As soon as a woman announces her pregnancy, it will begin. She’ll start to receive comments, suggestions, and questions from well-meaning friends and family members. Sometimes complete strangers will feel free to ask about or weigh in on certain parenting topics when they see a pregnant woman. People will want to give her advice on everything from what doctors and hospitals to use, how to get through pregnancy and childbirth, where to shop for baby, what pediatrician to select, and how to console the baby, how to feed him, and how to get him to sleep through the night.
Almost all parents have a story about a time when someone’s comments or criticism really ticked them off. Sometimes these can be completely idle remarks that mean nothing, or they can be comments that actually do sound like they’re meant to be hurtful. And of course, some people don’t have to use words at all – the disapproving looks they may give send a message of their own.
Sure, it’s easy to say that it shouldn’t matter what other people think. But a lot of times, it does. While new moms-to-be might not necessarily want advice or appreciate the unsolicited, so-called help, because they actually think it’s rude, it’s important to remember not to be rude in return. Let someone know they’re being impolite or that their remarks are hurtful; but try to remember that a lot of times, people are only commenting because they’re curious, concerned, excited, or really, truly do just want to help. Here are some of the most common comments moms-to-be will get tired of hearing… and how to respond to them!
15“Are You Having Twins?"
Everybody loves a baby bump, but it can be rude and uncomfortable when someone wants to make comments about your body, the size of your belly, or how much weight you’ve gained. We all know that it’s considered rude to comment on another person’s size, but for some reason, some people think it’s no big deal when a woman is gaining weight because she’s pregnant. While some women may take it all in stride, others may be offended by the remarks people make about their size. Some people may be well-intentioned, thinking that a big bump means you’ve got a big, healthy baby growing in there. But it can still be hard to take, especially if you’re already concerned about how much weight you’re gaining and how you’re going to lose it. Many women already struggle with body image issues as it is, and increased pregnancy hormones can make a mom-to-be more sensitive than normal.
14“Is It A Boy Or A Girl? I Bet It’s A...”
Every pregnant woman will get asked this question for what may seem like a million times before the baby arrives. And even if you’re not planning on finding out the sex, or revealing it before the big day, people sure do love to guess. There are lots of old wives’ tales that are said to predict your baby’s gender. Here are some common ones we bet you’ll be tired of hearing about:
If you crave sweet foods, you’re having a girl. If you’re craving salty foods, you’re having a boy.
If you eat a lot of garlic, but you don’t smell like it, you’re carrying a girl.
If your morning sickness is really bad you’re having a girl.
If you’re skin is glowy and your hair is beautiful, you’re having a boy. If you’re breaking out, you’re having a girl. Supposedly, little girls steal the mom’s good looks!
If you’re feeling moody and anxious, you’re having a girl. Or if you’re more relaxed, it’s a boy.
If you look at your reflection in a mirror and your pupils dilate, you’re having a boy.
If your partner gains some sympathy weight, you’re having a girl.
If you carry your baby high, it’s a girl. If you’re carrying low, it’s a boy.
If the baby’s heart rate is faster than 140 beats a minute, it’s a girl.
If you tie a ring on a string and hang it over your belly and it swings in a circle, it’s a girl. If the ring swings from side to side, it’s a boy.
13“You Need To Have A Boy/Girl Next…”
When and if you DO reveal the gender, people may end up asking you if you’re going to try again to have a kid of the opposite gender. You haven’t even popped out this kid, and somebody’s already telling you that you’re going to need another one! Or, if you already have a child and the new baby is of the opposite gender, people will say something like, “Oh, then you’re done!”
Yes, the stereotypical “perfect” family may have a mom, a dad, a son, a daughter (and a dog, and a white picket fence) but it’s kind of strange (and rude) for people to comment on whether or not you should have more children. It’s not their decision, and it’s definitely not any of their business. Sure, it’s probably meant as a joke, but most moms are more worried about getting through their pregnancy and having a healthy baby – whether it’s a boy or a girl. The perfect family isn’t one where there’s an equal number of males and females; it’s one where every member of the family is healthy and happy.
12“How Much Weight Have You Gained?
This comment is as annoying and insensitive as someone commenting on how big or small your bump is. It’s not polite to comment on someone’s weight when they’re not pregnant, so why does anybody need to know anything about your weight just because you’re having a baby?
Pregnancy is the one time in a woman’s life when she’s expected to pack on some extra pounds. However, it’s important to gain weight slowly and steadily and to keep your weight in a healthy range. Here are some general guidelines, but it’s a good idea to ask your doctor what’s best for you.
