This is more of a reflection on being pregnant for the first time, than it is related to multiples, so take from it what you will. I am 16 weeks pregnant with twins, now, and there have been plenty of things that have been surprising thus far. (Who knew that a pregnancy symptom was getting bloody noses? Or your gums bleeding like crazy when you floss?) There have been plenty of things that haven’t been so surprising, too. (It taking a while to set in that there are babies growing in there, not just unexplained weight gain, etc.)
Of course, I knew that people would walk up to you and touch your stomach without hesitating or comment on how big or small you are. But, I didn’t know how uncomfortable I’d feel in that spotlight. It could be that I’ve been a therapist in the realm of eating disorder treatment for 7 years and have it quite engrained in my head that you just don’t comment on the size of other women’s bodies, positively or negatively. It could be that I’m a feminist and believe that women’s bodies are private property. Sometimes there isn’t even a touching of the stomach. But, I’ll run into one of my parents friends who I know knows that I’m pregnant with twins, but I haven’t seen since. And their eyes immediately go to my stomach. I’m sure I’ve done this a gazillion times to other pregnant women, too. It’s natural. You hear they’re pregnant, and the first thing you do is look to see if they’re showing. And if you hear they’re having twins-all the more reason to see if they look bigger than you’d expect. But there’s something in that gaze that feels invasive to me. It feels like implied judgment-are you eating enough for three of you? You don’t look as big/little as so-and-so did when she was pregnant with twins… I know, I’ll need to get used to this.
Another thing. Thanks to you all, I was prepared for many of the intrusive questions: “Do twins run in your family?” “Did you do fertility treatments?” And for the unwarranted commentary: “Better you than me.” “Double trouble,” and the like. I don’t think I was prepared for how many people, most of whom don’t even have multiples, would “warn” me about how hard it will be. I want to make a t-shirt, or a stamp for my forehead that reads, “Yes, I know it will be hard. Please be excited for us anyways.” I’ve already got the list in my head of things never to say to infertile women. (“Don’t worry, you’re young.” “If you just relax, it’ll happen.” “At least you don’t have cancer.”) And now I’m starting to compile a list in my head of things I’ll try never to say to a pregnant woman. My number one: “You’re tired now, just wait!”
The upside to all of this is that I’m probably developing a thicker skin. And I suppose a positive way to look at the very private experience of being pregnant becoming public is that many of these people are simply trying to help take care of me and my growing babies.
What would you put on the list of things you’ll never say to a pregnant woman?