It's happened three times in the last six weeks.
The first time, it was a casual gesture toward my mid-section accompanied by, "How many does this make for you now?" I mercifully misunderstood the question, and seconds after answering, "I have four girls!" I realized that I was actually being asked something quite different. I swore never to wear that high-waisted dress again and laughed about it with Tony.
I began exercising regularly the next day.
A month later, it was an acquaintance shyly approaching me and whispering, "Can I ask you something? Are you pregnant again?" I smiled and said, "No! But thank you for motivating me to exercise more!" I couldn't blame the clothing this time. Tony and I laughed about it again.
I swore off dessert the next day.
Finally, a few days ago, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard an exclamation: "Oh! You're going to have another baby!" I put on my best half-smile and said, "No ... I'm not." I could feel that my eyes weren't smiling with my mouth, though.
When I got home that day, I broke down sobbing. Third time's a charm!
That night, I broke down sobbing again.
Tony held me and listened, because what does a good husband say?
(By the way, I don't have hard feelings toward any of the people who asked me those questions. All three of them are the sweetest people.)
I do weigh more than I weighed in college, but I am not overweight. I am happy with myself. I have a happy husband. I have happy children. I exercise as much as I care to at this season in my life. But I HAVE A BABY BUMP that I cannot get rid of (well, not fast enough, anyway) because I have carried inside of me, practically back-to-back, four of the best children God has ever graced the earth with -- I even carried two of them at the same time.
I thought that awkwardly getting asked if you're pregnant is something that happens to every woman once in her lifetime. Apparently, I get to hear it regularly. The only thing I can change is how it affects me, and I'm not going to pretend like it hasn't affected me, cumulatively.
My consolation is this: if I had to do it all again, knowing that I would lose my girly figure and get asked awkward questions in public, I would. Because the end result is worth it. Now, if somebody can just help me out by reminding me of that next time I get asked ...