When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I knew that my body was going to change. Obviously. However, what I didn’t know was that people were going to comment on my changing body. I’m not talking about people I know either (though I couldn’t believe some of the things that came out of even my closest friends’ mouths – yikes!)
I’m talking about people I had never met a day in my life. On line in the grocery store, out to dinner, it seemed like wherever I went, someone had something to say about my baby bump. There’s just something about being pregnant that makes people feel entitled to share their 2 cents!
Those of you who have already been through the pregnancy trenches know exactly what I’m talking about, but for those of you who are expecting your first child, I don’t want you to be as shocked as I was when I heard some of the comments people made! To that end, I’d like to prepare you for some of the things that you are likely to hear that will make you say, “Holy crap! Did you really just say that to me?”
The Twin Debate
There's nothing more insulting to a woman than the presumption that she's carrying more than one child based off her baby bump size by the uneducated average Joe. For those who have never been pregnant, a bigger bump size does not necessarily mean more babies.
“Are you sure you aren’t expecting twins?”
Seriously?!?! Women are already super self-conscious about their bodies, and it’s already hard enough for us to cope with the fact that our bodies our changing – and that they may never bounce back.
When a woman is carrying extra weight because she is growing a baby, she’s even more self-conscious about her looks. There is absolutely no need to comment on a woman’s size when she is pregnant. None. Nada. Zilch.
Size Still Matters
Even women who have a smaller bump are placed under the social microscope. Surely you'd think people would mind their own business, but nope, they're so curious about pregnancy that they bombard pregnant women with some pretty offensive questions.
“Are you sure that you are that pregnant?”
Just like a woman doesn’t want to hear about how big she is when she’s pregnant, she also doesn’t want to hear about how small she is. When a woman tells you she is nearing her due date, and you comment on how small she is, she’s definitely going to take it the wrong way.
Listen, pregnant mamas want to do the best that they can for their children. When you tell her she is too small, you are insinuating she isn’t eating right, that she is doing something wrong, or that there is something wrong with her baby. Just like you should never comment on how big a pregnant woman is, you should never comment on how small she is either.
When it comes to her size, do yourself – and her – a favor and keep your lips zipped!
The Labor Question
While the average person doesn't mean to outright offend pregnant ladies, they seem to do a top notch job of it by allowing their verbal diarrhea to get the best of them. While the mental picture of waters breaking and painful labor starting immediately afterward it can make anyone weary of an impending due date.
“I hope you don’t go into labor while you’re here!”
Yep, this is one that I heard a few times while I was pregnant. I specifically remember having my hair cut by a new stylist when I was about 36 weeks pregnant. The stylist walked up to me and said, “Whoa! How far along are you?” When I told her, her next comment floored me, “Just don’t go into labor while you’re sitting in my chair!”
Um, excuse me?! Like I can control when I’m going to go into labor. And secondly, if I did go into labor while she was cutting my hair, what was she going to do? – Not help me? Like, seriously? Needless to say, I didn’t go into labor while she was cutting my hair, and I never returned to that salon again. How rude!
The Buddha Belly
A pregnant woman can no more control how far her belly will stick out than she can her bladder in the later stages of pregnancy. But one thing is for sure, once that belly gets out there, everyone wants to touch it like it'll bring them some good luck. Of course, they'll always ask first,
“Can I touch your belly?”
Why is it that so many people to touch pregnant women’s bellies? I don’t get it. Do they think it brings them luck or something? I never have an urge to go up to a pregnant woman that I don’t know and ask if I can rub her belly. I don’t even ask pregnant women that I do know!
Here’s the deal, just because a woman is sharing her body with someone else when she’s pregnant, it doesn’t mean that she’s sharing it with everyone else. Do you ask women who aren’t pregnant if you can rub their bellies? Yeah, I don’t think so. Keep your hands to yourself!
Yes, childbirth can hurt and labor is called labor for a reason. But I can't stress enough how bad it is to tell a first-time mother what birth is going to feel like, especially if you don't know her or her birth plan.
“It’s going to hurt so much!”
Yes, every pregnant woman is aware that giving birth is going to be painful. In fact, it’s something that we think about on a nearly constant basis. When you bring it up, all you are doing is making her even more nervous. So, yeah, keep your comments to yourself!
We all know that sleep totally changes once you become a mom. Even if you are expecting your first baby, you are certainly well aware of this fact. When I was pregnant with my first child and people would tell me, “I hope you’re getting your sleep now, before the baby comes,” or something to that effect, I wanted to literally trip them.
There's nothing worse than dropping this little gem on pregnant women, “Get your sleep now, while you can!” Of course she's trying to get her sleep, what else do you think she's doing over the next 9 months?
Yes, I knew that I was going to be sleep-deprived once my son arrived, however, telling me to get rest when I was at the end of my third trimester and it was nearly impossible to sleep (hello, restless leg, heartburn, and a baby throwing a dance part at the wee hours of the morning!), the last thing that I wanted to hear was someone telling me that I should be getting rest.
