Friday, 8 May 2009

Forgive me. I know not what I say...

I am now officially an idiot. After the lamb chop debacle propelled me to the forefront of utter foolishness, then this latest incident sees me picking up the top award. Anyone out there got one of those? Do please pass it over here...

So, I was chatting with a friend the other day - you know, about babies, bumps, pregnancies...(by the way, in case you were wondering, I can talk about other things - this was only part of the conversation). The other part was about schools and homework and...well, just other things.

Anyway, in the part where we talked about bumps, we both found ourselves re-living the moment when we asked a seemingly pregnant woman when she was due - only to be met with the most dreaded of responses - "Er...I'm not actually pregnant". You know those conversations - the ones that make you want to be swallowed up in a huge, black whole there and then never to have to show your poor, shamed face ever again.

Strangely enough, because you'd think I would have learnt my lesson - it has actually happened to me twice. The first, years ago when I was but a wee 'girl' and asked a rather large Brown Owl if she had a baby in her tummy. She didn't, obviously, and thankfully I was too young to realise her mortification.

The second time happened as an adult. It was a Mother of one of Renée's friends at nursery. She was talking about moving house and needing more space when I just happened to glance at her tummy. She was wearing some sort of smock top and I realised that underneath it her belly was protruding from an otherwise slim frame.

"Oh, gosh", I spluttered. "I didn't realise. Congratulations. Silly me. Now I see why you need more space. How many weeks are you?"

She looked at me and laughed. "Ha ha. No I'm not pregnant. This?" She said, pointing to her bump. "This is just my little beer belly."

"Ha ha", I replied, blundering in like a giraffe in a doll's house. "Good one. Yeah - I suppose at the early stages it does look like a beer belly. No, but really - when are you due?"

This was her moment to look serious. "No really, it is just a beer belly."

"Hahahahahahahahahahaha." I think I may have run off at this point, giggling nervously and flushed in the face, of course, promising myself never to make the same mistake again.

However, this is not the whole post. Oh no - that happened a couple of years ago, so why would I be telling you about it now? I'll tell you why - because my friend and I ended our conversation about bumps and mistaken pregnancies swearing that we'd never be so foolish again - and even if we saw a baby's head sticking out from between a woman's legs (unlikely I know) - we would never be so stuipd as to assume she's even had sex.

Well, my friend might not be so stupid. I, on the other hand...

Later that very day...possibly only three hours after the conversation, I was picking up Edie from nursery when I spotted another Mother. I'd last spoken to her a week before when she was struggling to remain sane whilst waiting for the imminent birth of her second child. We'd discussed the frustrations of going overdue and I'd offered her not only sympathy, but empathy too (Renée and Edie were 9 days and 12 days overdue). So when I saw her face miserable and belly still obviously hugely swollen...I said the first thing that came into my mind...

"Hey, how are you feeling? Looking at the size of you, I can see the baby still hasn't come".

And that's when she moved out of the way to reveal a tiny newborn in a pram.

Whoops. Just point me in the right direction for my idiot award.


  1. Don't worry hun, we've all been there.. now I just won't say anything even if it's blatantly obvious for fear of getting it wrong!

  2. Oh my poor thing. Unbelievably I have never ever done this (knock on wood). I guess my time is coming. You'll be the first to know when it happens.

  3. I am empathising so much my head is about to explode. I always swore I would never ask that question, ever. One day I bumped into a scary glamorous woman I did not know that well; small talk, awkward pause in conversation, and in the pause she put her hands into the small of her back as pregnant ladies do and looked at me, as if to say: aren't you going to say anything? She was actually sticking her stomach out. So I said: Oh, are you...? She looked horrified, I started stuttering apologies, all of which was bad enough, but she had a scary Notting Hill friend with her who started SHOUTING at me (I am not making this up): No she's not, how dare you, what a horrible thing to say. Shouting and yelling, in the middle of a shop, with other people staring. I continued to grovel, said goodbye as quickly as possible and fled. The shouty woman screamed after me: I hope you have a really horrible day.

    That was three years ago. I am feeling quite faint remembering it even after all this time.

    So you are not alone.

  4. Don't worry you don't deserve the Foolish Award this time, it is easily done. The chocolate/poo incident on the other hand...


  5. Oh god what a fab post! I always cringe when my mother puts her hands on to stranger's tummies, but she's never once got it wrong! Like Jimmy Carr says: I'd rather see a pregnant woman standing on a bus, than a fat girl sitting down crying....

