My sister and I were recently having a conversation about the number of times our decidedly not-flat stomachs have been mistaken for pregnancies. With that, and the fact that my six-year-old regularly makes comments to the effect that I look like I've boarded the baby train (and even went so far recently as to question my ability to fit in the GIANT CORNER TUB in my bathroom... Seriously? I may not be a stick figure, but the entire Duggar family could fit in there together), I feel the need to make a public service announcement:
No good will come of you asking a woman if she is expecting a baby. No. Good. Because, as my sister pointed out, if she isn't expecting, there is no way to get around the fact that you just told her you think she looks fat. "Oh it's just the way your shirt is hanging" or "It's just the high-waisted dress." No it isn't. You actually think her stomach looks big enough that there is a human being residing in there.
Speaking as one whose body type is such that I gain 90% of my weight from my belly button to my thighs, I have to say, there is nothing more demoralizing than being told you look pregnant when you aren't. I know I don't have a flat stomach, thank you -- I haven't had a flat stomach since I was born. Not even when I was a toddler. Literally, I walked out of the womb and learned how to suck in my stomach. (My mom: "Let's learn the ABCs!" Me: "Hold on a second, I'm trying to figure out the best angle to tilt my pelvis.")
Alas, the questions continue. My favorite is when some lady patted my sister on the stomach and said, "Is there something you want to tell me?"
"Um, just that I need to exercise..." she replied.
I realize that the question of whether someone is expecting tends to make us nosy beyond our ability to stop ourselves, so, I am presenting to you the list of acceptable times to ask a woman if she is expecting a baby:
1) When there is an actual baby head emerging from her actual body.
That's it. That is the only time.
Other than that, if you think someone is expecting and can't stand the curiosity, wait nine months.
It's a lot less time than you'll spend feeling terrible for calling someone fat.