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A sure-fire way to lower self-esteem May 21, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Advice, Life, Chatter & Politics.

I can officially declare that there is no better way to lower a girl’s self-esteem than to ask her if she is pregnant. When she is not.


This is exactly what happened to me today. There I was, feeling all summery and happy in my beautiful floaty maxi dress. I was buying a drink and a snack from the sandwich van, went up to pay and wham – Banjo’s lady said – “oh – are you pregnant?”. My face must have been a picture as I stumbled to inform her that no, no I was not pregnant, not at all – and not only that but I had been feeling quite happy in my body until that minute. She was fast to backtrack, of course, declaring “oh, it must have just been the wind going up your skirt” – but it was too late, the damage was done.

Although it is funny, and has made for a good laugh and lots of cheeky “congratulations” from my workmates, this has also made me feel quite unhappy in my body. After all, if I look pregnant when I think I look good, what on earth do I look like when I feel I look crap?!

A general rule of thumb, therefore, is never ever to ask if someone is pregnant. Wait for them to tell you, or for it to get to the point when the are so front heavy it couldn’t be anything else. Never, ever assume – it is a recipe for disaster!


1. Beth - May 21, 2010

That happened to me once. I didn’t look pregnant, but I was viewing a property for a job where my bosses wife was pregnant. The Estate Agent misunderstood and asked me when I was due.

I think he and I were equally mortified about it but I felt fat for weeks afterwards.

2. Amber - May 21, 2010

Oh lordy, how awful – if it’s any consolation, I know I don’t know you in real life, but I’ve seen plenty of photos of you, and you don’t look REMOTELY pregnant! Also, this happened to me once, years ago, when I was working in a call centre. What was worse was that the woman who asked me had apparently been “elected” by the rest of the team to do the asking. She said, “Look, we just have to know : are you pregnant?” I was wearing a UK size 6 skirt at the time, so I knew I wasn’t fat, but I’ve always, always had a little pot belly, and I was absolutely MORTIFIED, and became totally paranoid about my figure for a long time afterwards. I totally agree with you – it’s never, ever OK to ask someone that question, not even if they look 9 months gone. *hugs*

3. Roisin - May 21, 2010

Darling, that used to happen to me ALL the time when I was teaching and it happened again the other day, and just like you it was when I had been feeling pretty good. You certainly do not look pregnant, all I can say is I think some people have no courtesy and no idea of what a woman’s body looks like when she IS pregnant. You’re beautiful x

4. Roisin - May 21, 2010

Oh, and I used to deal with it by trying to shame the person who asked into realising how inappropriate they had been. Like this: “Well clearly you think I need to lose some weight. Thanks for finding the most insulting way you could to communicate that to me.”

5. thecraftaholic - May 21, 2010

I TOTALLY agree with you!

6. Caroline - May 21, 2010

Oh hon, and just after we had that conversation about being able to make ourselves look very pregnant this week! Trust me, you really don’t look pregnant, it really must have been the wind up your dress (and the fact that even real skinny minis can look a bit preggers in some shaped maxis!).

Oh, and bear in mind that I have been asked that a lot throughout my adult life – A LOT. Many many times by Pete, but by strangers too!


7. a stylized hysteria - May 21, 2010

My general rule of thumb is- unless a woman is giving birth in front of me, I don’t assume she’s pregnant. And I sure as hell don’t ask!

8. Sue - May 21, 2010

From the other side, I once congratulated the parent of one of the kids I was teaching, based on his ‘News’ that Mum was having a baby. I felt so bad when she told me it wasn’t true I have never trusted a child since! PS There is a big difference here – she would have made 3 of you!

9. Diana - May 23, 2010

This is why I never, ever ask someone if they are pregnant, unless they are very obviously pregnant, as in looking ready to pop.
Don’t let it get you down.

10. Belle - May 24, 2010

Hubby and I once took the overnight ferry from Dublin to Liverpool. At dinner time we were asked by an older couple if we were expecting. We politely told them no. The next morning at breakfast the man asked if we were sure!

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