I didn’t know momshaming was real until it actually happened to me.
Although I am currently in my 7th month, I was shamed as early as my 2nd month of pregnancy. I don’t know if it’s just the hormones or if I’m really getting unsolicited advice about my pregnancy, motherhood decisions, and even really personal things. This is also the reason why I didn’t tell a lot of people about my pregnancy early on because I didn’t want negativity in my life; I wanted to enjoy my journey instead of getting shamed by other people.
9 Times I Was Shamed During My Pregnancy
9. At the Spa
During my second trimester, I asked my OB-GYN if I could get manicures and pedicures done. Since my full-time job requires me to attend events and meet clients, I always want to look presentable. My doctor said it was okay, but she also reminded me to be in a well-ventilated spa and to not have the nail technicians massage my feet because of certain nerves in the feet that could cause contractions.
When I was at the spa, I asked for a manicure/pedicure cleaning without nail polish. I even told the nail technician not to massage my feet, after which she immediately asked if I was pregnant. I gave her a nod and she went on to tell me that I shouldn’t get mani-pedi’s until I give birth. The other women sitting beside me heard everything, so I stood up, paid my bill, and walked out of the spa.
8. About My Baby
While I was at an event, I was offered alcohol three times and I politely declined. The person standing beside me asked me why I was saying no to free booze, so I told her I was pregnant. She then asked me if I really wanted a baby or if it was just an accident. I found that really insulting, especially since she asked me that while there were other people standing beside us.
7. On Necklace Superstitions
The Philippines has so many different superstitious beliefs; and since I’m from a younger generation, it’s almost impossible to make me believe them. I was at the mall rubbing my belly when a random stranger came up to me and told me that I shouldn’t be wearing necklaces because it would cause a cord coil for my baby. I was with a friend, who was equally shocked, and we silently walked away.
6. On Staying at Home
I live a very active lifestyle. Despite being pregnant, I still work and I continue living my life. I often go out to work at cafes and walk around the mall. I figured I need a bit of exercise since that is what my doctors recommend. When I bumped into an old colleague, however, she told me that I should stay home until I give birth. I almost laughed because aside from high-risk pregnancies, pregnant women should have plenty of exercise to make sure that their bodies work well.
5. On Getting Married First
While I knew I would hear this, I wasn’t prepared to actually hear it. When people found out I was pregnant, many of them told me that I have to get married before the baby arrives. For someone who is not very religious or traditional, I found this a little irritating. I always thought marriage was something that you do when you’re ready, not just because you are pregnant. Every time someone talks to me about marriage during this phase, they phrase it as something I “have” to do, as if it was something I couldn’t skip or delay.
4. On Wearing Heels
Since I’m only 5 feet tall, I have always worn high heels. During my pregnancy, I downgraded to kitten heels, which is usually just an inch high, if not shorter. My doctor told me that heels are usually okay; but since my belly is growing, my center of gravity changes wearing heels might give me a harder time balancing my weight. I was wearing some slightly elevated sandals during an event in my first trimester and someone told me I shouldn’t be wearing them because I’m pregnant.
3. On Exercising
Even before getting pregnant, I lived a very active lifestyle. I work out at least thrice a week. During my first trimester, I decided to stop working out since the first few months are delicate for a developing baby. Once I hit my second trimester, however, I started taking pre-natal yoga and pilates. This made me feel so much lighter, and the happy hormones helped with my mood swings. When I posted Instagram stories about my exercises, one colleague replied “dapat di ka nageexercise masama sa buntis yan“. I quickly replied that they’re called ‘pre-natal’ for a reason. These exercises are made specifically for pregnant women to help them with blood circulation, movement, and the strengthening of the pelvic floor to prepare for labor.
2. On Eating
I have always struggled to gain weight. With my small frame, my weight usually just plays around in the same range while staying within the right BMI or weight requirement for my height. After I got pregnant, people started telling me that I should eat more because I am eating for two and they always comment on how my belly is not the right size because it should be bigger. I was so worried that I actually went to my OB-GYN the next day to make sure that my baby and my weight are just right. And hey, guess what? We are on the right track!
1. On My Appearance
I mingled with some of the mommies at a mommy event once. They found out I was pregnant and immediately commented on how I looked. They were telling me that my pregnancy was unusual because I didn’t look like them during their pregnancies. They were very particular about the size of my belly and how I am not gaining enough weight to support my pregnancy. They also told me that I should swell up or get pimples from the hormonal imbalances that usually happen during pregnancy. I stood with them there for more than an hour as I was shamed for having an “easier” pregnancy than all of them.
What I learned from all of this is one thing: every pregnancy is different. Every experience is different. Some pregnancy symptoms happen to others, while others don’t experience them at all. Some are shamed for how they look; some don’t. Some gets unsolicited advice and comments; some don’t. Please do not shame future moms for anything as every mom goes through different things.