After an awkward incident at work, a woman has taken to social networking site Reddit to share her story.
She posted somewhat of a public service announcement to the TwoXChromosomes subreddit, a platform for women’s perspectives.
The woman, who goes by the username shebecameamystery (but whom we’ll call S for short) was behind a sales counter when a customer asked her when she was due. For a moment, she thought she may have misheard. Then the customer repeated, ‘Is it your first?’
Here’s the thing. S isn’t pregnant. And she thinks women should stop asking each other when they’re expecting, unless they are completely sure the person actually is expecting.
According to S, that one incident “made me question my sense of reality, my sense of self, and literally every outfit in my closet.
"For the next week at least, I will judge every outfit I try on not with 'How do I feel in this?' but 'Does this make me look pregnant?'"
Here's S's post in full:
Dear Woman Who Asked When I'm Due,
I tried really hard to ignore your question. I hoped perhaps I misheard you, and that you weren't about to force us both into an incredibly awkward situation, all while I'm trapped behind the sales counter with no way to escape. But I had heard you correctly, and when I pretended not to hear you, you did not get the hint, and instead you asked if this is my first.
Sadly, this is not my first time being asked this question, so I've gotten very skilled at smiling and saying "Oh, I'm not pregnant, ma'am", and then going back to what I'm doing in a way that forgives you for your error.
But this is not what I want to say to you. What I want to say to you is that you just ruined my day. I want to tell you that I just wrote an essay about how for the first time in a long time I feel good about my body, but that now I'm finding myself feeling the need to apologize for it.
With your one question you have made me question my sense of reality, my sense of self, and literally every outfit in my closet. For the next week at least, I will judge every outfit I try on not with "How do I feel in this?" but "Does this make me look pregnant?".
What I also want to say to you is that, while all you have done to me is make me feel fat, I have dear women in my life who have struggled for years with infertility and miscarriages, and for them, your questions would have felt so much worse. Thank goodness you asked me and not one of them.
So please- I know that you mean well. I know that you think babies are joyful and that you just want to share in that joy, but unless you are 100% certain that a woman is pregnant- unless she has just told you that she is pregnant or you see the baby coming out of her body- please do not ask or make comments.
Sincerely, Women Everywhere
Some women in the Reddit community didn't entirely agree with S's perspective.
One user wrote, "While I agree that asking someone if they are pregnant is a dangerous question, the reaction to it is all personal.
"It sounds like you are uncomfortable with your body in its current state, based on your posting. If someone can ask one question about it and ruin your week, then you need to change something about your life."
What's the worst advice you've ever been given? Post continues after video...
However, many others shared similar experiences.
Redditor quodestveritas wrote, "I've been asked twice in the past year if I'm pregnant. I bike and run so I'm not terribly fat, but I'm engaged and in my 30's so there's that?
"I mean even if I were, presumably that would be a bit of personal information I would choose to disclose? Why are women's reproductive systems considered public property?"
And then, there were those who had actually been the one to mistake a growing belly for a pregnancy. One user shared their cringeworthy experience:
This happened to me at work...
I worked with a gal at my previous company. She was on my team and we got along well, talked every day etc.
She eventually moved teams to another floor and I would only talk to her time to time via instant messenger. I hadn't physically seen her in almost a year. One morning I had a meeting on that particular floor and saw her as I was getting off the elevator.
"Oh my god, congrats! When are you due?"
"I'm not pregnant."
Her and her husband had been trying to have a kid since I started working with her. Apparently she had just put on a bunch of weight on her stomach and legitimately looked pregnant. I felt REALLY bad but it was an honest mistake.
At the end of the day, you can choose to be offended by this and do nothing OR stop getting offended and lose the weight. That's what I would do if I was overweight.
It looks like the approach of Redditor caribou16 is the safest: "Under no circumstances assume a woman is pregnant, up to and including her water breaking in front of you."