It happened again. This is the third time. Again, ironically, at the gym.
The first time it happened was the most bizarre. My kids and I had done the ALS Ice bucket Challenge and posted the video on Facebook. Shortly after, I got a message from a FB “friend” who I knew from high school and had not seen since. Her message said something like this:
“Hi! Remember me? I just saw your ice bucket video and was just wondering something. I hate to even ask this, and I hope it doesn’t offend you, but here goes, are you *cringe* ‘expecting’? It’s just that your legs and arms are so trim and I noticed that your stomach isn’t. I really hope that you are pregnant and I haven’t just totally offended you”.
I don’t know what I was ‘expecting’, but it wasn’t that! And….um…. yeah…. you offended me. Because (a) I am not, in fact, “expecting” and (b) I have not seen or talked to you in 20 years! If you have to assume you’re going to offend someone and type “*cringe*” into a message before you type something, here’s a thought…..DON’T SAY IT!!!!
I replied with “Nope, I am not pregnant :)” Why the smiley face? I felt like I had to soften the blow to her that she had, in fact, been wrong. I don’t know what I expected in reply. Maybe an apology? Some embarrassment for having stuck her foot in her mouth? Instead I got this:
“Have you been to the doctor about your abdomen? My mom had a cancerous tumor in her abdomen and she looked like you. I hope that is not the case, but if it is I will feel better for mentioning it to you so you can catch it now”. She then went on to explain to me, in detail, how much weight she had gained since high school and how she is embarrassed of her back fat and her jiggly underarms.
Okay, so wait…. first you call me pregnant and then you suggest I have cancer?!?! WTF? You have not seen me in person in 20 years!
For the record, I am not, in fact, pregnant, nor do I have a cancerous abdominal tumor. And also for the record, I have zero interest in someone who I have not seen or talked to in two decades or their rotund spinal regions and gelatinous arms.
The second time was at the gym. I had just finished a class and was walking out chatting with a lady who I had talked to many times before. In the middle of our conversation she asked “So when are you due?”
“Due to what? Lose some weight? Today, apparently”. She stammered something about how it must have been the shirt I was wearing, blah, blah, but how do you recover from that? You can’t. We haven’t talked since.
It is true that I have gained some weight. It started three years ago. Ironically, when I began training for my first 1/2 marathon. I can blame my weight gain on many factors: my age (almost 40), having three children, my thyroid issues caused by Hashimoto’s disease, decreased metabolism, stress, my love for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, a combination of some or all of these things. But, whatever the cause, the fact remains that I have gained some weight.
Alternately, I am also the most fit I have ever been. I have finished two 1/2 marathons and am training for my third, I have completed two triathlons, I teach exercise classes, I have muscles, and I am strong. I always hoped that I was an inspiration to my children, especially my 8 year old daughter, to show them that being fit and taking care of our bodies is important, and that we can do anything we put our minds to. Recently she decided she wants to try a triathlon at the end of the summer, and I am thrilled!
But back to my phantom pregnancies. The third incident was yesterday. Again at the gym. The weight training class had just finished and as I was putting away my equipment, a lady who I’ve not seen in awhile excitedly came over to me, pointed to my stomach and asked “How many is this now?” I knew what she was implying, but I ignored her and said “I have three kids, how are you doing?” She didn’t drop it. “Three and now four! How exciting.” I said “I’m not pregnant”.
She apologized profusely and I’m sure she felt bad. I bet I felt worse.
After that I considered ordering one of these shirts. It would make life easier, save some questions:
Only here’s the deal. I am NOT fat. I have fat. I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, school psychologist, photographer, 1/2 marathon athlete, blogger, and teacher. I am so much more than what my body looks like. I hope with every ounce of my being (and it’s been established that there are more ounces lately) that my daughter grows up loving the body she has, no matter what it looks like, and understanding that she is so many wonderful things that matter so much more than the number on a scale. I hope no one ever makes her feel bad about her weight, because who the heck cares?? Isn’t the kind of person she is so much more important than her body shape?? It is to me. I hope it will be to her as well.