First of all, thank you to everyone who has written, emailed and tweeted me. Your continued support and kind words are greatly appreciated. I wish all moms-to-be could hear your inspirational comments.
I listened to The Goddard Report interview with White Rock city councillor David Chesney. His critical comments about pregnant women and tight-fitting clothing were frustrating but I wasn't surprised. You see, he is not alone.
On nights when I wear fitted tops or dresses on-air, we get many calls to the station. Our receptionists, Carolyn and Melissa, have been amazing at fielding and tracking them. While 95 per cent of the calls are supportive of pregnancy and any type of clothing, about five per cent are not. We have heard words such as "flaunting," "teasing," "ugly," and "unprofessional."
I also receive emails like this...
"I would think it is time for the pregnant weather reported (sic) to take mat leave - it is not pleasing to look at hump every day PLEASE have her take her mat leave now. unless of course u (sic) instruct to wear loose clothing in this condition, tks (sic) hope u (sic) take note of this view."
I particularly like the part about "in this condition" as if I have an illness or disease.
"Christi (sic) Gordon, what are you wearing???? I thought we were past the body socks!!! Have some class, we all know what a baby belly looks like."
So do I stop wearing fitted clothes? I don't purposely want to make people angry or feel uncomfortable. Pregnancy can make you feel so large and unattractive; it sure is nice to put on something that makes you feel a little less frumpy at times.
Besides, times have changed. Pregnant women don't have to feel ashamed of their growing bodies. This type of disapproval is a relic from a different time. I don't understand how a pregnant belly can bring on so much emotional criticism and propel people to write snarky letters of disgust, or call to complain. Is it really that big of a deal? There are far more important things to be upset about.
So no, I won't stop wearing fitted clothing from time to time. I would prefer to encourage change and acceptance rather than give in to the bellyachers (Ha!).
In addition to this issue of tight clothing, there is a larger and more damaging topic I feel David Chesney brought up. It's pregnancy in the workplace and the role of maternity leave.
"The way the law is nowadays ... you know you get one year maternity leave so women want to come to work until that water breaks so that they can have one year off from the time the baby is born. They're not taking a month off ahead of time. They're coming to work. They're barely able to walk. They can't sit down. They're not comfortable."
This is an incredible example of the lack of compassion and completely out-of-touch views some have on what women go through these days in order to have a family.
Ninety-nine per cent of women NOW work because we have to; households rely on us financially and many have careers we love. Job security during pregnancy and maternity leave is a huge concern: life doesn't stop so we can have a baby.
We end up with significant challenges trying to balance the pressures of work while our bodies go through incredible changes with tiredness, nausea and swelling. And that's if the pregnancy goes well! Yes, we make the choice to have a baby but it doesn't make it easy.
Then there's the issue of clothing our ever-changing bodies. Pregnant women need an entirely new wardrobe. It's seems only socks and shoes end up fitting; and even those can get tight. But who can afford all these new clothes? Not many, especially, when we only need them for six months. So we try to get by on stretchy clothes we already own, like Lululemon pants and tops.
When it comes to maternity leave, we are very lucky to have a full year in Canada. But this year isn't a vacation. It serves a very important purpose, allowing a mom to be with her baby during a very fragile and important time.
Why would we want to limit this? And force these precious little beings into the care of others? Depending on people's financial ability, this care may be less than ideal.
So to the people who feel it's necessary to complain about a pregnant woman's appearance... please don't. Try to be more compassionate and not make it any harder for them. They need your support. Plus, it's just a belly and there's a baby inside!
Keep this in mind as you celebrate all the things mothers contribute in their homes AND in the workplace. Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!
This blog first appeared on Global BC and is republished with the author's permission.
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