No Neighbor, I’m Not Carrying Twins

Pope Francis Blesses Baby in Womb

Newsflash: I’m pregnant. Visibly pregnant. And guess what? I still have 3 months to go.

Some folks just say the darndest things, don’t they? Here was my exchange with a man and his wife after Mass yesterday.

“So how much longer you got?” the man asks while pointing at my belly.

“Oh I still have three months to go. I’m due October 22.”

His eyes got a little bigger and then exclaimed, “Woah! Are you sure you don’t have twins in there?”

I’m thinking, Hey buddy, I don’t think you’ll be blowing away in the wind anytime soon yourself there! “Yeah, ha ha ha, last time the doctor checked, there’s only one babe in there. I guess I just make ‘em big,” as I point to my very tall children, a 4-1/2 year old and 18-month old who could easily pass for 7 and 2 respectively.

But if that’s not enough, even after I set the record straight, the man’s wife still approached my husband Joel and said, “No, I really think there are twins in there.”

Maybe in three months if, and that’s a big-ol’ whopping if, I deliver twins I’ll look back on this encounter and laugh hysterically. But for now I’m wondering what possesses a person, no TWO persons, to say such things to a pregnant woman.

Woe is me. It isn’t the first time I’ve heard such comments.

While pregnant with Lucy I worked outside the home and vividly remember when, at about the same 6-month mark, a coworker approached me in the office hallway and shouted, “Are you sure you aren’t having twins?!” so that anyone within a 50,000-foot radius heard her. It was all a little ironic and sad because I actually had been pregnant with twins but we lost one baby early in the pregnancy. At the time, the comment stung more because of that reality.

For whatever reason, I begin to look very pregnant at about the sixth month mark. ‘Tis what it is. I’m 5’4″ with a short torso — where’s the baby gonna go, people? And I do make big, healthy babes. For what it’s worth, the average newborn in America weighs in at 7 pounds, 7.54 ounces. Lucy weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces at birth (which by the way is the ideal size for a newborn according to one medical expert, thank you very much!). Jude entered this world a very healthy 10 pounds, 8 ounces. And this one? Well, time will tell. If he or she is another 10-pounder, then so be it. I am grateful for delivering strong and healthy babies; it’s better than the alternative.

Still, those “ohmygosh, you are so huge!” comments … well, they really are hard to hear.

* * *

Thankfully I heard something else on Sunday morning, a message far greater and more powerful than any indignation I felt over a silly comment made by a nice, and yes they were nice, couple. That message comes to us from Luke 10:25-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jesus tells a story of a brutal highway robbery that leaves a Jewish man lying half-dead by the roadside. As the parable goes, two men, a priest and a Levite, see the victim by the side of road yet pass by without stopping to help. A third man, a Samaritan, an outsider who would have been despised by Jews, is the one who stops to treat the victim and shows true neighborly compassion and mercy to another in dire need. We typically focus on the Samaritan’s actions in this parable, but it wasn’t simply his actions that gave him the “Good Samaritan” title. It was also the posture of his heart. The Samaritan first loves, and then that love motivates him into action to help the injured Jewish man. True love motivated him to help a “neighbor” in need.

* * *

So what the heck does my ever-expanding belly and a couple rude comments have to do with the Good Samaritan? Here’s the nugget I’ve been chewing on. I’ve three months to go, folks, and I bet plenty more comments about my appearance and weight will still be hurled my way. While my physical posture may stink because of this growing babe in my womb, the posture of my heart doesn’t have to equally stink. I really wanted to point to the guy’s belly and tell him it looked like he was pregnant with twins, too. Thankfully this time, probably due to the parable I had just heard, love took hold of my tongue and shut off my auto-snark response. And that’s the thing about love — true love for God compels us to show charity toward our neighbors, even those who say the darndest of things.

