Thursday, September 4, 2014

These Are My Hands

It's pretty widely known amongst those of my acquaintance that I am a (sometimes passionate) feminist. Now that I am pregnant myself, I've been thinking about (re: dreading) the many, many questions asked of pregnant women. They range in how personal they are from "when are you due" to "are you dilated yet." Literally anyone will ask this shit, from mothers to grocery store clerks.

Nobody thinks anything of it, and many people ask questions like these in innocent, idle attempts to make conversation. Some are totally harmless, of course (how far along are you, do you know the gender, are you getting excited, etc.), but if you stop to consider it, a lot of the questions asked and comments made are really very personal, and for an expectant mother they may feel invasive.

When I was pregnant the first time, someone asked me at seven fucking weeks whether or not I was planning on having an epidural. That person didn't mean to be intrusive, but I was completely fucking dumbfounded.  If you are not my midwife or my partner/my child's other parent, there is no reason for you to have this information. This is none of your fucking business. I really can't imagine why anyone would even ask.



The minute a woman announces a pregnancy, her body, her child, and everything about her pregnancy is considered public property, and information about any of them is the right of anyone and everyone who wants to know. This shit is so deeply ingrained socially that we don't even think about it. It's just what you say to pregnant women, right? Apparently privacy is only the right of the nonpregnant. Mostly dudes.

This is so, so wrong! Pregnant or otherwise, I am not public property! My body is not public property. My pregnancy is not public property. My birth is not public property. My child is not public property.  The only people who need intimate information about my body, my birth plans, & etc. etc. are myself, my midwives and my husband.

I am reminded of a stupid poem I learned while working in childcare, intended to help kids learn to keep their hands to themselves [recited while patting one's own chest]:

These are my hands
They belong to me
And I'm going to keep them

Just. on. me.

My body, my pregnancy, my birth, and my baby belong to me, so please: keep your stupid body comments and your intrusive questions "just on you," okay? Next time you feel moved to ask personal questions, please check yourself. Stop and think: Do I really need to know this? What will I gain by hearing the answer?  Is this really any of my damned business?  Because the answers to these questions are probably no, nothing, and hell no.

Pregnant women everywhere will thank you. :)


A somewhat more light hearted part two can be found here.

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