Do the Bump!
Updated: Feb 5
Originally posted on Vocal Media.
Unsurprisingly, the world has not moved on in the seven and a half years since I procreated, and the toxicity of the UK press continues unchallenged by concepts like "Heavens to Betsy, that is a really pointless thing to get judgemental about" and "this has got bugger all to do with the public interest, let's go investigate tax loop holes for Billionaire’s instead."
I refer to the bizarre idea that you can "flaunt" a pregnancy.
I appreciate that there are certain circumstances where this statement would be problematic. Like when you're Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, you're sharing a house with your husband's mistress and she gets up the duff twice, while you've been struggling to conceive. That would be flaunting it a bit. It wouldn't just be the pregnant person flaunting the situation, either.
I'm talking about the act of "walking around in public, meeting people, and supporting organisations whilst pregnant" as done by the Duchess of Sussex, previously known as Meghan Markle. To be honest, I don't envy her, as she seems to have to spend lots of time standing up in lady-like shoes and talking to lots of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, whereas I have ankles of glass and as a person of an introverted bent, can find excess "peopling" rather draining. However, enough of my digression.
The justification for stating that she's "flaunting" her pregnancy is because she "touches her bump!" What exactly is she supposed to do here? Run around willy-nilly in those lady-like shoes, waving her arms aloft, staring at her bump in abject horror, shrieking to the moon, "GET IT OUT OF ME!! GET IT OUT OF ME!! THE RED HEADED SPAWN OF BEELZEBUB THAT HAS TAKEN UP RESIDENCE IN MY UTERUS!! ACCURSED WOMB-FRUIT OF THE DAMNED!!"?
Instead you have a human person—who is in the process of growing a tiny human—touching her own stomach, because, funnily enough, it's sticking out in front of her and belongs to her. She is full of tiny human, and thus ends up rounder than normal. To quote Tom Jones, it's not unusual. Dah-da-da-dah.
That she is steadily bonding with that tiny human in preparation for when they are on the outside of her tummy, and more than likely vomiting down her back at inappropriate times, seems to be lost on certain members of the press. Stroking one’s bump can be quite soothing, and if the mother is soothed and calm, then that’s good for the baby.
Not stressed to shit and terribly self-conscious. It's like there's a wrong way to be pregnant and round. The only way that she can hide or disguise her pregnancy is being surrounded by fairground mirrors ("Only the thin ones, mind") or wearing a barrel in the style of those lunatics who used to throw themselves in Niagara Falls to certain doom about a century ago. Or for those of a more Bohemian bent, a yurt also does the service well.
The irony is, that if she did these things, she'd be "vain," "neglecting her appearance," "ashamed of her pregnancy" and inside sources would probably be claiming "that Harry won’t keep fancying her if she keeps wearing that barrel, it's not very chic." It'd be Schrödinger's pregnancy. flaunting something that you are simultaneously trying to hide.
In other words, damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't.
Instead of railing ineffectually about “Why are people such knob-heads that they have to pull someone down when they are clearly and observably not-having-a-terrible-time-of-it and happy?” let’s change the script.
“Aw, that’s nice” and spread some love to all the pregnant people. Even the lovely groomed ones because they need it just as much as everyone else (take note of the shoes).
If she's tired and sweaty—offer her a seat.
If you're in a toilet queue—let her squeeze in front of you because she has the bladder capacity of a hamster. A russian hamster. (Google it).
If she's in the second trimester, give her food—because it's quite possible that she's completely Hank Marvin and on the brink of seasoning her own arms for a snack.
If she's on crutches, don't try and squeeze past because that bump in front of her is definitely not soft and you may knock her over.
And if she's crying—give her a hanky.