Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not a "Real Mommy"

I've been reading a lot of mom blogs and parenting articles and baby/pregnancy related things online lately. Makes sense, since that's the page of life I'm on. But yesterday I read a post on Scary Mommy that really upset me.

I usually really like Scary Mommy. I find their posts funny, informative, interesting. This one was trying to be funny, I know that. But I think the joke was a little one sided.

The author went on, at length, about how when you get pregnant you are going to get fat. That's fine. I'm definitely bigger than I was pre-pregnancy (and that makes sense, since I'm currently carrying a two pound human in my belly).

But she made one comment - and it was really just this one comment that hurt me - "if you don't get fat, all of us real moms will hate you."

I'm not fat. And here's the thing. I've never been fat. To assume that I have no body issues or have never been given grief about my size, though, is idiotic.

I've had grandmothers fret over my thin arms. I've had people ask me how much (or if) I eat. Do you want to know what it feels like to know that people think you have an eating disorder when you don't? It isn't fun. It made me second guess my body size, type, my health. And yes, I said "made" past tense because now I don't care. I know my body and I'm old enough to know that people can be accidentally insensitive, both to those who are overweight and to those who are not.

During this pregnancy I've heard more times than I can count, "Oh, you're so tiny!" Or "How far along are you?" in incredulous tones, as if I can't possibly know the real number - look how small I am. It has caused me stress - what if I'm not growing enough? Should I eat more? Is my baby okay?

My midwives are happy with my size. They have, without knowing it, reassured me so many times. When people say things, not meaning to be hurtful or dreaming that they're causing me stress - some of them even think they're complimenting me - I can say to myself, I'm the right size for me and my baby. My baby is healthy. I know this baby better than anyone and I know my body better than anyone and they can all go to hell. And I can smile and say out loud whatever socially appropriate response I've been taught to say.

And then I read an article stating that because I'm not 50 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, I'm not a real mommy and I get furious. So this moving little one is fake? I'm not genuinely pregnant because my body is different from yours? That makes my motherhood null and void to you?

I got angry. I cried a bit. I am (whatever that author may say) genuinely pregnant and hormonal, and both anger and tears come much more easily than they did before.

And I kinda want to find that woman and tell her to her well-intentioned face, Go fuck yourself. You and all the other "real mommies" out there. Because I'm as real a mother as anyone else and when we, even in jest, start judging each other as parents based on our fucking body size, something is really, really wrong with us.

And I don't think that's funny at all.

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