  6. I have foot in mouth disease as're in good company.

  7. I can't remember doing this (although it's surely only a matter of time) but I do remember someone coming up to me on my honeymoon and prematurely congratulating me on an impending birth. I was slightly upset as I was fairly flat-stomached (or so I recall) at the time. But actually I sort of felt worse for the poor lady who was clearly so excited on my behalf. She was both surprised to be told that no, I wasn't expecting, thank you very much, but also embarrassed - and disappointed! Definitely a Lose-Lose situation for all concerned. And no easy way out - think you got that right MT, just beat a hasty retreat and forget it ever happened!

    In your case, I'm quite sure the new Mum of 2 wasn't in the slightest offended. I still looked pregnant for weeks after giving birth to my two (especially as with C-section, you temporarily lose all use of tummy muscles) and I'm sure she was so sleep-deprived and hormonal that she barely heard you anyway.

    More importantly, how adorable was that little newborn?? Sigh...

  8. Hey, it's not your problem. If women don't want you to think they're pregnant, let them lose weight. Jeez, how hard can it be?

  9. That has made me laugh out loud !

    I've done it more than once and wanted the ground to open and swallow me up.

    Recently though, I was on a crowded train and a young man got up and offered me his seat. I said no but he looked down at my stomach and insisted. I followed his gaze and realised that my tummy did look rather huge in the wraparound dress I was wearing. I should have protested but instead I took the seat, lowering myself down gently in manner of heavily pregnant woman. I got up in the same way, placed my hand on my back, pushed my stomach out and waddled down the platform until the train had moved away.

    All so he would be spared the horror of realising his mistake !! I don't why I'm so nice to men. He was after all calling me FAT !

  10. Jessie - Thanks hun - I know - I was so never going to make that mistake again after my faux pas with the beer belly...right....I will NEVER make that mistake again! You heard it here!

    Marathoner - I can't believe you've never done it - either you are very clever or very lucky. Please just do it and come back and tell me so I can laugh at you!!

    Tania - Oh I love your story - I cackled out loud reading it - isn't it just hideous when it happens?? I can't quite believe scary glamorous woman and her friend were so rude to you though - terrible body issues I think!! But thanks for the empathy - the laugh alone has made me feel much better!

    Charlotte - ooh thankyou darling. Yes, one way or the other I deserve the foolish award - the poo and biscuit episode was not my finest moment it has to be said.

  11. allgrownup - Ha ha - so funny Jimmy Carr. Got to love him. I suppose if I was a guy I might even agree, but I'm a woman so I can't possibly comment! Sounds like your Mother has special powers - think I may have needed some of those earlier!!

    Ko - thanks for the empathy - I am so glad it's not just me!!

    Mamma Po - Oh crikey - I'm not mentioning newborns again with you around...I can almost hear you ovulating!

    Snowbrush - Ooh I love a good old male comment! Hilarious.

    Selina - Oh you didn't??? Now that made me laugh. Actually I can almost see myself doing the same thing - anything to spare someone else's embarrassment!! You're too funny! x

  12. The best one i ever received was when i was about to go on my maternity leave with my 3rd baby and i was talking about how i couldn't wait to leave.

    one member of staff said 'oh are you leaving?' (by the way the bump was huge) and i said 'well yes' and she replied 'have you got a new job?' and i said 'no i'm having a baby' she said 'oh i never noticed!!!!!!!!' she must think i always look that big and round cheeky cow! I was not happy lol!

    yours was an innocent mistake especialy since it was only a tiny newborn so it musn't be that old, i still look pregnant until about 4weeks after birth x

  13. I think that is so funny!!!!

  14. OMG That's too funny, I'm always too scared to say anything to women who look like they're pregnant, unless THEY say something first....

    When we were purchasing our loft, the old agent witchy-lady was signing our papers, and I admittedly was wearing a baggy, slouchy style dress. But she ARGUED with me, and said, NO NO, YOU ARE PREGNANT, 6 months right?

    I looked at her, NO, we HAVE a daughter, I am NOT pregnant.


    No. I'm not.

    I was fuming. I got over it though cus she is so gross and ugly. Bleh. *goes off to cry*

  15. Your RSS feed worked! Highlighting your blog on mummy bloggers this week.

  16. How embarassing. I'm waiting for someone to ask me at the moment. I of course think I look hugely pregnant and couldn't possibly be mistaken for just fat, but I am getting curious looks from people like the postmaster and Co-op staff. They want to ask but are not quite ready to risk it.

