In the past three weeks I have had three experiences that (I am somewhat ashamed to admit) have dominated my health-related thinking.  Here they are:

Three weeks ago, I walk into a classroom to work with a group of teachers on building growth mindset feedback into their classroom rituals.  I am talking to one teacher when another teacher walks up to me and says, sotto voce, “I didn’t know you were expecting!  When are you due?”  She went so far as to reach towards my “baby bump” until I backed up and set her straight.    I put this down to terrible manners from clearly being raised by wolves. Obviously, I don’t actually look pregnant.

what?

Two weeks ago, I walked in to a conference room a school and two teachers walk in and one says to me, loud and clear “there is something in the water around here!  When are YOU due?”  “Never.” I say.   She must have babies on the brain. Ha. Ha.  No one with a properly functioning occipital lobe would think I look pregnant.

woman gun

Yesterday, while sitting with my beautiful, sweet Abi at the dinner table she says “Daddy Pig has a big belly, doesn’t he Mommy?”

Daddy_Pig

“He does have a big belly!” I say, half listening.

“Just like you, right Mommy?” I look at her shiny, beaming face and feel everything you think I might feel.  Is it legal to obliterate a child?

Seeing_Red_by_Sipral

“Yes, Abi.” and I get up to leave the room.  She follows me. “Daddy!” She says to my, poor caught in the middle husband, “Mommy has a big belly, right?” and then she turns her huge blue eyes to me and says:

“I like it” and lays her head on my belly and gives me a hug.

I look down at one very good reason for the big belly (the other one is playing with a ball at the dining room table, benefitting from all of my distraction) and all my rage dies alongside my denial.  OK, fine, yes.  I look pregnant.  But here’s thing: I really always have.  I am one of those people with a belly.  It’s called being “pear shaped.”  When I was pregnant I was so relieved because I could pretend for a minute that this was BECAUSE of pregnancy.  But no, it was BECAUSE of me.  I have never been one to go in for an ab workout, so I’m sure that I’m partly to blame through my utter neglect, but on the other hand?  My mother is one of those people with a belly, too.  Genetically, we’re just women who look pregnant.  So fine. FINE.  Now what?

Here are the things that I have leaned from my most recent adventure in faux pregnancy:

1. Never EVER ask a woman if she is pregnant.  Just DON’T.  DO NOT DO IT.

never

2. If you are asked if you are pregnant when you are CLEARLY not, ask your most reliable friend to send you this:

3. We ladies with the large mid-sectoin should not be allowed to shop for ourselves…  We essentially buy pregnancy clothes because that’s what comfortable.  I realize that the two times that the ladies asked me whether I was pregnant I was wearing shirts that were too large (since I’ve lost some weight but hate to shop) with flowery flowy-ness down the front.  Essentially pregnancy clothes.  Though it is never acceptable to ask a woman if she is pregnant (see number 1), a woman with a large belly wearing (essentially) pregnancy clothes who looks exhausted….. well. Anyway.  I’m standing by number 1.

4. I’m loathe to admit it, but there are perks to this… condition.  I am sometimes offered a seat on the subway.  A guy at Duane Reade got me something from a top shelf without asking and followed me around the store to be sure I didn’t need to bend down.  And your little children like to lay their heads on your belly when you are reading to them, watching videos with them, and talking about how you share a body type with Daddy pig.

BONUS BLOG!

In other news, I am on the doorstep of two major events!  The first is the 5 Boro Bike tour NEXT SUNDAY!!!!  I will ride 40 miles with my friends and accept any perks for being the only pregnant woman on tour!  And in less than one month is GOT THE NERVE!!!!  I have been taking my lessons and I don’t think I will drown!  I’m swimming for two, after all!  More on this one soon!

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost a million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.