Dear family at Costco making fun of my size and belly,

I get it. You probably ran out of things to talk about while you were eating your dinner.

Enter: me. With our full to the brim shopping cart, giant stroller, dark bags the size of satchels under my eyes, and obviously smuggling a watermelon under my shirt.

I get it. The gaps between tables are narrow, I am all of a sudden all up in your space trying to arrange myself and our stuff.

I know I am 22.5 weeks pregnant, but since I’m on my 3rd pregnancy, it looks more like 32.5.

I know I am round and sluggish, and cleaning up a table with a baby wipe that my toddler is probably going to make all icky again.

I know my baby—yes, baby—is sitting in his infant car seat in his stroller, and I’m talking to him as I clean.

I know I dropped something, and grunted as I tried to squat down to pick it up because I literally can’t bend over anymore.

Obviously, these are back-to-back pregnancies, and as my husband rejoins us with pizza and my toddler you realize, OH MY GOSH, she has another kid?!

I get it. I probably was the very picture of comedy to you and your family.

What you didn’t know is that the language you chose to loudly make jokes about me in, happens to be one I speak fluently.

What you didn’t know is that I felt a little guilty switching to that language, that I am attempting to teach our children anyway, to signal you that I understood.

What you didn’t know is that I was sorry I made the rest of your dinner quiet and awkward for you, and that I probably should have just turned around and talked to you about my pregnancy instead.

I would have told you that this is, in fact, our third baby. That we will have three blessings all under the age of three, and that I’m a little freaked out, but also super excited.

I would have told you your jokes didn’t sting because of how incredibly proud I have become of this body. That I endured very difficult, often painful pregnancies with the two humans you could see, and that there was finally nothing wrong with mommy on this third pregnancy.

I would have told you that I am a little nervous about the baby surviving because I can’t seem to just have a normal pregnancy, but that I have an appointment soon that I am anxious to attend, and hear if everything will be alright.

If I had been brave, I would have mentioned that during these modern times, you can’t always tell by looking at someone who understands what, and that maybe it’s better to just be kind.

I could have told you all about the kindness lessons I am learning from my babies, and we could have laughed and smiled together and enriched each others lives, and gone home a little happier that night because those babies bring so much joy.

And that’s why I endure the emotional roller coaster, and feel proud of whatever size I stretch to, and why we choose to have them in our home and in our family. Because those little humans that look and act like us, bring us so much joy.

Be kind, friends. Always be kind.

Originally published on the author’s blog 

Penelope Larsen

Penélope is a mama originally from the Dominican Republic. She grew up in Virginia and has lived in Hawaii and Idaho with her husband, and now their children. She aims to share positivity and realness as she navigates her motherhood journey.