I have read that there are two types of bodies – pears and apples. Pear shaped women are apparently the lucky ones, despite the fact they sometimes seem oddly out of proportion. They look like “real women” – all hips and boobs and tiny waists. We are told that this is also good thing in terms of health. And of course it is. Because I am an apple shape. Us apples carry our weight around our middles, much like pregnant women. Apple men can rub their bellies and say, “This is one nice belly. Yup, I earned this belly.” A woman does that and everyone assumes there is a child nestled in there. And god forbid if there isn’t. Then she’s just a slob. The pear shaped woman can just smile and wiggle those ample hips of hers. That doesn’t work so well for the apple woman. Shaking my ample belly doesn’t have quite the same womanly affect.
All of that said: what on earth possesses people to ask a woman of ANY age if she is pregnant? Seriously. As an elementary school teacher, I have worked with hundreds of women of child-bearing age and it has never occurred to me to ask any of them if they are “with child” or “eating for two”. Or even worse, pat their belly and say, “Congratulations!” And yet I’ve seen it happen (and had it done to me) on many an occasion. It is horrifically embarrassing for everyone involved when a mistake has been made. The poor (usually apple-shaped) woman has to smile, say no, and make some joke about having eaten too many donuts that morning. The person who has made the faux-pas, hopefully, feels mortified and starts to stammer, “Oh I’m so sorry. It must be that blouse you’re wearing…” The people within earshot immediately have something else to do that requires them to leave the premises as quickly as possible.
Here’s a fact: sometimes women have bellies that protrude. It may be their body-type, monthly bloating, a tumour, or just too much cake going in the cake hole. Or they may actually BE pregnant, but not ready to share that information with the world. Whatever the reason, your mouth should stay shut until you get the birth announcement in the mail.
So, the answer to the above question is of course: a. Never, never, never. I don’t care if you see that baby’s head hanging out from below a lady’s skirts. I don’t care if you have just come back from hell wearing a toque and a parka. Don’t ask, wait to be told. And if (god help you) you ask a woman if she’s eating for two when she’s actually eating?! I’m sorry. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.