DETROIT - Last night, I was scrolling through my old belly pictures on my phone. My little one was snuggled up next to me on the couch.
She asked, “Mama, wait a minute, go back, go back, what is that?”
I said, "That is me from two years ago, just before the babies were born." She started laughing. “That is the biggest stomach I have ever seen,” she said.
That did not surprise me one bit, even coming from my own child, who by the way, I carried in that same "big stomach."
Looking back now, I should have kept a diary of all the things people said to me while I was pregnant.
I have had three pregnancies full of running commentary, from just about everyone including the grocery store cashier, to the guy making my latte.
It would have made for a very entertaining book to pass along, that is for sure.
The truth is, I think I have forgotten so many of them. Or maybe, it is just a case of having a selective memory.
At one point, I thought about wearing a hidden camera and recording these comments, because I would need the video to prove it.
No one would ever believe this unless they heard it. We even talked about putting together a news story. It would have made great TV, trust me.
Was I wearing a sign on my very wide pregnant back that read, “how do I look, feel free to tell me and don’t hold back?”
When my oldest who is now 9 was only about 6 weeks old, I ventured out to a local Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up. My mom was with me at the time and I had the little guy in his car seat, which I carried into the Starbucks under my arm.
We were living and working in Ohio at the time. It was almost October and the air was just starting to get crisp, and I remember my baby boy and I were bundled up.
I walked into Starbucks, ordered my latte, and then started chatting with the lovely, outgoing barista. She was super friendly and I was happy to be out of the house. I was so happy to be having an adult conversation in the middle of the afternoon.
I had my guy tucked away sleeping in his car seat, a thin muslin blanket draped over him. It was a perfect moment. Picture the kind of moment where if we were in the middle of a commercial, you would hear birds chirping and see the sun shining through the window of the coffee shop.
Then the barista asked, loud enough for everyone inside Starbucks to hear, “So when are you due?”
Game over. I grabbed my latte and bolted so fast. I was mortified. Did she not see the car seat I was carrying under my arm? Or my newborn baby asleep inside? What I wanted to shout back was, "Lady, I have lost most of my baby weight already."
That was more than nine years ago, and I have never forgotten that comment or that afternoon in the coffee shop. I was so embarrassed.
I remember going to the hospital for a tour of the labor and delivery wing. I was so excited. It was many months before my due date. When I showed up to sign in at the reception area, they thought I was in labor.
“Wow, you are about to go. You must be ready to burst. Is today the big day?”
Not exactly, I was only six months along at the time. When I was pregnant with my only daughter, who is now 6, everyone assumed I was having multiples, and they felt compelled to let me know about it.
I can’t tell you how many times complete strangers would come up to me asking, “Are they triplets or just twins?” Neither, I would say, already annoyed. It is just one.
“You need a new doctor, the doctor you have obviously can’t count, there’s no way there’s just one in there,” somebody once said.
I could go on and on. This is why whenever I see a mom-to-be, even if she is a complete stranger, I always tell them they look beautiful.
First of all, it is true. And second of all, I remember what people said to me before I had my babies.
Next time you see a mom- to-be, I hope you remember to be kind.