The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

Archive for the category “My Soapbox”

Be nice to pregnant women!

Her body is expanding daily and finding clothes that fit and match, without making her look like a sack of potatoes, is increasingly becoming something akin to juggling six balls in one hand. Her skin is stretching tighter than a drum by the day, with the brush strokes of stretch marks etched all over like a child’s canvas.

Her hormones are raging and mood swings become the norm rather than the exception. She cries at the drop of a hat one minute, and laughs hysterically, the next. Smells of anything from food to perfume send her to the bathroom retching out her guts. The simple act of brushing her teeth is enough to bring up the bile from her innards. She suffers a myriad of medical conditions including heartburn, varicose veins, constipation, incontinence, anaemia, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure and bleeding gums.

Her centre of balance is almost non-existent and she is slowly but surely losing every ounce of momentum that she once took for granted. Tasks as simple as bending or getting off a chair take her thrice as long and require such manipulation of limbs that any contortionist would envy.

Her nose may double in size, her feet, ankles now ‘cankles’ and hands sometimes swell and every time she brushes her hair, she wonders if the Lord is truly keeping count as the hair on her brush seem to outnumber the hair on her head. She has cravings that range in weirdness from sniffing petrol fumes to eating carrots and chocolate together. She may have an irresistible urge to stuff her face 24/7 or totally go off food.

The very thought of standing on the weight scale gives her the heebie-jeebies as the needle never seems to come to a rest and when it does, it reveals weight gains she never imagined possible. She feels bloated.

Finding a comfortable position to sleep in at night is an exercise in futility as no sooner than she does, the little one decides it is time to practice calisthenics on her already full bladder. If she is lucky enough to doze off uninterrupted by the call of nature, she may be woken up at some point by leg cramps or some other malaise.

All of the above, and too many more to mention, are the some of the things that a pregnant woman has to deal with in varying degrees for 40 odd weeks. As much as pregnancy is a wonderful thing, it can also bring with it some pain, discomfort and major readjustment.

Comments like “you’re a bit big, aren’t you?”, “are you sure it’s not twins?”, “your bump is rather tiny”, etc are not very smart and go a long way to eroding her already shaken self-confidence. She knows you mean well but hearing these comments time and time again can do more damage than good.

So the next time you are tempted to state the obvious when you see a burgeoning tummy, resist! She’s got eyes. She can see everything you see when she looks in the mirror and she doesn’t need you confirming what she already knows and can do nothing about. The next time you are wont to share from the deep wells of your wisdom and extensive knowledge of pregnancy, don’t! Every woman is unique; each pregnancy, different. One size doesn’t fit all.

And please, refrain from sharing the gory details of your or someone else’s horrific pregnancy/birth story. She doesn’t need to be further scared by anything you have to say, her imagination is doing a good enough job without your help. If you have nothing positive or complimentary to say, then mum should be the word.

Do not, I repeat, do not rub her tummy! How would you feel if a perfect stranger (or even someone you knew, for that matter) walked up to you and groped your tummy? Admire the bump, but do not touch it! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Instead give up your seat for her on the bus, tube, in church, at a party or wherever you see her. Compliment her on the new glow she has acquired, her dressing and whatever else you can think of. Express admiration for the noble job she is doing of bearing the next generation. Commend her for going through what may be a particularly difficult time with dignity. Inquire about her welfare and listen to what she has to say without interrupting.

She is bearing a heavy load and remember, the Bible admonishes us to “bear one another’s burdens.”

Thanks for stopping by and tara for now.


Discrimination against large feet. Sizeism?

‘Bata’ was a shoe company in Nigeria when I was growing up. Most of us who went to school in Nigeria in the ’70’s and 80’s had our school shoes bought from Bata. To say they weren’t the most flattering footwear would be a gross understatement. Apparently the company still exists in some parts of the world and they have an online shop. If like me you wonder if it still make those ugly shoes, Google it!

‘Bata’ became common usage for the word ‘shoes’ in the western part of the country. Anyway I tried to find a word that meant lover of shoes but couldn’t. The word for ‘lover of’ in English, originally from Greek, is ‘phile.’ So in my usual fashion and with my poetic licence,  I put the two together to make ‘bataphile’ meaning ‘lover of shoes’.

So I told you I don’t enjoy shopping much here but I am a ‘bataphile’. I do love shoes and am able to overcome my dislike for shopping just to get some.

There’s just something about pretty shoes that does it for me. They serve the practical purpose of protecting your feet. Ok, I have to admit that there are some styles that do more harm than good but I’m not referring to those. Shoes have the innate ability to dress an outfit up or down. They are great morale boosters and they make feet look good, even ‘ugly’ feet.

I love shoes. Different types of shoes. Great trainers for functional reasons not necessarily for aesthetics, strappy high-heeled sandals, court shoes, ballerina pumps, flat sandals, roman/gladiator sandals, slippers etc. I love them all. I wish I could afford to buy a pair of each style in every colour.

The reason for this post wasn’t necessarily to let you know about my love of shoes but to gripe about something else.

Could someone please enlighten me why it is that a lot of shoe manufacturers feel that it’s not worth bothering with anyone with feet larger than a UK size 8 (US size 10)? And why do the selective few who deign to make shoes in larger sizes reckon that people with larger feet can surely not possess any appreciation for cute styles or possibly have any fashion sense?

While you’re at it, could you also tell me why shoe manufacturers automatically assume that large feet are always appendages of large calves? So that when I do manage to find knee-length boots that fit my size eight and a half /size nine feet, there is usually enough extra leather in the calf section to make an additional pair of shoes? My feet may be large but they are narrow and my calves slim. Who says large feet can’t do dainty and delicate?

I don’t get it. You see a lovely pair of shoes in a shop window, you walk in and ask to try on a pair in your size. That’s when you get the look. The one that says;

“Oh you miserable sod! You’re one of ‘them’! Yours will never be the pleasure of prancing around in pretty high heels. Nor will you ever know the joy of strutting your stuff on the dance floor wearing sparkly ballerina pumps. For you will be bulky boat shoes and clunky clogs. Perhaps you’ll fare better in the men’s section?”

Then with pity in his/her eyes, he/she smiles and says ever so politely;

“I’m sorry, our shoes only go up to size 8.”

This is a scene that is replayed over and over again when I go shoe-shopping and quite frankly, I’m fed up. It’s sizeism! It’s discrimination of the worst kind! The kind that never makes the headlines. The kind that goes unnoticed as a large percentage of the world’s population will never experience it either because they don’t fall into this category or because they simply can’t be bothered with wearing shoes at all.

I’ve a mind to start lobbying my local MP for a new bill to be passed in the Houses of Parliament. It will become illegal for shoe manufacturers not to make and shoe retailers not to stock pretty and fashionable footwear in larger sizes. Anyone who falls foul of this law will be liable to supply said footwear to the customer for the rest of their (customer’s) life. And should aforementioned customer die within five years of award under suspicious circumstances, then any offspring who has inherited similarly sized extremities shall benefit from same.

What say you? Yea or nay?

Tara for now.

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