Taking Up Space

I loved being pregnant, I truly did. Yes it’s a unique experience and yes it’s cool and weird to think about the process that is happening inside of you – but that’s not what I loved about it. When I’m asked why – my answer is always the same: I loved being able to unapologetically take up space.

As someone who was always one of the shortest kids in the class, as someone who sometimes could feel shy in a crowd, who was taught to temper her independence with deferential Southern hospitality (thanks Dad!) and Asian apologetic respectfulness (thanks Mom!) it was nice to be able to take up a lot of space without making excuses for it.

Have you heard about the incredible shrinking woman? It’s the idea that women are taught to take up as little space as possible. Don’t be loud, be petite, don’t get in the way – don’t take up space. When Supreme Court Justie Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in Law School she was asked why she was taking up a space in law school that could be occupied by a man. We’ve come a long way since then – and regardless of gender people can feel like they shouldn’t take up space and not get in the way of others. I especially feel like I’m in the way in produce section of the grocery store. When I was pregnant, I never felt in the way – I felt like since it wasn’t just me taking up space, I could take up space, and as much as I needed. Often others would surrender the space around us to me – which as a small stature person, never ever really happened before.

Now I’m no longer pregnant and I try to hang on to that feeling of feeling good while taking up space. Recently at an outdoor event a hurried crowd seemed to constantly bump into our stroller, sometimes with frustration, which never happened when I had the baby on the inside. These are the tiny little things I wish I could discuss with my Mother and which makes me curious about her experience. I can’t ask her and family members have long since lost any memory of any comments she might have made about it. I can only guess that all of this experience is a part of the solidarity of Motherhood and she experienced it too just in her own way. I miss her and I miss taking up space as I pleased. Maybe I need a bigger stroller.

Share this:

No Comments

Leave a Comment