There IS Such a Thing as a Stupid Question

Tonight as I was putting him to bed, my sweet 5 year old gave me a big hug and said, “Goodnight, Mommy, I love you.”

My heart melted. Again. My heart is really just a puddle of goo by now.

Then he patted my tummy and said “Mommy! Are you having another baby?”

I guess my heart isn’t the only blob on my body. I just laughed and said “No, I just drank a lot of water.” Which was true. It is also true that I got my period today and am insanely bloated, but I didn’t feel the need to share that particular tidbit of information with him.

I would like to say that my innocent child asking me if I was having a baby was the first and only time I had been asked that question when I wasn’t actually expecting, but, sadly, it is not. It has happened a few times. A few times too many!

The most bizarre happened a few years ago. My kids and I had done the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and posted the video on Facebook like the rest of the world. Shortly after, I got a message from a Facebook “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, yeah, she offended me. Because (a) I was not, in fact, “expecting” and (b) I had not seen or talked to her in 20 years!

Newsflash: 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? For some reason I felt like I had to soften the blow to her that she had been wrong in her assumptions. 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 she called me pregnant and then she suggested I had cancer?!?! Wha---?!?! She had not seen me in person in 20 years!

For the record, not only was I not pregnant, but I also assuredly did not 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. UNFRIEND!

The other times I had been erroneously asked about my impending motherhood were less remarkable, but equally insulting. With the exception of my 5 year old asking about my menstrual bloat, the other offenders were all women. Women who should know better!!! Women who have all given birth at one time or another and who should know that, unless you see a crowning head coming out of a hooha, you should NEVER ASSUME SOMEONE IS PREGNANT!

My dear husband doesn’t quite understand why I get so upset when someone mistakes me for an expecting mother.

“Who cares what they say? I think you look beautiful.”

Well, that’s nice, honey, but you have to say that. I make your meals and do your laundry. I sleep in your bed.  I am the mother of your children. Your real ones, not just the imaginary ones that people think I carry around in my belly all the time.

Plus, he doesn’t understand. He couldn’t understand what it is like to be asked if he is pregnant. Obviously. But he also couldn’t understand the myriad of ridiculous questions women get asked all the time. Whoever said there is no such thing as a stupid question must have been a man, because women know there is such a thing. Women get asked stupid questions all the time. Questions about if they are going to have more kids, if they are done having kids, who their favorite kid is, if they wish they had more/ less kids, if they are going to stay home/ go to work when they have a kid, if they are going to breastfeed or bottle feed their kid, if they regret having to work and leave their kid at daycare, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

What strikes me most about all these questions is that they are 99.9% of the time asked by other women. Men wouldn’t be caught dead asking such questions. Mainly because they don’t even know they are questions to be asked; because they don’t care what the answers are! We’ve all listened to men’s conversations. They sound like this:

“So, who you are you picking for your fantasy league this year?”

“How ‘bout them {fill in the sports team}?”

“Looks like it could rain, huh?”

I certainly don’t mean to minimize the importance of male conversation topics. In fact, I’m a little bit jealous. Okay, a lot jealous. Men’s conversations are not based in judgment; they are not centered around polarizing viewpoints. They simply talk.  If one of my husband’s friends notices that my husband put on a few pounds, he may just point it out and then they laugh about it and move on.

There is no awkward conversation about a phantom baby.  There is no judgment. There is no bullshit.

That’s what I want for us, ladies. Less judgment. Less questions about pregnancy. Less focus on weight. Less focus on right or wrong parenting. Less bullshit.

If all else fails, I am just going to start hanging out with my husband’s buddies from now on. They won’t ask me personal questions. And they can appreciate a good beer belly.