Complimenting a Pregnant Woman

On the way to a shoot in Santa Cruz the other day, my photog Felipe gave me one of the best compliments I've received this entire pregnancy.

Him: You know I keep forgetting you're pregant, except for when I see you.

Me: ...Thanks! ...That's a compliment right? ...You mean...I'm demanding as ever...

(And yes, even with all those dot dot dots, I still talk faster than the regular person)

Him: Yeah, no it's totally like, you're just as efficient.

And THAT is how you compliment a pregnant working lady/woman/future transgender person who is able to carry a child.

Not to sound like an ingrate, which is something I actually would take great umbrage with if you were to say I were an ingrateful person because I actually make an effort to be forever conscious of the many many things I am grateful for all the time, but every time someone asks me how I'm doing, I wince a little.

It's totally NOT a normal reaction and I recognize that. People are being kind, courteous, polite. But as the lady walking around with the kids' size soccer ball belly and extra 35+ pounds, every time you ask me, "How are you feeling?" it's a reminder that you're seeing Pregnant Vicky and not just Vicky Vicky.

It's all the extra considerations for Pregnant Vicky, like no, no you go ahead and get in the line in the diner first, or no, no we'll flatten ourselves against the hallway so your enormity can pass peacefully, or no, no we don't expect the same from you because, well OBVIOUSLY, you're pregnant so you can't POSSIBLY be the same person who works at the same level.

I'm sure it's a neurosis of mine, but it's also a very real change in the way people view you, treat you, talk to you, consider you. I have never wanted special pregnancy treatment, at work or anywhere else. Except yeah I have no problem asking you to please pick up the phone I just dropped that rolled two feet under my desk. I mean, retrieving that would be like, impossible. But otherwise, if we normally work together and we don't normally talk about my kids or family, I prefer it stay that way.

Not out of antisocial meanness, but because it perturbs me to think you think I'm radically different now that I'm cultivating a small person.

And yet, I am totally guilty of doing this to other pregnant women. You get excited for them, they're carrying a life, it's a crazy physical transformation that results in the creation of ANOTHER HUMAN. It's totally natural to recognize that and notice it and comment on it and ask how someone is doing when they're pregnant. 

But when it's directed toward me, I cringe inside. When I'm at work, I just want to be Work Vicky, the same Vicky you knew 35+ pounds ago, before the flip flops and ever present giant black wrap sweater. 

And the question that I'm getting so much lately, "WHEN are you DUE?" Because when you're 5'2" and normally 105lbs, even if you're still 6 weeks away from giving birth, you look like you could pop at any second. Constantly being reminded that you look that way is less fun.

It's why I'm always so relieved when I go to an interview and my subject says absolutely nothing about my condition. When they don't ask if it's a boy or girl, or if it's my first, or how many more months do I have to go. When they just sit down, answer my questions, and we go our separate ways. It's like a nice moment of normalcy that I have rarely had in the last few months as my belly swells to proportions that make me question whether I will ever fit into 98% of my closet again. 

The Good Doctor says I will, and that with both previous pregnancies I would always ask in the third trimester: Will I always wear giant granny underwear from now on?

Answer TBD.

Vicky NguyenComment