Hate? Really?

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?

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7 responses to “Hate? Really?

  1. I think “hate” is one of those words that’s just become common to say in certain situations, and not always about babies. It’s unfortunate that it has such a strong meaning and is being used for such a beautiful thing in your case. It is so easy to use the word, but I’ve learned to catch myself and replace it with something else. They could have easily said “She’s one of those basketball women; she has the belly that we’d all love to have.” or “Okay, so we all wish our pregnancies were like yours.”

    Those are just my un-married, never-been-pregnant thoughts, so I’m sure others feel differently. But I got first comment! πŸ™‚

  2. For some reason, the whole “natural childbirth” issue causes women not only to use the word “hate” but to spin off into other tyrades. I’ve been fortunate to have four natural childbirths, and I’ve been attacked by all sides – even accused of LYING about it. I don’t know why emotions run so high when it comes to babies, but some women say things that I truly don’t think they’d ever say in any other circumstance.

  3. Ya know, I think jealousy creeps into our lives more than we’d like to admit, even in tiny little ways. I think saying they “hate” you is supposed to be a way to express the jealousy, and they’ve justified it by making it a “compliment.” What people don’t realize is that even though it can be read as a compliment, having someone say they hate you for whatever reason gets old and doesn’t feel that good! (especially when you’re pregnant and hormonal)

    Jess, I LOVE your basketball belly. And I LOVE that you’re a rockstar natural birth girl! πŸ™‚

  4. What an interesting thought. I’ve actually found myself doing this when referring to my own experience before other people can say it. For example when people ask if I had any morning sickness I say, “No, I know I’m one of those women that everyone hates.” Why do I assume that others will hate me for it?
    I was just telling Jon about this and he said that he thinks it’s because of the chance of it all. Like you said there’s no real reason why you only gain weight in your belly and there’s no real reason I haven’t had morning sickness. We haven’t done anything differently that caused us to be this way (or at least I don’t think we have). It’s like how people hate those who have won the lottery (Jon example). Thanks for helping me think about this. =)

  5. I agree with Grace on the jealousy thing. People (especially Women I would say) just ‘hate’ it when something seems to be going well for someone other than themselves. I ‘hate’ that you’re happily married, I ‘hate’ that you get to go on vacation, I ‘hate’ that you’re happy and I am not. And they roll if off as it’s meant to be some funny joke and we, ironically, take it as some funny joke. But there are obviously deeper issues. People should be saying I am so ‘happy’ that you had Charlie without any drugs and that you have a basketball tummy. That is so wonderful!

  6. Good thoughts and comments…one thing to add would be I think some women feel inferior to women who give natural birth AND without medicine. Maybe they wish they could’ve done that but weren’t able to. But also I think sometimes we then think that by not having natural childbirth your labor was somehow “less than”. I know this isn’t true and I know I haven’t had a baby but that’s how it appears to me. But I definitely agree that we should be complimenting each other and not bringing each other down during an already hard time. πŸ™‚

  7. I agree with above comments. A twisted way of giving a compliment. Another one that I don’t care for is “That cheesecake (or whatever) is to die for!” I know what they mean but I would never “die” for a cheesecake. I guess it’s said to be dramatic.

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