If you were underweight before pregnancy, a good amount of weight to gain is between 28-40 pounds. If you’re at a normal weight when you get pregnant, then 25-35 pounds is reasonable. If you were overweight, then you should probably only gain 15-25 pounds. In an average pregnancy, 7 or 8 pounds of that weight is the baby. The rest of the weight is the placenta, increased fluids and blood, an enlarged uterus and enlarged breasts, and stored fats and proteins.
11"I Don't Know Anything About Raising Kids, But..."
Then stop right there. Just don’t say anything.
So many people try to give new parents baby and parenting advice. Even people that don’t have kids. Sure, those people might be friends and family members, but a lot of people feel that if you don’t have kids, maybe you shouldn’t give advice. Especially if it’s not been asked for.
Taking care of a tiny, brand new human is overwhelming. There are so many different choices to be made when it comes to caring for a newborn, and while some advice can be helpful, it can also be a little hard to take when there are a million other things going on in your mind. It can be especially hard to take when someone is giving you advice or telling you how to handle your new baby when they don’t have kids themselves. Just remember, they probably mean well and want to help you out.
10“When I Was Pregnant, <Insert Horror Story Here>”
Pregnant ladies want to be informed. That’s why there are zillions of books and websites out there to provide you with as much information as you can possibly handle. It’s nice to know what’s going on in there, especially if you’re a first-time mom. Many women turn to books, websites, friends, and family for questions and advice when it comes to pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
But they don’t necessarily want to be scared out of their wits. It’s good to know all of the possibilities, and it’s good to try to be prepared for any situation, but there are some topics that some moms just might not be ready to hear about. Or want to hear about. Ever.
Some women may consider it a form of bonding; they’re sharing their experience with someone who has yet to go through it. Maybe they’re just trying to let you know what they had to deal with, so that you’re prepared for the worst, even if it doesn’t happen.
9"I'll Never See You Anymore!"
Friends may very well end up taking a back seat once the kid comes along. Priorities change. Going out drinking and dancing until 2 a.m. might not really be an option after there’s a baby at home. But being pregnant and having a baby doesn’t mean it’s the end of your social life.
A lot of women will probably feel excited for a friend when she announces that she’s expecting. But they might also feel a little disappointed. It might sound terrible, but even though it’s a happy time for you, some friends might have a hard time dealing with the fact that you’re moving on to a different phase in your life. She’ll still be drinking dirty martinis every Friday, while you’re up to your elbows in dirty diapers.
Sure, your friendships will change, but they don’t have to change for the worse. You can still have time for your friends; those evenings out may just require a little more planning and effort to get them to happen.
8"Should You Be Eating That?"
Any other time, you’d probably be mad as heck if someone questioned your eating habits. Now you’ve probably just got someone looking out for you – and your little one. There are definitely some things that you should avoid eating when pregnant.
Caffeine: Taking in high doses of caffeine, whether it comes from coffee, tea, soda, or chocolate, can increase your risk of miscarriage.
Cheese: Soft cheeses (like goat cheese, Brie, Camembert, feta, and blue cheese) may be unpasteurized and contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Meat: Deli meats may also become contaminated with listeria if they’re not handled properly. Heat any sliced deli meats until they’re steaming hot to kill off bacteria. When preparing or ordering pork, beef, or lamb, make sure it’s cooked to medium or medium-well.
Fish: Avoid fish that contain high levels of mercury, like swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and albacore tuna and avoid raw or undercooked seafood. You don’t have to swear off all fish – salmon doesn’t contain as much mercury, and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids!
Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and contain important nutrients for pregnancy. However, they do run the risk of being contaminated with salmonella, another bacteria. Be sure to keep eggs refrigerated and avoid eating runny, undercooked eggs. (That means no cookie dough for you!)
7"Get As Much Sleep As You Can Now..."
This is a funny one. A lot of people will advise a mom-to-be to get as much rest as possible now, while she still can… As if sleep can be banked and saved for a later date. (Wouldn’t that be nice, though?) Really, your friends and family members are just telling you to rest up and take it easy before the big day. But, while all the sleep in the world is nice right now, it won’t do you much good once the baby arrives and you’re adjusting to a new schedule – one ruled by feedings, diaper changes, and possibly “the witching hour.”
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is another tidbit a lot of people will throw out there. It’s possible to sleep when the baby sleeps, but a lot of times, a new mom is relieved to have some time to herself. That precious time might not be spent on sleep; instead it might be spent taking a soak in the tub, binge-watching Netflix, or doing all that baby laundry.
6"Are You Going Back To Work?"
It’s probably just an innocent question. Friends and family members will ask about your plans after maternity leave because they’re curious about what you’ll be doing. But these days, it’s hard not to feel judged when the “back to work vs. stay at home” conversation comes up.