Maybe you aren’t the frequent recipient of such pregnant jokes, but chances are there is someone who’s always hanging around and no matter how well-intentioned this person is, he or she just says or does the rudest of things, making it really hard for you to show love, to be love, in return. In that moment, remember the parable of the Good Samaritan and the posture of his heart — he first loves, and then that love motivates him into performing good deeds.

Any of this sound familiar? Have your own personal parable to tell? Share below!

(Hat tip to Mark Hart’s Beyond Words reflection for planting the “posture of his heart” thoughts on my heart these last 24-hours.) 

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Comments

  1. says

    For the record, you look absolutely beautiful! Congratulations!

    Secondly, I am pregnant right now, and I love your take on being charitable toward those who say insensitive things!!! This post is great!

    • says

      Thanks, Michele! I appreciate the kind words and support of solidarity! Part of me thinks all the rude comments we pregnant women all too often hear just plays into the larger “baby-hating” mentality that permeates our culture. Blessings to you – hoping you are healthy and feeling well.

  2. says

    Oh dear Lisa. Who cares if people think you are pregnant with more than one baby? There is nothing sinful or embarrassing about having a big mother-to-be belly but a tribute to God who is the author of LIFE! Thanks God for a big belly. It only means that your baby is alive and growing :)

  3. Kilty says

    My midwife assures me that when you are short (especially 5’2″ short!) the baby has nowhere to grow but out! I often let the comments ruminate and make me angry, so this post is definitely right up my alley! But, it is good to have some prepared comebacks that are charitable and positive, like, “We are just so blessed to be bringing another life into the world”, even though I’d rather say something like, “What? I’m not even expecting!” (make them really uncomfortable), or ” Yes, and when are YOU due?” But, honestly, most of them are men who have no idea how unthoughtful it is to comment on a woman’s weight, especially when there is not much you can do about your size! It’s not like we can workout more and shrink! So, my dear husband will usually try and step in and say, very politely, “Didn’t your parents ever teach you not to comment on a woman’s age or weight?” and I’ll try and forget that I look like a whale… but thanks for the post! :) I think you look great!

    • says

      Your charitable comments are good! I need to have one of those ready rather than just blankly staring at people. And God love Bryan. He has just a way with words, doesn’t he? And YOU look awesome. Can’t wait to meet your little one!

  4. Theresa A Ostendorf says

    Hi Lisa, I had big babies.. the biggest was 10 ½ lbs. and almost 23″ long… and I’m 5’2″. I got Lots of comments on being big… but, I didn’t mind them at all.. because heck – I was! We actually had to change parishes when I was pregnant with our first child because (and this is true) I couldn’t move in the pews anymore! It was an old church built in the 1800′s… and kneeling was impossible. My charitable response back was, “Thank you!” because I Loved being obviously pregnant in this anti-life society.

  5. says

    People are always saying rude, idiotic things. I got plenty of those comments when I was pregnant but mostly my bane is the “boy, you’ve sure got your hands full, don’t you?” variety that get to me. I got it again today and I wanted to pull out the Wolverine claws. Instead I smile tolerantly and refrain from saying anything at all…because if I look witchy, they’re just going to put another tick mark in the “it’s a bad thing to have 4 kids” category.

  6. Mike Brinker says

    Lisa- great to see you and the fam sunday night at Jordan creek! For what its worth- from my vantage point I didn’t even notice your pregnant belly!

  7. says

    Girl, you’re on a roll with the awesome posts.

    Sigh. My favorite time of being pregnant is before you’re showing — when it’s just a secret, and only you and your husband know. When I start to show, I feel like I’m wearing a giant sign that says, “Hey! Random rude stranger! Come and make some unwanted comment on my belly!”

    Argh.

    At work, the conversation would go like this ….
    Random Person: “Oh, you’re pregnant”
    me: Yup
    RP: “when are you due?”
    me: June
    RP: “Is this your first baby?”
    me: Nope. This is baby #5
    RP: “OMG! You’re crazy.”

    Phew. Next time around, I need to work on having a better ‘posture of my heart.’

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