If you know me, you may have been wondering something. You’ve been patiently waiting, because you’re too polite to ask. So I am just going to put it out there.

I'm Not Pregnant, I'm Just Fat

I’m not pregnant; I’m just fat.

I’ve gained about 20ish pounds in the past year, and unfortunately when I gain weight it all goes to my stomach. Combine that with my historically bad posture and the fact that the rest of me is fairly average-sized, and yes, I look pregnant.

If I didn’t already know I looked pregnant, I would have figured it out when twice in the past two weeks, people I didn’t know at all assumed that I was already pregnant. I even got an, “Oh, and you’re obviously expecting!” in a professional setting — right in front of my husband and a friend. I’ve perfected the laugh, smile, and the casual, “Oh, no. Just leftovers from the last two!” But I’m not smiling on the inside. I’m mortified. And when my Zumba instructor tells me to slow down because I don’t want to hurt the baby, and then I have to explain (in front of a room full of strangers) that there is no baby and that’s why my chubby self is at Zumba? That sucks, too.

I’ve had this happen before, most memorably when we were trying to get pregnant and it just wasn’t happening. Do you know how much it hurts to explain to someone that you aren’t pregnant, you’re just fat, when all you want to be is pregnant? When someone congratulates you on the one thing you want the most and you don’t actually have it? And instead of acting how you feel and breaking down in tears, you try to hold it together because for some sick reason you’re worried about making that person feel bad, even though they just crushed your heart.

My friends, because they are awesome, will assure me that I look great, and that person was just an idiot. But I do look pregnant. I know I do. I can see the extra 20 pounds and where it has settled. Was the person an idiot for just assuming that I was pregnant and mentioning it out loud? Maybe. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. That doesn’t take away the sting. I don’t cry because they said it; I cry because I know it’s true. And I wish the reason for my weight gain was something happy like a baby and not something mortifying like my own laziness and lack of self-control. But it’s not. My stomach is fat and it’s my own fault.

I’ve blogged in the past about being called fat on Instagram, and how I wasn’t ashamed of my post-baby body. I think that is still true. I don’t determine my worth by the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. But that doesn’t mean I’m not embarrassed when someone I don’t know looks at my stomach and assumes that because of its size, there must be a human being growing in there. Maybe I am not as body confident as I thought. Maybe internet humiliation I can delete is easier to deal with than public humiliation I can’t.

I’m working on losing the weight. I need to, for my health and my kids. And I wish I could tell you that is my main motivation. But really? I am sick of being embarrassed in public. I was at an event with lots of my blogger friends this week, and the one thought that kept running through my mind was, “I bet I look pregnant in this dress. I bet they are all wondering if I am pregnant, but they’re too nice to ask.” I can’t do that. I can’t live my life that way. I can’t have my insecurities suck all the enjoyment out of my life.

I’m not planning on being pregnant again, but if it happens, I’ll tell you. Unless my water breaks on your shoes, please don’t ask or assume. I’m really tired of crying over it. In fact, can we just make it a rule not to do this to anyone? I don’t think my heart can take it again.