Pregnancy is a much-celebrated part of our lives, but just because you have an inkling someone might be expecting, doesn't mean you should question them about it. You'd like to think this is standard procedure for everyone, but clearly not, as a viral Twitter thread has shown.
“The tummy vs. the response that will stick with me all day,” Raina wrote alongside the selfie she posted and a screen grab showing someone replying to her Instagram Story saying “Congratulations!!” with a pregnant woman emoji.
First, this exchange highlights the ridiculous societal expectations we have about bodies, that curves are somehow immediately put down to pregnancy rather than just being a very standard and beautiful body type, which we of course know to be true.
But this also raises another important point about the world we live in. In Raina's screen grab, it's clear that the congratulatory comment went into her message requests, meaning she doesn't follow the Instagram user in question. When did we get to the point of people feeling entitled to make assumptions about the body of someone we don't even know, when it's not founded on anything except one small snapshot?
And, of course, there's more to unpick here. Namely, that pregnancy is a sensitive subject. When a person makes assumptions or asks questions related to it, they don't know the impact; whether the person they're projecting on perhaps can't get pregnant, has been pregnant but is no longer; or whether they don't want to become pregnant.
The post clearly resonated, as it’s been liked over 200,000 times. Comments paint an infuriating picture of why making assumptions about pregnancy based on body type alone is truly damaging.
"Literally anyone who assumes pregnancy before the person announces something or they are literally 9months and cradling the belly are majorly sus!! You look v hawt and that’s it," one user wrote.
"Someone commented I look pregnant on [a] photo of me and my bf and I spent half a day zooming in on my stomach despite everyone else telling me the guy is known for being an asshole and that I look great," another said.
"I have always had a belly. When I was trying on wedding dresses I was asked when I was due. I was not pregnant. When I was pregnant I felt sexy as hell because it was the only time I was told I could have a belly. I still have a belly despite efforts against it," another wrote.
Other comments highlight that being pregnant is often a complex journey, and that everyone should be mindful of that.
"An acquaintance gestured at my tummy & loudly asked if I had anything to 'tell us' (she was with a group) I'm infertile & anyway this kind of question is rude so I loudly told her the truth: 'Yes, I have IBS & haven't pooped in 10 days! Thanks for taking an interest,'" one reply read.
"My brother-in-law was laughing at my tummy when I was 5 months post-pregnancy because I 'still looked pregnant'... I cried," another said.
"I posted [a picture] on Instagram and someone commented I look chubby and that I must be pregnant...I am pregnant but it’s too early to show," someone else wrote.
The comments also show that women are making adjustments in their own lives to avoid awkward and upsetting situations.
"This is why I REFUSE to buy flowy dresses because I've [had] that same thing and so now I'm too self-conscious to wear them even though I love them," one user said.
Clearly, it's important to reflect on what is acceptable to say and what isn't before anything is commented on at all, whether IRL on on the internet. Let's hope Raina's post and the subsequent conversation it has sparked will make people think a little harder, to prevent any unnecessary insecurities and uncomfortable conversations.
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