You know, before I got pregnant I would read articles all the time shedding light on pregnancy-related no-nos. The usual comments always came up; Things like: “Don’t touch a pregnant woman’s stomach without asking” and “Never ask if she is having twins” etc. But no one warned me about people, usually other women, usually mothers themselves, asking me incredibly personal questions.
Further and further along in my pregnancy, I have noticed more and more (mostly) women feel that it is ok to ask me private, personal, invasive and downright embarrassing (for me) questions. Now I get it that some of you out there are an open book of bodily functions and the beauty of human form and yada yada yada. Good for you. I’ve been told time and time again that once the baby is here, I will be less private and less reserved about my own body. Maybe I will, and maybe I won’t, but at the end of the day, that is MY CHOICE. As is my choice to voluntarily enter into a conversation with another person whom I feel safe and comfortable with regarding personal and private manners.
I would need more than my two hands to count how many times I’ve been asked a private question during this pregnancy that I have been uncomfortable answering (or rather shouldn’t have been put on the spot to answer because it’s none of their damn business). It started early on when I noticed several female clients at work felt that it was ok to comment on the size of my breasts. I even had one say, “I was going to ask you if you had a boob job, but then I thought ‘there was no way she would want them even bigger’ so you must be pregnant right?”. Then as my pregnancy progressed it was comments like, “Have you been struggling with constipation?” “Have you had any issues with haemorrhoids yet?” “Have your nipples started leaking?” and “Are you going to go for a wax before the baby comes?”.
This has completely perplexed me, perhaps because I would never dream of asking someone a question like this unless we were already down the rabbit hole in a private conversation and had established that comfort level. And that is the thing, most of these have come out of left field! “Hows baby doing? Good? Have you suffered from vaginal swelling?”. What is worse, is when I respond with, “wow that is a very personal question,” only to be told that I’m uptight or that I will be much less concerned about these things once I become a mother. Since when was it ever ok to downplay someone’s personal boundaries?
“Is there some sort of secret society or club that you enter when you give birth that gives you carte blanch to ask other females these types of questions? Count me out thanks.”
Perhaps some women feel it is a right of passage. Perhaps it was done to them so now they feel it is ok to do as well. Maybe, they genuinely want to help, having suffered from certain ailments privately themselves (Hey, I do like to see the good in people). Most of the women I have had these comments from clearly delivered babies in an era before regular internet access. Perhaps they only had their own mothers and books to rely on.
Either way, I’m kinda done with it.
I want to express as well that this is in no way me not wanting to create open and honest female friendship bonds. I’m all for a sisterhood of frank conversations and empowerment when entered into knowingly and thoughtfully. This is making another person feel uncomfortable by asking a personal, private or intrusive question that you have no right to ask.
“This is about being mindful of other peoples boundaries.”
So ladies (or gents who’ve maybe witnessed this or worse, participated) do tell me, how do you feel about this topic? Have you ever caught yourself making an intrusive or invasive comment that clearly has made someone uncomfortable (I’m sure we all have). Have you been subjected to it?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!