In our society of the body beautiful, our fixation on the external beauty of thin, young and flawless we have sadly lost touch with the divine feminine beauty.
This is becoming most evident to me as a 7-month pregnant female in our visual dominant society. In years gone by artisans created sculptures of an abundant bosom, belly and bottom and celebrated the beauty of such a form. Round, voluptuous, feminine and beautiful. Today, in contrast our society and media interpret beauty as a young, slim, androgynous female figure splashed over endless forms of mediums. Reinforcing a feminine form which is attainable for very few.
For pregnant women it appears we are open slather for comment, discussion and analysing. It’s as if in our culture when we spot a pregnant women it is completely fine to comment on her size and shape. Now this shouldn’t be a problem if we are celebrating the beauty of her form but most often it is thoughtless comments effectually causing dis-empowerment.
A pregnant woman is well and truly aware of her size. As she dresses and tries to find clothing that still fits her abundant form, as she tries to sleep and find a comfortable position. Whether you think she looks small or large for her stage of pregnancy is not an invitation to comment your beliefs or insights to her. Telling a woman she looks small for her stage of pregnancy is not a compliment she may be struggling to keep food down and / or her baby may be underweight and to remind her of this is not helping her feel any better.
In my first pregnancy I had an imaginary file, that whenever someone made a comment of how large I was, I wrote them up in the insensitive bast@#$d file.
This pregnancy I have found myself trying to educate those who make thoughtless comments about how we are built differently those like myself with short torsos often look bigger than those with longer torsos. In reality my bump is average size in relation to the measurement taken by my midwife from pubic bone to sternum. As the insensitivity of the comments towards me increases or my ability to allow the comments to wash over me decreases, I have decided to write this article.
Following is a guide to help avoid encouraging and perpetuating mindless commentary on the beautiful pregnant female. All examples are taken from real life interactions.
Handy Hint: Remember to always take a moment to breathe and if at doubt make no comment perhaps a smile would suffice. As a wise person once said, it is better to keep your mouth closed and look stupid then to open it and prove you are.
Case Study one:
You see a pregnant women possibly a friend, before speaking, breathe then state, “Oh my God! You are huge!” (Wrong answer)
“Oh my God! You look beautiful and so wonderfully round!” (Right answer)
Choose your words wisely go beyond, Big, Large and Huge try abundant or bountiful.
Case Study two:
You see a pregnant woman you ask how far along is she. You breathe then state,
“Are you having twins?” (Wrong answer)
“ You are absolutely blossoming!’ (Right answer)
Think about how many pregnant women with twins you are accustomed with, then realise what a ridiculous statement, ‘are you having twins?’ is.
Case Study three:
You are a host on a game show, a pregnant women sits down on the ‘hot seat’, you announce to the audience that she is pregnant, breathe then state,
“How is it going? You look enormous, and your only half way!’ (Wrong answer)
“ Your half way and its all going well, fantastic, give her a round of applause everyone!’ (Right answer)
Yay for Eddie! A pregnant woman definitely wants a round of applause for being pregnant. The wrong answer written here is made up. All other answers in this list of case studies actually happened including the right answer in this case study.
Case Study four:
You are about to do a yoga class and the teacher is pregnant. You breathe then state,
“Are you able to teach? You look like your about to pop…I thought you must be having twins.” “Maybe the horizontal stripes aren’t flattering.” (Wrong answer)
“Its wonderful you are able to teach whilst pregnant.” (Right answer)
Once you have inadvertently made a thoughtless comment. Best to apologise and quit trying to cover your first comment.
Case Study five:
You are riding in a tram, head down doing a Sudoku, sitting in the seat reserved for older passengers, those with mobility issues and special conditions. A pregnant woman struggling with a heavy bag in a packed tram asks you for the seat reserved for special conditions. You breathe then state,
“I’ve had a bad day can you ask someone else?” (Wrong answer)
“Of course, please sit down.” (Right answer)
Take a moment to think about someone else maybe your day will get better by offering your seat to those truly in need. Gratitude and thanks always makes you feel better. If your day has truly been bad then standing in the tram is not really going to make it any worse.
Case Study six:
Its your birthday, you are having dinner in a restaurant with friends, you stop to chat with your pregnant friend. You breathe then state,
“You look dreadful. You look so tired.” (Wrong answer)
“All my friends who are pregnant and new mums look so sexy.” (Right answer)
Pregnant women and new mums are sexy and like to be told so.
Case Study Seven
Your friend announces she is 4 months pregnant with her second child. You breathe then state,
‘I didn’t know you were pregnant, you were still with that post baby bump and now you have a real pregnant bump.’ (Wrong answer)
“Congratulations! How wonderful and exciting.” (Right answer)
Not all women will have six packs or want to look like a head on a stick; women should have curves especially after a baby. Don’t project your idea of beauty onto others. Women come in all shapes and sizes and its what is inside that makes a woman beautiful.
Case Study Eight
You are a bank teller; you are keeping a pregnant lady with an irritated toddler waiting whilst you chat about your weekend to the teller attendant beside you. You finally invite the beautiful pregnant woman forward for service. You breathe then state,
“Are you hanging out?” (Wrong answer)
“I hope all is going well with your pregnancy.” (Right answer)
All pregnancies are different and unique, don’t project negativity to pregnant women no matter what your experience may have been, positive or not, a well wish to pregnant women is always appreciated.
Case Study Nine
You are walking down the street with a large pram not looking where you are going, you are about to crash into a pregnant women, she states look out, you breathe and state,
‘Oh! You poor thing, close now.’ (Wrong answer)
‘Excuse me, you look beautiful, I like to tell pregnant women how beautiful they look.’ (Right answer)
A pregnant woman is not a ‘poor thing’ she is beautiful, and creating and sustaining life. A miraculous process is taking place in her body; she is creating our future generation. A celebration!’
Case Study Ten
You see a pregnant friend on the street; you call over and rush towards her. You breathe and state,
‘Your belly is huge!’ as you grab her and run your hands all over her belly. (Wrong answer and action)
‘Oh! You are glowing and look radiant; can I touch your belly? She grants permission as you gently touch her belly in awe. (Right answer and action)
Even if you are familiar with the pregnant lady always ask before touching their belly, and await permission. Not all pregnant women like being touched on the belly.
Pregnancy is amazing, creative and magical. It is not about shape or size it is about creating life. As a culture we need to celebrate pregnant women and this divine time in their lives. Don’t focus on her shape or size. Ask her how she is feeling, support and celebrate her, tell her how much you admire her.
For further information on her teaching: visit www.flufkinyoga.com.au