One Question Not to Ask



The year was 1995 and I looked like the picture.  I had been married for eight years and had gained around 110 pounds.  Impressive to be sure.  I worried about my size a lot.  I was a size 10 when we married, and had a closet full of great clothes.  My only worry with clothes at that nice smallish size was what fabulous outfit to buy next. Should I buy the cute suit for the office, or the great new pair of jeans in black? But unfortunately, I quickly gained weight, and my size increased rapidly. Size 10’s were a thing of the past. Onto size 12, 14, 16’s and then, HELLO PLUS SIZE DEPARTMENT. Not a good day, that one.

Finally hitting 280 pounds,  I worried a lot about clothes.  I had a closet full of clothes that ranged from my old size of 10 to my current size 28.  Of course the smaller sized clothes wouldn’t have fit around my right arm, and sad to say, the largest of the clothing was getting small.  I had resorted to making really ugly jumpers that I wore with t-shirts purchased from the men’s department.  I had grown so large  I was afraid  that soon it would be impossible to purchase clothes that would fit me anymore.

And sad to say, that fear came true. I mostly wore faded leggings or jumpers. Wearing jumpers has some definite advantages for the overweight woman.  They are loose, they come in many colors, and you can grow into them if needed.  And I needed to grow into them often.

One disadvantage to the jumper is this:  When they are getting a bit tight all the way around, you may get asked a question you don’t want to answer. 

A question like this:  When are you due?

The first time this happened to me was after my first daughter was born.  I was wearing what I thought was a really pretty yellow jumper. The baby was about 9 or 10 months old, and she and I had spent the morning shopping at the mall.  At our last stop, I was standing in line to pay for an outfit and the lady standing next to me said, “My your children will be close in age won’t they?”  I looked at her uncomprehendingly and said, “Excuse me?”  She repeated her statement, and I realized, with horror, she thought I was pregnant.  I was mortified, but probably not as mortified as she was when I explained that I just hadn’t lost the baby weight yet, and I was definitely not pregnant.

This happened to me over and over again through my obese years.  People would ask, “When is the baby due?” and I would fall all over myself explaning why I was so big.  Finally, I came up with the perfect answer to this rather distressing question.  I would say, “THE BABY IS DUE IN _________.”  I’d fill in the appropriate month, depending on the time of year.  They would say “Good luck with the delivery” and go off on their way.  And as they left, part of me would die inside each time this happened.  I’m not exgaggrating when I tell you that this probably happened about 10 times a year. You would think that I would have gotten used to it but I didn’t.

I hope that this has never happened to you. There are so many embarrassing moments that happened to me over the years and  I’ve never forgotten any of them. But instead of feeling badly and beating myself up over my appearance and choices back then, now I use these incidents as one more reminder of why I never want to go back where I came from.  If you are ever tempted to go back to your old ways, just remember and write down some of the reasons you’ve been working so hard to get where you want to go.  Diane

41 thoughts on “One Question Not to Ask

  1. Miz says:

    I laugh that, while my loss isnt as tremendous as some, THIS TOTALLY HAPPENED TO ME WHILE CAR SHOPPING!
    we were looking at bigger vehicles (2 huge dogs) and the sales guy looked at my belly and asked:

    when are you due??

    My husband wanted to die—more out of fear for what would come out of my mouth next than anything else.

    I was so taken aback I merely said: Im not pregnant.

    and yeah.

    cue deafening silence.

    Id totally forgotten that whole story 🙂 and yeah. if I blog it I shall link back to you!
    .-= Miz´s last blog ..A failure to Jyze. =-.

  2. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    It only happened to me once, but that was enough. Crowded room, awkward silence. Ugh. I wanted so badly to say, “I have a tumor,” or something that would make the person feel bad, and then I realized that any answer other than when the baby was due was going to make her feel bad enough.

    You’re right: it’s better used as ammunition in the battle rather than as a source of shame.
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Wishing You a Meme-y Christmas =-.

  3. Mia says:

    My father and his brother, my Uncle, once told me I looked pregnant. They said this to me when I was only 19 years old and pure as snow! Granted, I had on this ugly waitresses uniform but still! My own father!

    That and my Grandmother who said more than once..”You’d be so pretty if you just lost some weight!”

    You can be sure that I am very sensitive to what I say to my children and friends. I always say a positive thing about everyone! My philosophy is life is “There’s not enough positive reinforcement in the world!” (For anybody who know Behavioral Modification, you will recognize this lingo!)


