Global News meteorologist Kristi Gordon has faced criticism during her pregnancy.

COLUMN: Have compassion for pregnant women

Critical comments about pregnant women and tight-fitting clothing are frustrating, but not surprising, writes Kristi Gordon.

By Kristi Gordon, Special to the Peace Arch News

I listened to The Goddard Report interview with White Rock Coun. David Chesney.

His critical comments about pregnant women and tight-fitting clothing were frustrating, but I wasn’t surprised.

As the person whose critics sparked the maternity-wear comments, I know he is not alone. On nights when I wear fitted tops or dresses on-air at Global News, we get many calls to the TV station.

Our receptionists, Carolyn and Melissa, have been amazing at fielding and tracking them. While 95 per cent of the calls are supportive of pregnancy and any type of clothing, about five per cent are not.

We have heard words such as ‘flaunting’, ‘teasing’, ‘ugly’ and ‘unprofessional’.

I also receive emails like this…

“…it is not pleasing to look at hump every day. PLEASE have her take her mat leave now. Unless of course u instruct to wear loose clothing in this condition…”

This condition? As if I have an illness.

“…what are you wearing???? I thought we were past the body socks!!! Have some class, we all know what a baby belly looks like.”

So, do I stop wearing fitted clothes?

I don’t purposely want to make people angry. But… pregnancy can make you feel so large and unattractive; it’s nice to put on something that makes you feel a little less frumpy.

Besides, times have changed. Pregnant women don’t have to feel ashamed of their bodies. This type of disapproval is a relic from a different time.

I don’t understand how a pregnant belly can bring on so much emotional criticism.

Is it really that big of a deal? There are far more important things to be upset about.

So no, I won’t stop wearing fitted clothing from time to time. I would prefer to encourage acceptance rather than give in to the bellyachers.

In addition to this issue of tight clothing, there is a more-damaging topic Chesney brought up. It’s pregnancy in the workplace and the role of maternity leave.

He said: “The way the law is nowadays… you know you get one-year maternity leave so women want to come to work until that water breaks so that they can have one year off from the time the baby is born. They’re not taking a month off ahead of time. They’re coming to work. They’re barely able to walk. They can’t sit down. They’re not comfortable.”

This is an incredible example of the lack of compassion some have on what women go through in order to have a family. Nearly all women now work because we have to; households rely on us financially and many have careers we love.

We end up with significant challenges to balance the pressures of work while our bodies go through incredible changes with tiredness, nausea and swelling. And that’s if the pregnancy goes well!

Yes, we make the choice to have a baby, but it doesn’t make it easy.

Then there’s the issue of clothing. Pregnant women need an entirely new wardrobe. But who can afford all these new clothes? So we try to get by on stretchy clothes we already own, like Lululemon pants and tops.

When it comes to maternity leave, we are lucky to have a full year. But this isn’t a vacation. It allows a mom to be with her baby during a fragile time.

Why would we want to limit this? And force these precious little beings into the care of others? Depending on financial ability, this care may be less than ideal.

So, to the people who feel it’s necessary to complain about a pregnant woman’s appearance, please don’t. Try to be more compassionate.

Plus, it’s just a belly and there’s a baby inside!

Keep this in mind this Mother’s Day as you celebrate all the things mothers contribute in their homes and in the workplace.

Kristi Gordon – who grew up in Crescent Beach – is senior meteorologist for Global BC News.

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