In advocating for parent artists, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some extraordinary, articulate, generous people. One woman who stands out is Catherine Mueller, theatre artist and fierce mama, who has become a close collaborator on our recent national initiatives.
The topic of language as it relates to the inclusion of parent artists, pregnant mothers in particular, is vital to address in terms of setting standards and acceptable protocol. This vital need is what makes “The Three Things” so relevant.
Below is an excerpt from a piece she shared with me that I knew we needed to publish right away. It’s the first official entry to our PAAL Blog and presents great social challenges and even better solutions. Read below for a funny and relevant exploration:
The Three Things: How to Talk to a Pregnant Person
I am seven months pregnant. I live in New York City. Today, as I was walking to pre-natal yoga, a man passed me heading the opposite direction on the sidewalk. He looked at my abdomen, looked at me and said with an assured smile, “Twins.” I kept walking and said loudly, “Nope.”
Another pregnant woman lives in my building. She is now in her ninth month. She’s quite slender and from Australia. A few times, when we have encountered each other in the elevator or at the corner café, she has declared with full-voiced and accented abandon, “You’re SO BIG!”
Earlier in my pregnancy, I had to go to a doctor’s office other than my OB’s for some blood-work. The woman who supervises the phlebotomy station has a formidable personality. When she saw me, just past four months, she exclaimed, “When are you due?!” I replied, “End of October.” She then said, “You look like you’re about to go now! That is a big stomach!” I looked at her and said quietly, “I’m sure you mean that in the most complimentary of ways.” She then reiterated how big I was, double checked that I wasn’t incorrect regarding my own due date, and told me to “do plenty of walking and don’t pay attention to what anybody says.” And I thought, but did not say aloud, “Oh, like what you just said to me about my size?”
How is it that we, as a society, have not established an acceptable pregnancy etiquette?
These are just three small examples of what it is like to be a pregnant woman in public (which is to be a pregnant woman alive in the world who does anything outside her home). Suddenly, your body becomes the jovial subject of countless unsolicited remarks