Something about babies gives women permission to use the word “hate.” No matter how much we tell our kids it’s inappropriate, it is apparently okay to use it — and direct it at other women — when pregnancy and childbirth are involved. And I’m only speaking from personal experience here; I’m no expert. But here are two examples of women saying they “hate” me and my experiences with pregnancy and delivery:
1. Shortly after Charlie was born, I told another woman that I was able to deliver him without medication. Her response was a roll of the eyes, followed by, “Okay, so we’re all entitled to hate you now.”
2. I hear a lot of comments about how my weight gain during pregnancy is mostly in my belly (the so-called basketball belly). I’m the first to declare that this is a miracle, one for which I am extremely grateful. My mom has made it clear to me that that was not her experience, and I hear regularly that that has not been the experience of many women I know. Anyway. Recently I approached two women, whom I hadn’t seen in a few weeks, and they started commenting on my growing belly. One said to the other, “She’s one of those basketball women; the kind of woman you just hate.”
Now, both of these comments came from women I have a huge amount of respect for, and I wasn’t overly offended in either case. They were both spoken in good fun, so this all sounds much more dramatic than it really is. But . . . it does make me pause and wonder. Why is this okay? We all know, at least in our heads, that every woman is different and every pregnancy is different and every childbirth experience is different. But apparently some experiences are more desirable, enviable maybe. But evocative of hate? Really?
What are your thoughts?