I am 32 years old, and I am not pregnant. Admittedly, I would like to be one day. Having a family is one of my top aspirations, and I hope to do it pretty soon. But I’m not pregnant and I’m not currently trying to be. So please stop staring at my thirty-something stomach.
As a woman in her thirties, daily life turns into something akin to US Magazine’s “bunch watch,” where people are constantly – and erroneously – reporting that Jennifer Aniston is finally pregnant (Newsflash: I don’t think she wants kids and that’s completely okay!). When I attend a party, if I opt for perrier instead of wine, I get knowing looks that seem to say, “Yay! You’re knocked up! Imma buy you a diaper genie for the baby shower!” Can’t a lady take a night off from drinking without people assuming she’s growing a cute little parasite in her lady parts?
Look, I get it. It’s (mostly) touching that people give a damn about whether there’s fruit in my womb. I appreciate how my loved ones are eager for me to get pregnant, because it means my future child will surely be loved. However, I resent living under a microscope. Therefore, I wish they would keep their hopes and dreams for my fertility to themselves.
The weird fascination with my midsection is just another form of social pressure to get pregnant. Whether we realize it or not, when we just assume thirty-something ladies are pregnant, we’re buying into the whole idea that this is their biological destiny, and they’d better hop to it. Never mind that not all women want children. Oh, and just forget that not all women who want children can conceive them! Who needs to be sensitive to potential fertility problems?
Ultimately, I am one of many women I know who’d appreciate it if people stopped eyeing our stomachs as if they’re IEDs about explode. Didn’t your parents tell you it’s rude to stare? Actually, they probably did; however, society seems to think there’s a proverbial exception to this rule where thirty-something bellies are concerned. Unless you’re stomach is completely concave, many onlookers fixate on whether there’s a fetus in there…
If and when we thirty-something women choose to bear babies, you’ll know when we’re ready to tell you. In the spirit of giving women of reproductive age their space, I have prepared a list of tips for interacting with ladies you believe could may be pregnant. Enjoy!
1. How to react when a 33 year-old woman orders perrier instead of booze
Say nothing…Move on with your day! People are allowed to feel dehydrated sometimes, or even to abstain from drinking altogether. It doesn’t automatically make you preggers!
2. How to react when a 36 year-old friend’s stomach looks larger than it did a few months ago
Say nothing! Why ya gotta body-shame like that? Women are allowed to put on weight in their stomachs without being pregnant. Our bodies are none of your business!
3. How to react when a 31 year-old woman wears a shift dress
Please don’t assume she’s obscuring a baby bump just because she’s wearing loose garb. Maybe she’s just making a fashion statement!
4. How to react when a 39 year-old woman tells you she’s pregnant
Just say you’re happy for her! Don’t make ageist comments like, “OMG, you finally decided to settle down!” After all, you have no idea how long she’s been trying. Maybe Project Babymaking lasted six or seven years for her. But even if she did decide to opt into motherhood only recently, that’s none of your business! Her timeline should not be society’s concern…