saved me.
When I left class that day, one of the owners of the bar studio said to me, “Noreen, you are inspiring so many students by coming to class. You look great and are doing amazing.”
She has no idea how much she saved me that day!
I guess that can be my lesson in life. There will be people who will say mean things. There will be people who will make you feel bad. There will be people who hurt you, talk bad about you behind your back or to your face.
There are more people out there who will say kind things to you. There will be people who encourage you and lift you up. Stay close to them. After all, they are the angels in your life.
But don’t let any of them hold too much clout over you either. The person, who should hold the most belief in you, is yourself. Let that voice stay strong.
I did cry that day after I got home because I’m pregnant. But then I lifted myself up and told myself that no matter what anyone says or how big my belly is or the fact that my thighs are expanding and my face looks full; I said to myself, “I am beautiful.”
Make sure you tell yourself that today no matter what size you are or where you are at. Whether you are pregnant or not at your ideal weight or have stretch marks from carrying your children or arms that shake when you wave; tell yourself the same thing over and over again. Tell your children the same thing over and over again.
You are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful. The outside can always be worked on. The inside is what counts!
~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies