Some women wear pregnancy well. They exude confidence, feel sexy, and glow like an ephemeral angel. Others spend half the time with their face in the toilet, meandering around like a human weeble-wobble.
I belong to the latter group: Team cranky-sweaty-blotchy-bowling ball all the way!
Still, it took me until this late in the game (weeks away from baby #3) to realize how much of my pregnancy struggles are unique to my stature. As my stomach continues to push the boundaries of known physics, I’ve noticed my average and tall-sized friends squint with confusion at some of my complaints.
So PSA to those of you who don’t have to worry about hemming every godforsaken pair of pants you ever buy: your short friends have unique pregnancy-related challenges.
Here’s what I mean about being short and pregnant:
Challenges at Home
When you grow up short, you become quite adept at obtaining things out of your reach. Early on, you master the front-support position on any type of counter (thanks, beginner gymnastics!) and climb up to reach the desired object. You don’t drag over chairs or step-ladders because ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that.
… except when you’re pregnant. Then you have to make time for that.
That’s right, with the miracle of life comes the end of counter-climbing and the beginning of stealing your children’s potty-training stools to reach a cup. It’s super empowering.
The most frustrating part is you actually used to be able to reach that cup, but your growing belly has caused you to lose precious inches. Being so short, your waist is significantly below counter-level. No amount of tip-toeing will lift that hefty bump over the ledge so you’re even worse off than before!
This happens everywhere.
Want to pluck your eyebrows? Good luck doing it from 5 feet away; you aren’t getting anywhere close to that mirror.
Ready to knock out some dirty dishes? Ha! That chore becomes even more loathsome when you hunch over on your already-sore chest to maneuver your bump out of the way. It’s either that or stand sideways — another time-honored favorite of women hauling extra weight on their lower backs.
Need to move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer? Good luck not falling headfirst inside. I would be lying if I said I’ve never balanced between my chest and my bump, feet completely off the floor, to reach that last elusive sock. Pregnancy can really make a girl dream about a front-loader!
Honestly, it all makes for a great excuse to skip chores altogether — for the sake of the baby, of course.
While expressing my frustration to a friend one day over a stranger’s rude comments (something to which we can all relate), I remarked how I was so offended because I could still drive comfortably, so I knew my stomach couldn’t be comically huge yet. She looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.
So tall ladies of the world, a quick lesson:
When you’re short and pregnant, you know things are getting real when climbing into the car becomes an ordeal. After all, there’s only so much space between the seat and the steering wheel. Pregnancy doesn’t make your arms or legs grow (not longer, at least) and successfully reaching the pedals already require a too-close-for-department-of-transportation-approval seat setting.
It’s rather, uh, awkward.
So you start to measure the time to baby’s arrival by the distance between your burgeoning belly and the steering wheel. I’m no math whiz, but I’m sure a theorem exists using those measurements to more accurately predict the onset of labor.
Yeah, it’s a little scary, and it definitely ain’t pretty, but we’re just tiny people living in a too-big world. We make do.
There’s also the unpleasant reality of seat belts. Being short, you can never escape their oppressive-neck wrapping tendencies. This gets worse as your belly grows, pushing the belt further to the side and further into the face. Pregnant women being known for their patience, we tend to handle this frustration extremely well.
Of course, it gets worse as the weather cools and the jackets come out. Driving becomes a tad more perilous when said-seat belt obstructs your vision with a thick collar or fuzzy hood. Take a moment to actually picture such a fiasco and have a good laugh.
Someone should and it sure ain’t us!
Challenges in Public
On this front, I think we can all bond. Something about pregnant bellies make normally decent people lose all sense of respectability and social norms.
My recent favorite is the complete stranger who asked me to twirl for her — she spun her finger around and everything! The goal, I presume, was to inspect my pregnant body.
Don’t ask me why I actually did it. I assume the sheer insanity of the request temporarily numbed my brain but, guys, I felt like a show pony. It was sincerely strange. And when I finished, she simply muttered, “huh,” in a completely indiscernible tone.
Did she think I looked great? Did I look as crappy as I felt? Did I at least deserve a treat or blue ribbon for my efforts?! Apparently not — she offered no further comment.
We all have similar stories of bizarre behavior from people who act like pregnant women are some sort of rare, mythological creature.
But I would wager that the vertically challenged get more than their fair share. Here’s why:
When you’re short, you generally also have a small torso. This means you go from barely showing to “oh my God, let me call you an ambulance for your clearly imminent labor!” in a matter of weeks.
You get very little time to enjoy the “cute bump” stage because there’s nowhere for it to go but straight out. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the unfair expectation that petite people grow adorable little bellies.
***NEWSFLASH: The DNA dance requires two people and being a small person does not guarantee a small baby.***
It appears that a lot of people missed that day of health class (and the general logic-class that says the same size baby looks bigger when crammed in a smaller space). At least, I assume so based on the number of horrified looks I’ve gotten from people since before hitting the third trimester.
There’s also the uncomfortable stage when your fingers start to swell and your wedding ring is confined to the jewelry box. If, like me, your short stature is accompanied by a bit of a baby face and zero will to apply make-up, you might look something like a 13-year-old. And then you just might get a few awkward stares. Add this mixture to an alcohol run for a backyard barbecue and the situation becomes downright comical.
Finally, when you’re a short person with a large belly, it can be impossible to cross your legs. I assume this affects women of all sizes, but it hits us early and hard. At home this is no big deal; but in public it can make a girl feel like a slob, both because chairs juuuuust barely too tall require us to slouch to make our feet touch the floor and because, eventually, a full-grown baby belly necessitates some serious man-spreading.
All in all, when you’re short and pregnant, the struggle is real!
Granted, pregnancy also means we can finally wear the stylish tunics that had always overwhelmed our tiny frames … so we’ve got that going for us, at least. That makes up for all the other stuff, right? … right??