Some women may be eager to return to the work force once their maternity leave is over. Others may have to work for financial reasons, even though they don’t want to. And even moms who choose to stay home might still wonder if they’re doing the right thing and if the family can get by on one income. Some working moms may feel like their kids are paying the price by missing out on activities and playdates because they have to work. Stay at home moms may not feel as challenged, or may feel like their social circle is limited when they spend every day with a baby and not many other adults. It’s a personal choice that many moms stress about, so it can be hard to field questions when you’re not 100 percent certain what you’ll be doing.
5"Do You Have Names Picked Out Yet? How About..."
People aren’t trying to be rude by asking if you have names picked out. They’re just curious; they want to know! Everybody loves all of the surprises that come along with having a baby, and finding out the name of a new baby is one of the most fun parts!
The part that’s not so fun? Telling someone the name(s) you have chosen and immediately hearing her feedback… or their unsolicited suggestions.
There are definitely some things to consider when deciding on a baby’s name. Think about how the name will be spelled; is it something that your kid will constantly have to explain? Will they always have to correct people who don’t spell it or say it properly? How will the name sound when the kid is just a little baby? What about when they’re a teenager? What about when they’re a grown-up? Don’t forget to think about possible nicknames (good and bad!) and what their initials will be.
Something else to think about? Keeping the name a secret until the baby’s born and the name is a done deal on the birth certificate. By then, hopefully, everybody will be so excited about the new baby that they won't have a thing to say about the name.
4"Can I Feel The Baby?"
It’s nice if someone at least ASKS to put their hands on your bump. But there are some handsy folks out there who will just try to cop a feel without bothering to ask your permission. Your bump isn’t public property, even if it’s way out there. And even if you’re cool with people rubbing your belly like your name is Buddha, it’s still a little strange for someone to just reach out and start feeling up a pregnant woman’s belly.
People should respect a pregnant lady’s personal space just like they would anybody else’s. We don’t stand around and rub our friends’ bellies when they’re not pregnant. That would just be absurd. So, even though they’re probably just showing interest in your pregnancy or just really love pregnancy and babies, there’s nothing wrong with telling someone to keep their hands off if all of the attention is making you feel uncomfortable.
There are so many different ways to parent. Heck, there are so many different ways to have a baby. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but nobody wants to be told what they “should” do or made to feel like what they’re doing isn’t the right thing for their family. So many of the decisions that new parents have to make are personal ones, and they don’t necessarily reflect as a judgement on the parenting styles of other people.
Some of the decisions you’ll wind up having to make during your baby’s first year will include:
To circumcise or not?
To vaccinate or not?
Breast or bottle?
To co-sleep, have baby sleep in the same room as you, or have baby sleep in his own room?
Can the baby use a pacifier or no?
Sleep train, and if so, which method, or let the baby make up his own schedule?
When to start solids and what should baby eat first?
And eventually you’ll have even more decisions – how to handle nap transitions, potty training, preschool… Just remember – you’re the parent. Nobody else is.
2"Haven't You Had That Baby Yet?"
“When are you due?” is one of the first things people will ask when they find out your pregnant. But as you near the end of your pregnancy, the tone of the question will change. People will sound impatient and exasperated, as if they’re the ones that have been carrying the baby around for eight or nine months. They might even make comments about how tired, and ready, and DONE you probably are…
And yes, when you’re at the end of your pregnancy, you probably will be tired. You probably will be ready to meet your baby. And you’ll probably be over the whole pregnancy thing. It’ll be nice to sleep on your belly and see your feet again.
But even if your due date comes and goes, that doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is late. Estimating your due date isn’t an exact science. Due dates are just that – an estimate. Let people know that your baby will come whenever he or she is ready.
1How To Handle The Comments...
As we’ve tried to stress, a lot of friends and family members truly do mean well when they ask about you and your baby. Their comments probably aren’t meant to hurt your feelings or cause you to worry. But because pregnancy is such a sensitive time, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself and stand up for yourself. Don’t just “let it go” if someone says something that bothers you. Letting an insensitive remark go unchecked can send the message that it’s okay for someone to speak impolitely to you. It’s better to address the situation, although how you choose to respond may depend on your personal style for handling uncomfortable situations.
You may prefer to think about the impolite comment and give yourself some time to process how it made you feel before speaking to the person. On the other hand, you may want to address a hurtful comment right in the moment. You can come up with a sassy or sarcastic comeback or you can be more subtle in your response. It’s up to you; but don’t be afraid to let someone know how their comments made you feel.
Sources: Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, Parents, Today's Parent, Huffington Post, What to Expect, Baby Center
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