  4. Amy H. says:

    I’ve never asked anyone that question simply because you just never know. Why put yourself in that position? I guess some people can’t keep their curiosity in check. My SIL asked our waitress once when she was due and the waitress was completely offended. If somebody wants to share their pregnancy with you, they will! Never ask!
    .-= Amy H.´s last blog ..Moving On =-.

  5. Susan says:

    Whyyyy are people still asking this question!? Did you carry a lot of your weight in your mid-section? My mom carries almost all her body fat in her tummy (something I fortunately/unfortunately inherited depending on how you look at it). I’ve been with her several times when people have asked her when the baby is due, and she’s not even that big!!! Just a combo of a little tummy pudge + loose clothing. Ugh. These days though, she’s taken a more positive approach to it. She’s 55, so now she just gets flattered people think she’s still young enough to have kids 😉
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Starbucks For Dummies – The Tutorial =-.

  6. Monica says:

    This has happened to me too. Not only this question but a lot of other embarassing ones. I just try to laugh it off but it is not easy.

    You are right in using these kinds of embarrassing moments to make you stronger.

  7. Sally says:

    I often wonder why people still even ask this question. It is so annoying. They might as well just say, “Why are you so big!” I hate that a lot.

    Although I haven’t had this question, there have been others ones thrown my way along my journey to get out of obesity. One of them is, “Perhaps you should consider gastric bypass surgery.” I wanted to slap them.

  8. Sara N. says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you BUT so glad it doesn’t anymore unless you really are expected. It’s so rude of people to focus on physical things and I wish they wouldn’t.

    No one would ever ask a disabled person this kind of pointed thing, nor would they assume they knew their condition if they didn’t.

    Good for you on coming up with an answer, and even better that you don’t have to worry about that anymore because you certainly carry no weight in your midsection!

  9. Trish @IamSucceeding says:

    I only wish this never happened…but has on many occasions…*sigh* SOmeday I amhoping it to be a faded bad memeory in the past.

    You ahve done such an amazing job and am inspired each time I visit your blog. Thank you.
    .-= Trish @IamSucceeding´s last blog ..HFW: Vegetables =-.

  10. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    I have heard this from people it happened to as well Diane. Thank you for sharing.

    Like you, I keep in mind what I felt like when I was heavy & I NEVER want to go back there.. it keeps me moving forward!!!!

  11. Anonymous Fat Girl says:

    Diane I thought I was one of the few people this has happened too. Are people on crack? I couldn’t imagine asking a stranger this question!

    After my first stint in college I was well over 200 lbs and growing. I was working at my first “real” professional job. This was in the late 90’s when the little baby doll dresses were really in. The ones you’d wear with leggings underneath. Well I had the cutest one on (so I thought). That day one of the company’s employees – a cute little Asian gal that probably weighed 80 lbs – was up at our location. She asked me when I was due. I horrified. And shocked. I think I made some excuse as to why I looked pregnant. I remember thinking I didn’t want to make her feel bad or embarrassed. Why I have no idea. All I know now is that is something YOU NEVER, EVER, ASK ANYONE!

    By the way I wish I would have been skillful enough to create jumpers, especially during my pregnancies. It was soooo hard finding pregnancy clothes for the super large woman. Someone could really make money doing that. 🙂
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..My real name is Bobbie and I hate it =-.

  12. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Someone asked me a few years back when the baby was due when I wasn’t pregnant. Definitely not a good moment…

    And I so agree, it’s so important to remind ourselves why it’s so important to keep going in the right direction…

  13. Sarah says:

    Oh Diane, it made my heart ache to read that you started naming a due date. I’m lucky enough to never have been asked that particular question (not even during my two pregnancies, which is a whole other sadness) but I have experienced so many other things just like that.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Week 35: -4.0 =-.

  14. Diane says:

    Your post reminds me of one really ironic thing. When I was at my heaviest, I was never asked when I was due because I tend to carry my weight in odd places and in my lower stomach. It hangs very low. When I did finally get pregnant after a long struggle of infertility, I did not look obviously pregnant because my suddenly pregnant stomach made my lower stomach look normal. I also carried my son transverse, so things were not normal. I would have killed to have anyone, at any time , ask me “When are you due”. Not enough to give up my weight loss efforts, but …
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Holidays are happy things =-.

