Pregnancy brain is something that a lot of expectant moms go through. Due to changing hormones, lack of sleep, fatigue and all the preparations that go with pregnancy, many women do feel forgetful and often ask themselves, am I losing my mind? While research suggests that brain volume decreases during the third trimester of pregnancy, thus explaining why a pregnant woman can’t remember what she had to eat 5 minutes ago, what excuse does everyone else have for brain lapse?
For some reason, a pregnant woman can bring out the rudest, meanest parts of a person. These brain lapses can be annoying and hurtful to those who are anticipating the arrival of their little bundle. Now if anyone reading this has ever caught himself or herself saying or doing anything rude or mean to a pregnant woman then they just might know what we are talking about.
A pregnant woman does not have to worry about her brain not recovering because doctors say that it will bounce back a few months after delivery. What other people say and do to pregnant women however, can leave lasting scars. In many cases, mothers-to-be say that they believe people aren’t trying to be hurtful; they are just speaking without thinking first. There are of course those who are completely clueless about what they have done or simply don’t care. It’s hard to imagine anyone being rude or mean to someone who is expecting a baby, after all a new life is usually cause for joy and celebration even if you don’t have a close connection to the person who is pregnant.
Sadly, many women in America and around the world have experienced ill-mannered people when they are pregnant. Here’s a look at 15 of the rudest/meanest things people did to pregnant women.
15 Was It Planned?
Literally thousands of pregnant women have told stories about people who have asked them one of the worst questions you could ask an expectant parent: Was the pregnancy planned? Obviously, when it comes to etiquette these people have no idea what they are doing. Not only is this question inappropriate, it can be hurtful to a mom-to-be who perhaps had difficulty getting pregnant or planned the pregnancy for a long time. Maybe the woman dreamed of having a family for a long time, but was just waiting for the right person to come along. There is also the possibility that it wasn’t planned, but that isn’t something the expectant person wants to dwell on. The bottom line is, no one knows for sure what the circumstances are surrounding any pregnancy except the person who is pregnant so asking such a question is just simply out of line. The best approach with any pregnancy is to smile and congratulate the person.
14 Touching The Belly
When we are little girls and boys we are told to ask before we touch. For example, ask before we touch/pet someone’s dog or cat, or ask before we touch or pick up a precious object that belongs to someone else. It is amazing when most adults have learned manners while growing up and then feel free to touch the belly of a pregnant woman without even asking. This puts a pregnant woman in a very uncomfortable position. She doesn’t want to make it seem like she doesn’t appreciate your interest in her baby, but she is not a Buddha. According to folktales, if a person rubs Buddha’s belly, it brings good luck, and wealth. If a pregnant woman wants someone to have a feel, she’ll usually ask or invite that person. Often times a mom-to-be wants close family and friends to feel her baby kick. This isn’t something many pregnant women share with random strangers or casual acquaintances.
13 Taking Her Seat
Discourteous is the word that comes to mind when someone takes the seat of a pregnant woman. There are times when a pregnant woman might be on a bus or subway, or be entering a room and as she is on the verge of sitting down when someone suddenly plops down in her seat. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if there were other seats, but when it is the last seat available and everyone can see this, it is bad. Hopefully, one of the onlookers will get up and offer his or her chair to the pregnant woman. That doesn’t always happen though, and instead the pregnant lady has to stand. When someone is pregnant, they are carrying extra weight that can be hard on the back and legs, so sitting down is a welcome relief. It shouldn’t take a medical education to understand that a pregnant woman needs to sit, especially in cases where she might be on a bus for an extended time.
12 Pressuring About Gender
There was a time when women became pregnant and went through their pregnancies then there was a big surprise after delivering - that surprise being the gender of their baby. Now people can find out the gender of their unborn baby ahead of the actually birth. Usually an ultrasound technician can tell the gender of the baby between 16 and 20 weeks. Many parents want to know so they can better plan for the arrival of their baby. Still, some people want to be surprised. There are those who don’t want to let gender go and seem to pressure pregnant women to give up the gender. Even if the woman indicates that she doesn’t know, some people don’t believe it and push to get an answer to the question – is your baby a girl or boy? There are people who will pressure a woman to find out the gender. These people often argue that it will be easier to get the baby’s room ready or buy clothing and accessories before the baby is born if gender is known. Not everyone wants to trade surprise for convenience though.
