Amy Smith

Courtesy Photo

Amy Smith

My Life: Baby-to-Be Rumors Denied

The Not-So-Joyous Occasion of Being Mistaken for Pregnant

I guess in most pictures of me lately, I’ve had a baby strapped to me — so many, in fact, that I didn’t have any recent solo shots to use for my professional bio. So for a couple weeks, when the lighting seemed okay and I didn’t have nursing bra straps hanging out or baby food in my hair, I’d hand both the kid and my phone to my husband in hopes of getting one I liked alright.

When I decided on one, I updated my professional profile and then, as an afterthought, posted it to Facebook; my friends surely hadn’t seen a picture of me without a little one in my arms, either, for many moons. Within seconds, my mother-in-law had typed, “What’s up?” The pose displayed my head and torso in partial profile — apparently an adult woman can’t post such a picture without generating pregnancy rumors. Oh well, I thought; no one will pay attention to that. Then her friends started commenting: “Is that a bump??”

I thought it was common knowledge that you never ever ask a woman if she’s pregnant, say “Congratulations!”, or imply there is a baby onboard in any way until she’s announced a pregnancy herself — in very certain terms. Okay, maybe once she’s like 39 weeks, and you know her really well, or don’t know her at all and don’t mind risking calling her, essentially, fat — to her face.

But this wasn’t just to my face; this was to the faces of pretty much everyone I’ve ever met.

My old boss once ran into a friend she hadn’t seen in a long time in Trader Joe’s and they excitedly hugged. A passerby congratulated the petite twenty-something and asked when she was due. She recounted the story to me the next day in horror and I’m pretty sure still has a complex about it to this day.

More of us probably have mistaken-for-pregnant stories than you’d think, even in this always-have-a-filter day and age. Here’s hoping that someone who’s read this will pause, think, and keep their mouth shut.

• The Workout of Becoming a Parent: A New Mom Reflects on the Surprising Physical Challenges of Having a Baby

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