  15. Tiffany says:

    Shouldn’t the general rule of thumb be: Unless you see a woman’s water breaking…don’t ask? 🙂

    Sorry that this every happened to you- but you’re right- it is extremely motivating to think of the things that were horribly embaressing (ex-the time I couldn’t fit into a roller coaster ride and had to get off in front of everyone) and allow it to be a force that drives us on to becoming better.

    Love your posts!
    .-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Tip Tuesday! =-.

  16. vickie says:

    I have had that happen MANY, MANY times. And yes, it was a factor of WHERE I carried my weight (torso) and the fact that I was most comfortable in maternity type styles because I carried my weight in my torso.

    TO THIS DAY – I still gravitate toward those styles when I look for clothes.

    I (now) never get so far as trying them on – because (now) I can say to myself –
    yes, those are the styles that I used to wear –
    and then I say to myself –
    but even at this size – they will hit your chest and then hang straight down and look like a maternity top.

    I have to make myself look for things that are very fitted.

    And amazingly I was never mortified when people asked me that (maybe if I had been a little more upset I would have been moved to action a lot quicker). I could totally see WHY they thought that – I absolutely did look pregnant. And I always did tell them NO and then let them die a thousand deaths with silence so they would not assume with the next person.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..I asked for a full size mirror for Christmas =-.

  17. Nicole, MS, RD, LD says:

    This happened to me once, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I was screening a man in a hospital with a clipboard wedged into my stomach and my pelvis shifted out to help hold up the clipboard so I could write, and he asked when I was due. At 5’3+ and 130lbs I was SO mortified. I was also 19! I’ll never forget it, though.
    .-= Nicole, MS, RD, LD´s last blog ..Lily, Pinky, and a Chobani Winner! =-.

  18. Tony says:

    Wow that would definitely suck. I’d tell people I was pregnant too! It’s better than saying that you aren’t and making them feel awkward as well.
    .-= Tony´s last blog ..Tense =-.

  19. Deniz says:

    Hmmm, happened to me too. I remember it vividly even though it was one brief, passing incident more than ten years ago!

    I still remember feeling shocked, embarrassed, angry, horrified and humiliated and realising that I’d become oh so fat that my baggy ‘hide it’ clothes did nothing of the sort.

    Just wish it had kicked me into action then… but it didn’t 🙁
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..Holding on in there =-.

  20. Lori says:

    I started keeping a journal when I was a Jr in Highschool and wrote pretty consistently till I started my blog last year. (for about 12ish years) I’ve thought about throwing the journals away, but haven’t b/c they’re a constant reminder of how unhappy I was. They almost make me cry to read them, b/c I see all the bad choices, and emotional estimated I was doing. It took going to a Christian counselor for 2 years (that I’m still going to see) to figure out why I was doing what I was doing.

  21. Pam says:

    I had the opposite happen to me – I was so big around my middle and butt that everyone just thought I was getting fatter when I WAS pregnant! I can’t tell you the surprised looks I got from at least a dozen people when I mentioned that I was 6 or more months pregnant, or in the case of our neighbors – they were pretty new and we only spoke every now and again – but when I told him that I had just had a baby I thought his jaw was going to hit the ground. It was almost comical…now…three years later…just not so much then.
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Just a Stop-Over until the 26th =-.

  22. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    I never was asked this question thank goodness, but I am surprised it never happened. I just cannot believe that people even ask that question. Unless you see a baby actually crowning, you should never assume a woman is pregnant.
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Family day! =-.

  23. Lola says:

    Thank you. You’re right. I need to not forget all the embarrassing moments I’ve had. I need to not forget the reason I’m doing this.

    Everytime I see a jumper, I think of you and how sad you seem when you write about it. :o(
    .-= Lola´s last blog ..Bah! =-.

  24. Leah says:

    I’ve been asked that before also, and it’s a horrible feeling to be sure.

    Thanks for reminding us to remember why we’re working on loseing weight and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

  25. South Beach Steve says:

    Diane, I have to admit that I have asked that question to a non-pregnant lady before. After she explained to me that her baby was X months old, I vowed to never ask that question again unless I was absolutely certain the lady was pregnant.
    .-= South Beach Steve´s last blog ..Life After the Hot 100 =-.

  26. Hanlie says:

    My natural shape is an hourglass and I always had a really flat belly. So the first time someone congratulated me on my “pregnancy” (a complete stranger – I was working in a service industry), it felt like a bucket full of ice water had just been poured over me. Since then it’s happened to me a few times, and of course it’s really hurtful, considering that I’m infertile.

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