No, I am Not Pregnant. Self-Confidence in a Self-Conscious World

I’ve been asked if I’m pregnant a number of times by a number of people in a number of cities. I’ve been asked at 130 lbs, 140 lbs, and 150 lbs. I’ve been asked while wearing “empire-wasted” dresses, loose-fitting tops and sweaters, work aprons from my Whole Foods Market days, and most recently in a long skirt with a wide black-banded waste. I’ve been asked in Baltimore, Oakland, Hayward, San Leandro, and now Murphys, CA.

When I post to this health and wellness blog, I’m hoping to establish myself as an expert in the field by offering excellent, evidence-based advice and a creative perspective on how to live a sweet, rich life — and I believe that experts should look the part.

At the risk of completely undermining my credibility, but to prove a very salient point at the expense of my own ego (or perhaps to serve it, I haven’t yet decided), I’m telling you now that your “wellness guru” is asked if she’s pregnant on a regular basis.

By regular basis, I mean that since 2007, I’ve been asked about 8 times, counting one time when a stranger commented on my “belly” to her friend as I passed her on the sidewalk a few years ago (at about 148 lbs). I’ve been asked “when are you due?”, “may I ask when the baby’s due?”, “are you pregnant?” and my favorite, “can I ask you a question? don’t get mad, are you pregnant? No? oh, it’s just the dress.” All but 2 were women asking, and of those 6, 3 were of child-bearing age and one was my mother telling me that I looked pregnant to prove a point about how certain clothes make me look. Out of those 8, I’d say that about half were asking in earnest and the other half were being mean. Here are two examples of actual clothes I’ve been wearing when asked:

self-confidence

I do not believe that I’ve looked pregnant in any of the outfits or uniforms I’ve worn when asked. I do not believe I looked pregnant at 130 lbs, and I do not believe I looked pregnant at 150 lbs. I do not believe I look pregnant today. In fact, I wore the dress on the right this past weekend and two complete strangers went out of their way to tell me that they loved my feminine figure and how nice I looked in my dress.

Lucky for me, the same mother who “wasn’t telling me to hurt my feelings” that I looked pregnant “in a very cute dress” also did a great job instilling self-confidence in me as a child, and I still have that self-confidence today.

Lucky for me, the fact that I’ve been asked if I’m pregnant almost 10 times hasn’t sent me down an anorexic spiral of self-loathing or abuse.

I’ve told my friends and my husband that it’s happened so often at this point that I can just laugh it off, but in truth, I cry every time. Laughing is a defense mechanism to shield a temporary feeling of total deflation. Every time it happens, it ruins my day and keeps me up at night.

But I always bounce back.

My parents happened to be in town visiting the most recent time a stranger asked me when my baby was due, which spurred the comments I just mentioned from my mom. My dad said that he once asked a woman if she was pregnant, and he’ll never do it again or forget that day. He remembers exactly where he was, what she was wearing, and the look on her face. It was over 35 years ago.

If that’s how an accidental offender feels, how do you think the victim must feel? 

I’ll tell you. I remember where I was and what I was wearing every single time it’s happened to me since 2007, and I don’t think I’m soon to forget. I think about those times when I’m feeling down to confirm whatever negative thing I’m already thinking about myself or my body.

I’m sharing this very personal Achilles heal with you, because I’m tired of female on female inconsideration/competition/aggression/whatever it is, and I’m tired of people in general asking offensive, ignorant questions. If someone as confident as I am can be as bothered by this as I am, imagine how devastating it is to others who weren’t constantly told how awesome they were as young kids. I want people to stop and think before they ruin someone else’s day with a question like “are you pregnant?”

Spread the Love: A Positive Feedback Loop

I believe that part of taking care of ourselves is creating an environment around us that is loving, affirming, and supportive. I believe that part of lifting ourselves up is in lifting up others, supporting others, encouraging others, and assuring them that they are not alone in the world in whatever struggle they might be facing.

I believe that a healthy self-image is necessary for proper self-care, not the other way around. 

And I’m very grateful that I have a healthy self-image, despite these ridiculous questions and comments. If you’ve been asked if you’re pregnant when you are clearly not pregnant, you are not alone. It’s not what you’re wearing; it’s the jerk asking the question. You are beautiful.

If you are plagued with body image issues that are confirmed by ignorant commentary from those around you, you are not alone.

If you fall victim to the entrapping images of airbrushed women in magazines and feel that your body isn’t good enough, you are simply mistaken.

You are beautiful.

You are loved.

You are sexy.

I’m selfishly writing this post to vent my feelings of frustration that I’m awake at 11:50pm on a work night thinking about this, but my hope is that I’m also affirming you on your own journey to self-acceptance. I’m confident in my own resilience; I want you to be confident in yours. I will not be knocked down by this, and nor should you be.

I read a post recently by a 19 year-old woman “liking this picture of [her] cellulite,” and I think we need more messages like the one she’s sharing. I am not defined by my imperfections, and neither are you. We need not only to accept our own imperfections as part of what makes us us, but we also need to lift up those around us.

And if I haven’t made it clear yet, NEVER ask a woman if she’s pregnant. If she wants to tell you that she’s expecting, she will. Mind your own business and let her enjoy the rest of her day.