    I was at a family drop-in last year and there were two lovely twin girls (about 7 I think) playing with Rosemary and mummying her. One of them said to me 'I'm going to have a new baby sister soon,' so when I saw their mum, I glanced down, saw what looked like a bump and said 'So when are you due?' She looked at me and said 'I'm not pregnant. I've got six already, never again, thanks! Oh this?' points down at her 'bump', 'Yeah. When you've had this many, it's difficult to get rid of it.' She was very nice and didn't seem at all bothered, but I felt awful and mumbled something about her daughter talking about a baby sister and then ran away to chase Rosemary. Eek.

  17. Nooooooooooooo. But then, it's forgivable hon. My tummy didn't go down for ages after I gve birth. In fact it still hasn't. Tsk.

  18. Oh I just cried with laughter reading this post! it does sort of follow on from the lamb chop episode, where I desperatley wanted to ask, why only 4 jamie dodgers, & not the pack? I am a stress/comfort eater. Yes, I am the dreaded mummy with a fat tummy... Lord knows how many times I have been asked if I am with used to the question, I now reply, 'oh no, I'm just fat' & smile.... Although last week at work I was tempted to say something different. I was sat down giving some chemotherapy,(never a good pose for those with a tummy) when one of the patients from a ccross the room said, 'Oh I hear your leaving - do you know what you're having? I so wanted to reply '2 cream teas, a pasty on the beach & daily icecreams' (post cornish holiday), but restrained myself, and pretended not to hear the latter part of the conversation, and in a well behaved, innocent manner said, 'Oh yes, I'm leaving, I'm going to work at the hospice' not half as much fun to reply. The rest of the girls were gusseting with laughter..
    Any way said job at hospice requires the scary wearing of smart casual civvies, so I am facing the fear, stepping out of my uniform & admitting that I need to get my head out of the biscuit tin/fridge. I have joined a slimming club this week. I am going to police my food, like I do the childrens. No more eating the childrens chocolate because its bad for them, or citing a medical need for hot buttered toast, and I am sure the lack of biscuits will not lead to a divorce/murder. Lx

  19. Fantastic! I nearly snorted red wine out of my nose reading this... which is very attractive! At work once my friend saw that a particularly acid tongued PA was wearing elasticated trousers and looking a little portly around the middle region. Having congratulated her and got short shrift to the effect that no she wasn't bloody pregnant, you can only imagine how she felt! I myself have yet to do this but seeing as I am forty next week and therefore about to go senile, you just know it's gonna happen! x

  20. Oh you poor thing. Yes, has happened to me too...and also have been on the receiving end. Can't quite work out which was worse. Although being asked if I was pregnant whilst wearing my brand new Joseph to-die-for smock top was a pretty low moment. I had to spend the rest of the day hastily tucking it in and trying hard not to breath out..

  21. Hahaha... I was once in the tube and that lady with a rather large belly was standing in front of me. As a very good girl I offered my seat. She looked utterly shocked and put her hand on her tummy straight away, pushing it in. And that's when I can say that sometime I am so clever I impress myself, I recovered it straight away saying "you looked a bit tired and unwell so I thouhgt you might want to sit" and went straight back to my book to hide my shame!
    Like Katie I also was on the receiving end once. Victor must have been 3 weeks old and I went to visit my old coffee shop with my mum. The guy there greeted me and said "You are sure you are not overdue, I thought you were meant to have had that baby?!" to which I replied as red as a lobster "my son is at home with his dad. I gave birth 3 weeks ago..." and then I thouhgt it is only 3 weeks surely I am allowed to look pregnant still, or am I? This was the push to join slimming world! :)

  22. Amy - yeah thanks - I'm hoping she didn't take it too badly - I didn't stick around long enough to find out!! And maybe the woman at your work had made the mistake herself before and sworn never to assume anything again (wish I'd taken a leaf out of her book)!!

    Kathryn - Yeah - I might find it funny too, in about 5 years time!!

    Margarita - Oh your poor thing - but I kind of understand her trying to argue - it's like you just have to make 100% sure you're not wrong...It's just too hideous otherwise!

    A Modern Mother - Excellent on both accounts - thanks x

  23. Tasha - Oh you poor thing - yeah even if the Mum is really good about it, it's still horrendously embarrassing...but I think you could be let off the hook for your faux pas - I can't imagine having any stomach muscles left after having 6 children!

    Jo - I know! I know! Was still hideously shame-faced though. Don't believe it about your stomach btw!

