At 22 weeks pregnant with my first baby, I was finally starting to feel good about the way I looked as a future mama – the shock had worn off (mostly), my fuller tummy now had a decisive baby bump, and my skin (which had broken out like the onset of a vicious second puberty) was starting to calm down.
I was wearing a fitted black dress and boots and was feeling more like myself than I had for months, if a little nervous.
The cause for alarm? My partner and I were headed out to his twin nephews’ pirate-themed fifth birthday party (I know, not generally a code red). But I have a checkered history with his family, and my sister-in-law generally goes out of her way to be nasty, so I was gearing up all morning for birthday cake with a side of potential mutiny.
My fears were justified within 10 minutes of our arrival, when a (well-meaning but oh-so-misguided) close member of my husband’s family walked over to assure me that she was being very careful not to get me in any of her family photos. You know, since I “probably wouldn’t want to be photographed, looking the way I do in my current state.”
I found the (increasingly narrow and unpopulated) high road and walked away. I then ran into my sister in law, who had never said a word about the pregnancy to me, even though the baby will be her children’s cousin. When I asked if she needed help in the kitchen, she told me to just “go back outside and look fat.” Twice. Which I guess was partly my fault because I was certain I had misheard her the first time and asked her to repeat herself.
There were far too many tiny pirates and princesses around for me to use the language I would have liked, but when I calmly told her she was out of line, her response was not to worry, there would be “another fatty coming along later who was even bigger than me, so I wouldn’t need to feel as bad about myself then.”