11 Bad-Mouthing The Father
When a woman announces to her family and friends that she is pregnant, it should be one of the most exciting moments of her life. She is eager to see and hear their reactions; she wants them to be pleased and joyful. When someone responds by criticizing the baby’s father it is offensive, not to mention ill timed. If someone has a problem with the soon-to be-father they should take it up with the father or at the very least discuss it with their pregnant friend at a more appropriate time. Whether the father is well liked or not doesn’t change the fact that the pregnant woman is about to go on the most amazing journey and she needs the support of those she is closest to. Hearing comments like, “He is not a fit father,” or “He won’t have a clue how to take care of a baby,” isn’t going to add to the celebration; it is going to put a damper on it and possibly hurt the friendship.
10 Warning Of Sleep Deprivation
During pregnancy the body goes through multiple changes. One of the changes involves becoming fatigued. At the beginning of the pregnancy women are tired simply due to changes in their hormones and at the end of the pregnancy when they have gained more weight, they can have difficulty sleeping. Some woman just can’t find a comfortable position so sleep is disturbed, others find that the baby is putting pressure on their lower back, which causes pain and keeps them awake. The last thing a pregnant person needs to hear from people is that “once the baby arrives you will be sleep deprived”. Reminding a pregnant woman about how hard it will be to take time to care for herself is not very helpful. Instead of being the voice of doom and gloom, it is best to offer up some tips on how the new mother can take care of her self once the baby has arrived.
Women are told to quit smoking when they become pregnant, but studies show that just quitting isn’t really enough to protect the unborn child. Being exposed to secondhand smoke can also have negative effects on the baby. It is not only inconsiderate, but it is dangerous for someone to smoke in the presence of a pregnant woman. There are about 4,000 chemicals present in second-hand smoke. Many pregnant women go out of their way to avoid smoke by staying away from areas where smokers tend to gather and then someone visits them or comes up to them on the street and lights up. Some research suggests pregnant woman exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are more likely to give birth to low weight babies. Smaller babies have a harder time fighting illness. I’m sure if smokers stopped to think about it, they wouldn’t want to be responsible for contributing to the poor health of an unborn baby. This is not to say that all smokers are rude, there are smokers who do understand and do respect the space of an expectant mother.
8 Saying: “Hope It Keeps”
National estimates put the miscarriage rate at about 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies. Miscarriage is considered the loss of the fetus before the 20th week. The vast majority of miscarriages occur within the first 6 to 7 weeks of pregnancy. Having a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages can be devastating. Anyone who has experienced the loss will tell you that it is emotionally draining. For those who long to have a family it can be especially difficult so when a person becomes pregnant and someone makes a comment like, “I hope this one keeps,” it is downright mean. It might be hard to imagine anyone saying this to a pregnant woman, but it happens more than you might think. People often speak before they think about the consequences of their words. A better approach might be to say: “I wish you the best and will do whatever I can to support you through your pregnancy.”
Upstaging means that the focus of everyone’s attention shifts from one person to another due to something a person has done. For example, someone could announce that they are engaged and then their sister announces the same day that she is moving to New York City to work on a Broadway show. This is just not cool. While everyone should be able to share exciting news with family and friends, timing is everything. Many pregnant women have reported being upstaged by family and friends. It is bad enough when a person says they are getting married and someone else in the family announces they will be walking down the aisle, it is even worse when a woman reveals she is pregnant and someone else within her close circle either announces she is pregnant or is hoping to become pregnant soon and then goes on and on about it day and night.
6 Labor Horror Stories
This is something that happens a lot. Someone announces to their friends that they are expecting and people immediately start telling horror stories about labor. Now these could be personal experiences or stories that they have heard from other mothers, but either way they really aren’t funny. A lot of us have likely been guilty of this, but we have to be careful because some women are in fact fearful of pregnancy and labor to begin with. We could really be scaring the woman to the point where she finds no enjoyment in her pregnancy. It’s true that labor can be hard, but being graphic and negative does demonstrate a lack of sophistication. It is a totally different situation if a mom-to-be asks if anyone knows any good labor horror stories. If she doesn’t ask, it is best to keep those tales to ourselves. Think of it this way, horror stories are for Halloween.
