I would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of kind messages. I am overwhelmed by all the responses. When Robin Stickley, Squire Barnes and I decided to talk about this topic on News Hour PLUS, we hoped it would get people talking but we didn't expect it to go viral.
The result has been hundreds of emails, thousands of Facebook and Twitter messages, all saying how outraged they are at some of the feedback I've received. For those of you emailing to say I look great and to keep my head up -- THANK YOU! Please also share a kind comment to the person next to you.
While I was relieved to let you in on my big secret back in January (because it meant I didn't have to hold in my tummy anymore and pretend my waistline wasn't slowly getting bigger), I was also a little anxious.
My anxiety was based on the experience of going through my first pregnancy. I thought it would only be a matter of time before the negative emails would start coming in. Last time when I was pregnant and slowly growing, I received emails telling me to "cover up," "be more professional," "not wear horizontal stripes," and how irresponsible I was to be wearing high heels.
Being in this industry, negative comments are just part of the gig. You have to shrug it off and move on otherwise you'll never survive.
But since our News Hour team of Chris, Squire and I started a web-exclusive segment called News Hour PLUS where we talk about things that come to mind, I thought I would put out a plea for viewers to not send me hate letters as I go through my pregnancy.
That News Hour PLUS video in January was very popular -- The Huffington Post wrote an article, I did radio interviews, and everyone wanted me to tell them if I received any bad emails going forward.
As time went on through January and February, there were no negative emails. I had notes of support, people liking my pregnancy style, wondering where I bought my clothes, when my due date was, and if I was having a boy or girl. I was beginning to think maybe the message had gotten through, or maybe society had changed somewhat and people were more accepting of pregnant bodies.
But in fact, it wasn't that. It was simply that I wasn't big enough yet. As soon as my belly got bigger, the emails started coming in.
At first it wasn't offensive. I got messages like:
"Kristi - Loved your blouse/top on the Noon News (very flattering). Hate those tight sweaters that are in style these days - just call me old fashioned!!"
"I really like you as the weather person BUT why do you have to now wear such tight, tight tops? We all know you are pregnant and if you wear the tops like your 1st child we will not watch anymore. Why don't you wear nice looser tops, they look much nicer! Hope more people write in and say the same."
"We are excited, as you must be about your upcoming addition to the family. Wearing tops that cup your baby bump are not very flattering. There are many maternity tops that are flowing and professional looking. Please be more professional."
Not too bad but as my belly grew, they started getting a little worse.
One email simply said "Hussy!" and another "BUY some DECENT clothes and have more respect for the unborn child, you're not the first pregnant woman. OMG."
Even those messages I could handle. As I said earlier, I am happy with who I am and what I look like. Those emails, in the end, are silly. But then a number of people known as "The Group" got together and decided to send me a handwritten letter with no return address.
It read: "Nowhere on North America TV have we seen a weather reader so gross as you. Your front end looks like the Hindenburg and rear end a brick poop (insert swear word here) house. We now turn off Globel (yes, GLOBEL and not Global). Cover up or take time off. The Group"
This note was over the top! I read it out loud in the newsroom. We all had a good chuckle and laughed in amazement that someone would take the time to write such a horrendous letter, but we also wondered how people can be so incredibly mean.
Truthfully, I didn't think it bothered me. I was totally fine.
And as things worked out, we couldn't shoot News Hour PLUS the day I received that outrageous letter. If we had, it would have had a much different feel than what you saw.
We would have laughed our way through it and asked the letter writers to just not watch Global anymore if that's how they felt.
But ironically, as I was lying in bed that night, I started to realize a couple of things I had done throughout the evening. I had wondered if I should add another workout into my week. I quietly reminded myself that I should watch what I eat over the next few months. I checked out my bum a couple of times in the mirror. (Is it really is a brick house?) I even asked my husband to be honest and tell me the truth about my weight gain.
I couldn't believe it! I had let this ridiculous letter get to me.
Why? Well, I have gained more weight this time 'round. I'm 30 pounds heavier right now after six months, and last time I gained 30 pounds in total. But with a three-year-old and a full-time job, it's hard to fit workouts in.
So maybe they were right ... should I cover up or take time off?
I am definitely not doing either of those. I love my job and I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can -- and I'm not spending any more money on maternity clothes ... especially muumuus.
But I did learn a good lesson. No matter how rational or confident you are, the mean things people say can have an impact. The negative thoughts seep in when you don't even realize it. Even a little joking comment could do some damage. Hopefully this can help us all be more aware of our impact on others.
Thanks, "The Group," for that great lesson!
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