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no, please, tell me how fat I am, I haven't noticed

Pregnancy briefly puts one in a very odd social position. When I am not with child, my body and my sexuality are private matters. I may gain or lose weight, I may do things with my vagina, but these are not the subjects of polite conversation. Yet when it is clear I am pregnant, strangers suddenly feel free to come up to me and comment on the distribution of fat in my body. They even feel at liberty to palpate it with their hands! And then they suggest what the width of my stomach or the roundness of my ass may indicate vis a vis the gender of my child or the time at which said child might emerge from my nether regions. At church or at the gym or even in the grocery store I have these conversations.

"How many babies you got in there?"

"It must be a girl because you're SO big."

"It looks like that thing's coming out tomorrow!"

My belly has jutted far enough into the public sphere that nothing about my body is now private.

Of course, pregnancy is a temporary condition, and there are worse intrusions that I escape being white and privileged. (If I was a person of color, for example, I might never have an end date for feeling scrutinized in public.) Still, it's hard to not feel a little bit aggrieved, when some stranger asks for the zillionth time whether there's a risk of my water breaking while I'm in this store shopping. Or when the woman in the row behind me at church asks "How far along are you... that's it? You look SO MUCH BIGGER!"

And I prayed very earnestly for that bitch's hump-back, too. Maybe she doesn't remember that, what when there's FATNESS in front of her, demanding to be POINTED OUT.

Of course there's nothing for it. I could stay in the house for the next two months, or I can try to manage my emotions better. It seems a shame that I have to do all the hard work of forgiving, when so few people seem to be able to do the relatively easy work of keeping their opinions to themselves. But I guess that's the burden of motherhood.

Someone's camera phone photo, emailed to me with the caption "BIG memory." Camera phones should be illegal.

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