    Lydia - With regard to the jammie dodgers - yes, indeed - how did I manage not to scoff the whole packet?? Well, I was trying to save space for the lamb chops...when I realised that that was no longer an option I did fiish the packet...was so hard not to!!

    As for finishing children's food - yes I am guilty as charged. In fact, even if they haven't finished their own food I'm in there - you have to be quick in this house!!

  24. That girl? - Well I nearly snorted red wine out of my nose reading your comment!! It is a Saturday night after all!! I think as a birthday present to yourself you need to approach a skinny woman and congratulate them on their pregnancy - just so you know how it feels!! It's something you'll never forget, I can tell you!!

    Katie - Oh you poor thing. Bet you didn't wear that Joseph top again in a hurry!!

    PHM - Oh yeah good recovery on the tube - I don't think I would have been that quick. But as for people thinking you're still pregnant straight after birth - I think it's acceptable - please let's it be acceptable - I'm trying to make myself feel better after my horrendous faux pas!! In fact, my Granny came into the hospital just after I'd given birth to my first child and uttered two absolute corkers. The first was 'Oh, there you are - I didn't recognise you - I didn't realise you'd put on so much weight' and the second was (pointing to my stomach) - 'Are you sure you haven't left anotehr one in there'!!! I had to was only about 5 hours after I'd given birth!!

  25. Oh cringe...I've done this too! Both ends of the non existant pregnancy.

  26. Hi Emily, I've done the above so many times i've lost count so that now even if a woman is about to drop i would wait to be told she was expecting which is equally as offensive as I've experienced myself when 7 months pregnant... yes i do normally look like ive got a small football up my top...he he!
    Anyway if by chance you are free and man less over next bank hol do you fancy meeting up? Text me if you can. lots of love lily

  27. DJ - Hi. Thanks for dropping by! Yes - very cringey indeed!

    MOTR - Yeah - it's so hard to know what to do. You say congratulations and they're offended cos they aren't pregnant and you don't say congratulations and they're offended cos they are pregnant. You can never win! Will let you know about bank holiday. Not sure of plans at the mo but would love to see you anyway! x

  28. LOL ... I've not yet done this *searches around frantically for some wood to touch* but a friend of mine had twins, about 18 months later someone said to her "oooh I didn't know you were expecting again... congratulations" ... she, the friend, was mortified and ran off (well maybe waddled off) - she didn't even correct the person!!!

  29. Probably harder on you then on her. least that last one! When I was asked that very question about 3 days after having given birth..I lied..said. Nope no baby yet. And got the hell out of there! LOL

  30. OMG - Hello and welcome! I hope you found that wood to touch...because when it does happen it is truly excrutiating! Oh your poor friend - yes I'm not quite sure if it's worse for the accuser or the accusee...

    MM - Yeah - I was hoping she wouldn't mind seeing as she had just given birth...tried not to stick around long enough to find out though because I was too mortified!

  31. Huge thanks for dropping by my place - and for lovely comments...
    I've been on the other end of this story, I fear.....when we were trying to sell the house, the estate agent came round and said, 'Ah, so that's why you're selling?' gazing pointedly at my belly.
    Did it spur me on to get back to the gym? Sadly not....
    Funny thing, when I WAS pregnant, did people jump up and give me a place to sit on the tube? Did they puck.....

  32. Exmoorjane - Hee hee. Yes there have been times when I too have looked about 7 months pregnant when not at all (particulalrly after a large and very satisfying curry)!! But I try not to leave the house at moments like those - funnily enough I have become a hermit!! And by the sounds of things, you must have looked like a very capable pregnant lady!

  33. Hi, just to let you know I've tagged you on my page.

  34. Ha! Made me laugh! Damned if you do, damned if you don't with this one I think. I once saw someone who I thought was preggers, didn't say anything because I wasn't sure, then found out she was quite far on and I felt so bad I hadn't said anything! She must have thought I knew or she'd have announced it to me and it looked like I wasn't interested. Doh!

  35. P.S. Thanks so much for the award, very sweet! ;-) I shall collect and forward over next couple of days. xx

  36. Mary T - Thankyou! I will come on over and have a look x

    Reasons - Exactly - you can't win either way. I think if you suspect it you possibly have to talk them into admitting it and then you're safe...! No problem with the award - hope you had a great time away x

  37. I enjoyed reading this - very funny!
    I remember when I was pregnant I was huge really early on, but I didn't bother announcing it to many people. I had a lot of fun waiting for people to pluck up the courage to ask me if I was could tell they were frightened I might have just got fat.