So, are you fat...or just pregnant again?After hearing this in Croatian I had two questions for the recipient (my wife) of this comment:
A. Is that really what she said?!?
B. How did you manage to keep your composure?!?
Disclaimer: This blog is called "Culture Shock" not "Generalize Croatia". Many, many, many people would not make a comment like this to my wife.
On the other hand, let me tell you two reasons why there is a greater chance Petra will hear this question again in Croatia rather than in America (besides the fact that we don't live in America):
1. Eastern Europeans often tell it like it is. I've gained more weight during Petra's 3rd pregnancy than she has. And if it weren't for some of my friends, I really wouldn't have known. I saw a mother publicly rub her daughter's belly the other day and tell a bunch of people how her daughter had been gaining weight. It didn't seem to phase anyone within earshot - except me. From what I can tell, the mentality is that if you can see it, why not comment on it? While certainly not flattered by such a comment, Petra's used to it. Simply put, if you gain weight in Croatia, you'll hear about it. On the positive side, it's not that big a deal - people just aren't as sensitive about their weight.
2. While being pregnant for the 3rd time within 4 years is not the norm in the States, it's absolutely unheard of here (unless you belong to the Roma community). There's a good chance the person asking the question was being more critical of Petra's pregnancy than her weight gain. But that's the reason Petra didn't get nasty - she's happy to be pregnant again and as far as pregnancies go, she's done very well throughout the first 2 and-a-half. In fact, as we look back we realized the other day that since her pregnancy with Enoh (our first) she's been pregnant more of the time than not. Some have called her brave, others - crazy. The fact is she couldn't be happier.
So go ahead, make the weight comments. It's just the latest item on the long list of things I'm no longer shocked by.