I actually asked someone what they would suggest I do to get some of that rest when I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sleep more than an hour at a clip!
The Best Laid Plans
Out of all the annoying and nosy questions a pregnant woman can get, assumptions over the legitimacy of her baby might just get the inquisitor a punch in the face. Whether the baby was a 'happy accident' or a 'labor of love' to conceive, obviously the pregnancy itself suggests that the baby is wanted, so why bother asking,
“Was it planned?”
Really? Is that any of your business? Nope, I didn’t think so. Why not get more investigative and ask more personal questions like, "where did you conceive," "are you sure it's your significant others," or "will this be your only one?"
Here's another thing that women don't want to talk about unless you are their bestie, their weight. Why anyone in the world would think to give weight loss advice to anyone let alone a pregnant woman. Not to mention, a pregnant woman doesn't want you to subtly suggest that they're gaining a lot of weight during their pregnancy.
“You’re going to have to really work hard to get that baby weight off!”
Again with the comments about size! Women never want to hear you say anything about their size. Ever. Period. End of story. Say something like that to a pregnant woman and you are liable to have your head chewed off! And you know what? – I wouldn’t blame her!
Pregnant women are often encouraged to create a birth plan, a document that holds all the birthing options they would like to try during the course of their labor. So while they may or may not decide to make a birth plan, why is it that strangers or acquaintances feel they must know a pregnant woman's birth plans.
“Are you planning on having a natural childbirth?”
Is that any business of yours? Does it affect you in any way?
Someone asked me this at the grocery store once. I told her, “Nope. I’m planning on being drugged up from the moment I have my first contraction. I honestly just wish that they would knock me out for the entire experience.” Needless to say, her mouth hit the floor, and I just turned around and laughed.
Here's another thing that women who've either had babies or are about to, can't stand to be asked. How they plan to feed their kids. I'm not too sure why anyone needs to know this unless the women in question is pretty untrustworthy or suffers from Finding Dory extreme short term memory loss.
“Do you plan on breastfeeding?”
This question drove me bonkers! As I have mentioned several times before, I planned on exclusively pumping, so this question really grinded my gears. A) It’s none of your business, B) It’s my choice, C) Does my decision really effect you? Thanks for asking, though!
While it's nice to know you have someone watching over you, or concerned for your health, nothing can be more annoying than someone who's not only unsure about what pregnant women can and cannot eat, but also questioning whether you know what you can and cannot eat.
“You shouldn’t be eating that!”
Or drinking that. Um, I’m pretty sure that the mama-to-be has received dietary recommendations from her doctor, and she’s well-aware of any restrictions that her doctor may have recommended. And, if you feel like she is making a bad choice, well, that’s not up to you.
During the Victorian era and probably slightly previous, pregnancy was treated like a terminal illness, it was treated with some bedrest. Fast forward a few centuries and thank God we live in the 21st century! Unfortunately there are those that still treat pregnancy like it's a terminal disease.
“Oh, too bad you can’t come to this awesome (fill in the blank) tonight! I’m sure you’re too tired, or you just don’t want to. Right?”
The expectant mama knows that she’s settled down. She is well-aware that her life has changed. She doesn’t need you to remind her of this, and believe it or not, she still may want to be asked. Excluding her because she is pregnant is just rude!
As with any major life event, pregnancy undoubtedly brings about a major life change. Usually for the better of course, but that doesn't stop people from pointing out the obvious to pregnant women as if they'd never considered this before.
“Do you realize how much your life is going to change?”
Yes, yes she does. She’s already experiencing how much her life is going to change. And she’s well aware that her days of partying until the sun comes up are behind her. She definitely doesn’t need you to remind her of these changes. Sheesh!
Ever heard the expression that you can't choose your family. Well so far, that old adage remains true. Of course that doesn't mean that everyone knows that you can't choose your kids, or their gender.
“Are you going to try for a girl/boy?”
If she knows the sex of her baby, there is no need to ask her if she is going to try to have the opposite sex. Let her get through this pregnancy first before you start asking about additional children!
With any major life change there will be some hard fought battles. Whether it's trying to change your newborn before they have another bowel movement or get them to stop spitting out the food you finally managed to push past their lips. Having babies and children means uncertain terrain ahead.
“You realize how hard it’s going to be, right?”
I don’t think that any pregnant mama doesn’t know how difficult being a parent is going to be. I also don’t think that she needs you to tell her that. I mean, come on! She is probably already nervous, scared, and uncertain of the future as it is! You definitely don’t need to comment on how difficult it’s going to be!
One of the most commonly asked questions pregnant women get has to do with their due date. Of course, once a pregnant woman gets into her third trimester her baby starts growing at an alarming rate since the majority of the development is already done with. But still, this question has the potential to rub a pregnant woman the wrong way.
“So, you’re due any day now?”
And then she says that she’s 6 months pregnant. Yeah, talk about awkward! Instead of asking this question, maybe consider asking her how far along she is, that way, she doesn’t have to feel humiliated, and you don’t have to be embarrassed for making her feel horrible!