Daily Afformations – Wait, What’s an Afformation? | Cultivated Wellbeing

I’m very excited to welcome my first guest blogger Nathalie Beaupré to Cultivated Wellbeing! She’s the author of the children’s book Why Am I Perfect? and a blogger at Healthy Active Lifestyle. She’ll be covering a topic that’s 100% new to me, so I’m excited to share her knowledge with you today about afformations!

afformations

Nathalie Beaupré

Daily Afformations

by Nathalie Beaupré

To go from where you are to where you want to be requires a shift in your mind, and ultimately a change in your reality. It takes a tad of inspiration to think about what we want to create before feeling ready to see it come true, or manifestly visible in our lives. I believe that being conscious of the present moment and mindfully living and feeling it is the first step to manifesting what you want. The second step is seeing and feeling yourself where you want to be – this engages the imagination. The third step, which I won’t attempt to explain here, is letting go of the outcome.

To put these ideas in practice not only requires a concerted effort, it also requires a conscious “shift”, the need to move in another direction and change your perspective. We already know how to beat ourselves up emotionally – telling ourselves we aren’t good enough, attractive enough, smart enough; asking ourselves why we don’t have a better job or more money or better friends. What if we shifted those internal messages and, with a gentler tone, did some affirming of the positive things in our lives? Affirmations can come in handy right at these moments. They’re great for firming up what you want in a gentle, non-violent way:

  • I make positive contributions to the world and people around me.
  • I am attractive.
  • I am brilliant.
  • I have wonderful things to appreciate in my life.

I use affirmations to gain focus and guidance. They tend to bring on thoughts that point me in the right direction. Check out renowned author Louise Hay’s daily affirmations for some very well constructed examples of affirmations.

I am enough

What’s an Afformation?

A great way to turn an affirmation into an ever more powerful tool is to construct it in the form of a question. This is called an afformation. I actually prefer afformations, because they leave more room for the subconscious mind to build on the positivity of the question posed. Here’s a great example: compare how you feel after saying “Why do I always feel loved and supported?” with “I am always loved and supported.” These two statements come from the same place, and maybe even hold the same intention, but one asks your mind to generate examples, while one remains abstract.

With afformations, the trick is to practice to allow yourself to not answer the question. It’s a method developed by Noah St. John in 1997. He had been using affirmations daily but wasn’t quite reaching his desired effect. I learned about his story and this practice when I was going through a personal challenge – I was feeling scattered and unprepared, experiencing anxiety as I frequently do in the face of big changes in my life. In this case, I had incredible anxiety around the birth of my second child and the additional responsibility when my first son was just a year old. I was scared.

Manifesting Results:

Using afformations helped me reduce and eliminate my fear of not being good enough. I became more comfortable with my place in the world and over time felt more at peace with what was to come. I still remember the first afformation I chose to repeat: “Why am I more than enough?” After a few days of repeating this afformation, a light bulb lit up in my head: afformations are perfect for kids. Less than a week later my book for children, parents, and teachers was written and I was looking for a publisher. Talk about manifesting an outcome!

Growing up, I was somewhat fascinated with print and newspapers, and I always

preferred self-help books over the narrative. As I began developing my healing practice as an adult, I asked myself, “What do I need to learn? What do I want my children to learn?” I realized that I wanted to impart knowledge and practical life skills to my children. I wanted to provide them with tools for understanding life, for feeling fulfilled, for inquiring, tools for creating success in their own lives.

These types of questions are what have led me to create the Perfection Revolution, a movement that opens and unites. They have led me to write a book for children that shows them how to recognize their immediate wholeness. Why Am I Perfect? is a “toolbook” of empowerment for children – I believe that starting this process in early childhood will help build confident, self-actualized adults in the long run.

afformations

A friend and author, Greg Doyle, who recently read my book said:

“by wording an affirmation in the form of a “why” question, you allow your unconscious mind free reign to find its own answers, and by doing so, the innate perfection within reveals itself—effortlessly.  As someone who uses affirmations regularly, I have to say this book knocked my socks off!  It simply works far beyond the logical ‘demands’ of the stated affirmation.”

There are so many great tools out there that can aid our minds in releasing blocks and assisting us in feeling our very best – truly living our purpose. I coach my Forensic Healing clients with both afformations and affirmations.

My gift to you today is the following list of seven afformations.

They’ll be used in a multilingual e-colouring book I’ll be producing later in 2014. I challenge you to include them in your feel-good routine, starting today:

  1. Why is beauty everywhere?
  2. Why am I perfect love?
  3. Why does peace start with me?
  4. Why is each color a special gift?
  5. Why do I love BEING in nature?
  6. Why am I happy with myself?
  7. Why am I always more than enough?

 

Nathalie Beaupré is the first Forensic Healer in Canada and the author of Why Am I Perfect? a book to empower children, parents and teachers.  Meet her on Facebook where she’s created a group dedicated to her revolutionary book. Read her blog here. She also is on LinkedIn and has a very fun Perfection Revolution Pinterest board with brilliant learning activities for children. Listen to Nathalie’s one hour interview which features a childhood healing meditation FREE.

Last updated by at .