Speaking

Public Speaking While Nine Months Pregnant

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Oh, it’s a comedy.

I spoke at a MOPS [Mothers of Preschoolers] gathering down near San Diego Thursday. I love, love, love speaking, and add an extra “love” to that list when it’s speaking to moms. There’s something really special about groups gathered to support women doing one of the hardest, most exhausting, most rewarding jobs out there.

When I booked the engagement a few months ago, I had to add an unusual caveat.

“You should know that I’ll be 36 weeks pregnant,” I told the woman in charge. “There is an off-chance I’ll have to cancel at the last minute.” I should also have added, “Because I’ll be housing a small human in my body, don’t expect someone, you know, petite.

She was totally gracious about it, and we went ahead.

The morning was great. I got to speak about motherhood and letting go of past hurts and finding Jesus in the midst of the chaos of raising small people, and the women were engaged and funny and sweet and kind in the way only moms of preschoolers, joined by the solidarity of labor pains and food stains, can be. We all laughed a lot.

Up front I was pretty poised, if I do say so myself. The night before? Notsomuch.

“Daryl, does this look professional?” I asked, trying on one of the few things that still fits me and isn’t a bathrobe.

“Um…” he said. That’s Daryl’s sweet-and-polite-husband version of Nope, it really doesn’t but I am afraid to say that because you are pretty sensitive about your looks in the third trimester and OH LOOK, I forgot to take the trash out, but don’t worry I’ll do it right now!

When I speak, I have two go-to wardrobe staples that make me feel really good. One is a solid pair of high heels. I have a pair of high-but-not-too-high black heels that I wear literally every single Sunday I preach. They are my power shoes. The other staple is a good blazer in a happy color.

Did I mention I’m nine months pregnant? Yeah. Neither of those two wardrobe items were going to work out. I see pregnant women in high heels and I just think ow. OW. OWWWWWW. It is just not meant to be, friends! My back hurts when I’m standing still in running shoes these days. Fo’ real.

The blazer made me look like I was trying on my son’s clothing. I actually read a pregnancy website once that suggested wearing your husband’s blazers when you’re pregnant. Seriously? Any woman wearing her husband’s blazer while pregnant will look like a pregnant woman wearing her husband’s blazer. So… she’ll look pregnant and also possibly blind to the differences between men and women’s clothing. [Insert Michael Scott “accidentally cross-dressing” joke here.]

After trying on eighteen things, each of which fell somewhere on the spectrum from utter frump disaster to “festival of inappropriate sharing” (thanks to PeaceBang over at Beauty Tips for Ministers for coining the perfect phrase to describe what happens when you end up spilling out/over/flashing unfortunate skin while in public because you didn’t properly think through an outfit…), I was in tears and out of options.

Daryl, back from taking out the trash, knew this was an “I-took-vows-and-my-pregnant-wife-is-in-distress” moment.

“What about what you wore when you hung with your girlfriends last week?” he asked.

I looked at him aghast.

“I cannot speak professionally in leggings!” I protested.

“But…” he said gently, unsure how far to wade into the hormonal waters. “They look nice. They’re comfortable to drive in. They covers everything that needs to be covered.”

I ruminated, grumpily. Pregnancy is such a hit to one’s vanity.

“Court,” he said. “You’re nine months pregnant. Really, people will understand.”

You know what?

They totally did.

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