Remember if people say judgmental things to you, their words might be more of a reflection of their own thoughts and feelings than of you. I do recommend listening for common themes though. We are constantly co-creating with others to learn and to teach each other spiritually. Themes coming from multiple people can help point to areas in need of healing. Yesterday marked the beginning of my 39th week of pregnancy. This round baby belly has attracted comments from strangers a lot this past week. Comments ranging from “Any day now, right?” to “You’re big.” I answer the first kind of comment by saying “yes” and telling them my due date if them seem interested. As I exited Walgreens yesterday, the cashier felt the need to say, “You’re big.” Part of me thought, Did you really just say that? I am glad I am confident enough in my pregnant body to feel good about myself. I was able to let go of the interaction easily and replied, “Yes, the baby is due in a week.” I thought of how tasteless her comment was and other pregnant women who were feeling more vulnerable might just go to their cars to cry afterward. I prayed that cashier would be more tactful in the future for other pregnant women she might come across. I lost a lot of weight before I got pregnant so the numbers I am seeing now when they weight me at the doctor’s office are not uncharted territory. The way I am carrying the weight – all in my baby belly – is quite different though.
Choose your words with care. The only other time during pregnancy when I was surprised by what someone said was at church. I know the joke church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints and I kept that in mind during the interaction. Firstly, I would always recommend asking permission before touching a pregnant woman’s belly. In Pennsylvania, touching a pregnant woman’s belly without permission is a form of harassment. I live in Ohio though. Truly, it is already illegal to touch any person without consent in every state, pregnant or not. I was not going to have this person hauled away, but I like the fact that Pennsylvania acknowledges a pregnant women’s need for personal space. This is not a petting zoo. I was nearing the end of my first trimester and someone I knew touched my belly without asking then proceeded to say, “Are you sure there aren’t two of them in there?” She wasn’t trying to be funny and I felt offended. I didn’t start out with six-pack abs so her comment seemed like more of a judgment on my pre-pregnancy weight. I always aim to come from a place of kindness. I am not 100% successful, but that is my intention. I calmly told her, “Yes, we have had a 12-week ultrasound and it is just the one baby.” I simply left it at that. I knew this woman struggled with her weight her entire life. I realized her comment might be more of a judgment on her own lack of self acceptance than on my body. This thought gave me the opportunity to pray for both of us. I prayed that we both have more loving thoughts and self acceptance toward our bodies.
When did someone say something shocking or unkind to you? How did you respond? If you didn’t already say a prayer for them, take the opportunity to do so. Acknowledging that there is more than meets the eye – their judgment might just mean they are hurting too – can be a gateway to forgiving their comment and that person. Forgiveness helps to free your own emotions and thoughts about the event.
Eva Borho, M.A., L.M.T., Intuitive Author, Spiritual Teacher, Holy Fire Reiki Master