PSA: I’m Not Pregnant — My Stomach Sticks Out

I’m not pregnant. My stomach sticks out. This is my body. I have survived anorexia and now, your question.

A few years ago I was asked if I was pregnant when I wasn’t, and I cried. I am open about my recovery from eating disorders, and while most of the time I can smile and tell anorexia and negative self-image to go shoe-shopping in hell, I think it’s important to acknowledge that recovery can come with bad days.

I don’t think I looked pregnant two years ago. This time, it is more likely I do. In recent weeks I’ve been asked several times if I’m pregnant by a variety of people who mean well (all of whom apologized profusely).

The reality is that my stomach protrudes. Compared to some pregnant people, I probably do look pregnant.

It’s not practical to walk around sucking in all the time. I’m not particularly interested in giving up my cute, form-fitting clothes. Most important, I don’t want to go on a diet. I know that, for me, the words diet and death are too close for comfort. And so, I’ve had to learn how to deal with people thinking I’m pregnant without turning knives into myself.

I’m not pregnant. My stomach sticks out. This is my body. It takes up space. My body takes up space in ways that some people do not readily understand.

Loving yourself is a radical act. You can hate oppressive systems and the self-doubt and presumed right to question that comes with them. You can forgive the people who push the buttons that are supposed to hurt you (though refusing to forgive can be righteous, too). You can find transcendence. I am choosing to forgive others and myself, while working to change the culture. I am finding transcendence.

The best gift I can give to myself, my activism, and the people who love me is to move on. The radical gift I have for all of us is to share this information without shame.

5 thoughts on “PSA: I’m Not Pregnant — My Stomach Sticks Out

  1. Alpha Woman

    I love this post; thanks. I especially like your common-sense rule about how NOT forgiving others’ contempt is “righteous,” too. I submit that forgiving anyone is human arrogance at the least, and ineffective (for all concerned) at the most. If you, Erin, were to ask me for advice, I’d suggest that you not forgive others for their mean-spirited mis-perceptions–in the same way we don’t forgive nazis for their willful ignorance, heinous deeds or hateful thoughts. Some sentient beings are simply not worth our serious, humane time or consideration. On the other feminist hand, being perceived to be pregnant can be a beautiful thing–whether we are or not, eh?

  2. Also a survivor

    So moved and so identify with your post, and actually, so pleased to know this extended tummy is not just something I have! Thought it was just me!!!! i didn’t realize it was connected to that dark past which still so often, rears its head in unexpected places. My theme song is: I am still standing. I receommend it!

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