5 Telling Her "You're Too Old"
Deciding when to get pregnant is a personal preference - emphasis on the word personal. Statistics show that more women are choosing to have babies over the age of 35. The average age of women giving birth to their first child has risen in 46 states since the year 2000. Reports indicate that first time older mothers tend to be more educated and more likely to have the necessary resources, such as higher incomes to raise a family. Despite the support that older moms seem to be getting from the medical establishment, there are still some people who react to an older woman’s pregnancy by telling her she is too old. How mean is that? On the other end of the pendulum, you have some people who openly criticize women they think are too young to have children. Either way, judging isn’t polite. We can think a person is too old or too young to bring a child into the world, but we should keep those thoughts to ourselves.
4 Reminding Her She Didn’t Want Kids
Some people say they don’t want kids and change their mind. There are also those who say they do want kids and once they are in a stable relationship decide they would rather not have a family. The fact is that we all change our minds about various subjects throughout our lives. Often times, new experiences or new information that comes to light, causes us to change our thinking. Is it really necessary to point out the change in thinking? It seems that some people do just that; they remind a pregnant woman that she always said, “I don’t want to have kids”. When an expecting parent hears this they feel as if the person saying this is not happy about their pregnancy or doubts them in some way. It is not only rude but it is hurtful. The fact that the pregnant woman changed her mind is really irrelevant and what she really wants to hear is that you think her news is great and you believe she will be a wonderful mother.
3 Talking Her Out Of It
In cases where a pregnancy is unplanned and a complete surprise there can be an extra element of fear involved, especially if the woman is not in a stable relationship or if she is young and afraid to talk to her family about it. She may turn to her closest friends to relay her fears about being alone and pregnant. This is not the time to suggest to her that she “terminate” the pregnancy. Talking down about the trials and tribulations of raising a child alone when she is still grappling with the news of her pregnancy is completely inappropriate, but sadly it has happened to some women in unplanned situations. Having a baby is very personal no matter what the circumstances are so instead of telling a woman what you would do, whether it would be to proceed or not; the best and most polite course of action is to tell her you support her period!
2 Painting Doom and Gloom
There is no doubt about it, when someone has a baby their life changes; it is never the same. Still, people who say, “Your life will never be the same,” don’t realize how ominous that sounds. We don’t need to scare a pregnant woman who already has a lot on her mind as she prepares for the arrival of her baby and is focusing on taking care of herself so that she can bring a healthy baby into the world. Since it is obvious that life changes with the arrival of a new baby, these painters of doom and gloom should try focusing on the positives that a baby can bring to a mother’s life. Children add joy and laughter to life, they renew our thirst for knowledge and fun activities, they bring out our creative side and of course thanks to them, we can get better parking spots. These are the aspects of bringing a life into the world that our friends and families should be talking about.
1 Suggesting She Isn’t Fit For Motherhood
Despite the countless parenting books now on the market, there is no perfect set of guidelines for raising children and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Most people don’t really know how they will handle the various stages of a baby’s development once they are born. Parents learn and cope as they go. People generally make the decision to have a child because they want a family and think they can provide a good home.
There are those who try to taint the pregnancy by suggesting to the pregnant woman that she isn’t cut out for motherhood. Obviously, she doesn’t hold that same belief because she decided to become pregnant. Telling someone that they are unfit for motherhood is beyond tasteless; it is completely improper and offensive, yet women across American and the world have reported that people have in fact told them they shouldn’t have children because they are “not fit for motherhood”. If a pregnant woman is abusing her body though; partying hard, not eating, or showing other signs of recklessness, a gentle reminder of the importance of "taking good care of yourself" isn't a bad idea.
When people say anything other than positive comments or do anything other than support a pregnancy, psychologists say it is often due to fear of losing that person to the child, jealousy of the pregnancy or downright ignorance. The experts say while it is difficult to avoid all the rudeness, pregnant women should not allow a few bad apples to spoil what could be an amazing 9 months. From growing a bump and seeing your body change, to feeling the baby move inside you, to seeing the ultrasound for the first time, being pregnant is one of the greatest pleasures in life and something that friends and family should embrace, while strangers respect from a distance.