Its here. Open season. No no, I’m not talking about bow hunting season. Open season for the rude, the ignorant, the annoying, and the unintentionally hurtful comments that get slung around all too freely – because I’m pregnant. If you gasped in horror thinking, “what could she possibly mean?!”, don’t worry… I’ll explain.
I’ve wanted to write this piece for quite some time now, going over in my head all the things I wish I could say to the general public, but I tend pull back from topics that I see written about a lot. I leave those topics for the real writers who can express themselves far better than I can. Trust me, there’s no shortage of “Things NOT to Say to Pregnant Women” articles on mom pages these days, but as I near the end of my second pregnancy I can’t sit back on this one anymore. I just can’t. If it helps just one person censor or think twice about what they say to those beautiful women carrying children, and saves one pregnant woman from feeling crappy for a few hours (or a few days), I’ll rest easy knowing my time here was not wasted.
My initial intention for writing this blog was to base it off my personal experiences. I have plenty, believe me. But before I dove into it I threw out the idea to my Momtourage hoping they’d give me a more well-rounded view of the kinds of general comments pregnant women receive. In my request I told them, “no direct quotes are needed – the gist of it will be great”. Thinking that they probably wouldn’t remember the exact quote anyway, right? Fast forward 24 hours from when I asked for their help, and I was holding FIVE single spaced pages of not only direct quotes, but those who spoke them as well. FIVE PAGES. Clearly this was not just my problem. While pregnant women get pretty good at letting comments roll off their shoulder (because we do understand that a lot of times the comments are not coming from a malicious or hurtful place), the fact that these moms remember so vividly who said what speaks volumes.
So think of the rundown below as a quick “Speaking to Pregnant Women 101 Class”. If you ace the class and think to yourself, “I would never say any of that!” – round of applause and high fives. Seriously. If you find some of the quotes hitting a little too close to home and you think to yourself, “Shit.” – pat on the back, and just do better next time. We know you don’t mean harm (at least we don’t think you do?). And we appreciate your interest in our pregnancy – it is a really exciting time for us. But no matter the innocence or attempt at humor behind your comments, they still kinda suck, and still kinda leave us feeling shitty. So here we go – direct quotes included! 🙂
TWINS. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ITS NOT TWINS. YES, I’M SURE.
I’m starting with this one first just in case I lose you at some point. Comments referencing twins were experienced by nearly every mom in my Momtourage, and several got twin comments on more than one occasion.
“Are you sure you’re not having twins?” Yes, kind stranger, I’m sure. I appreciate your indirect comment on how large my belly is though.
“Are you sure its just one in there? You’re sure though?” Ask me if I’m sure one more time, co-worker I rarely see or talk to. I dare you.
Persistence doesn’t help things either. [Actual conversation]
“You sure its just one baby in there?”
“Yep, pretty sure”
“Do twins run in your family though?”
“Nope, and I’m still sure its not twins”
“Well I think you’ll be the first in your family. Its definitely twins”
I can’t believe I didn’t notice you in the room when I’ve had all my ultrasounds! Surely you must be an obstetrician, right? Or a GD psychic. Because if you’re just being this annoying, expect me to avoid all interactions with you in the future.
Enough with the twins. Unless I tell you first that I am in fact carrying twins, in which case twin comments are OK – because its actually accurate.
I AM ACUTELY AWARE OF HOW LARGE I AM – NO, YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME.
Listen, we get it. You still don’t mean harm. And we understand that we’re pregnant and our bodies will grow to accommodate the precious life inside of us. But only WE get to make comments about our enormity, not you. Just, don’t. Not even jokingly. Seriously, don’t.
“I swear every time you walk down the hall you get bigger!” I would kinda want to fight you right now if I was still quick and agile. If I’m at all bigger since last time I walked down the hall, maybe its the lunch I just ate. In which case I kinda really want to fight you.
“You’re getting pretty big there Missy. Looks like you’ve been eating too many watermelons”. Oh, I am? I couldn’t tell by the considerable back pain from it all.
“Wow! You REALLY popped out! You grow bigger everyday!” I wish my house had mirrors. I had no way of knowing until you told me!
“You are REALLY pregnant!” I AM?!
And when you reference how HUGE my baby must be, I take it as a reflection of my size. Since, ya know, I’m carrying this HUGE baby. Don’t use words that reference baby’s “massive size”. Not chunky, not linebacker, not Clydesdale, not enormous… none of it. I’m already thinking about how I have to push this HUGE baby out, so how about “healthy”. Just stick with “healthy” if you absolutely must comment. Which you don’t.
And on the opposite side of the coin, don’t make comments about how small I may be.
Yes, I’m taking care of myself. Yep, I’m measuring right on track. Not all women show the same. Surprisingly, women all have different body shapes, genetics, health habits, bone structures, and the way their babies are carried inside. WEIRD.
NO, MY DUE DATE IS NOT TOMORROW. NOPE, NOT EVEN NEXT WEEK.
A wise mom-friend once said, “I swear the second you start to pop at all everyone thinks you’re due within the week. Does everyone forget how big baby bellies get?!”. She couldn’t have hit the nail on the head better. The magazines, articles, and commercials that only feature insanely fit, 20 weeks pregnant women doesn’t help our cause either. If you ask when the due date it is, don’t make a dumb comment or make a face of horror when we tell you. Most likely, it’s not tomorrow.
“Did they calculate your due date wrong?” Probably. They have no way of telling. If only they had information on my menstrual cycle, or the ability to track the baby’s size throughout my pregnancy.
“When are you due? [responds – still have 13 weeks to go] Oh, you definitely look like you’re done” Again, what would I do without all these expert strangers out there?!
“Look at that belly, there is NO way you’re going to make it to your due date”. Keep ’em coming jackasses. Making it to my due date is kind of priority of mine.. for the sake of my healthy growing child and stuff”.
“Oh wow, you’re really big for x amount of weeks!” Oh because you’ve studied like a gabillion pregnant women? You’re probably just comparing to your wife huh? She’s a tiny betch, so…
“When were you due?! Like last week?!” Still three months to go, socially appropriate stranger. I will cut you.
When we tell you when we’re due, despite whatever you think about our size in relation to it, something like this would be great, “Oh that’s wonderful! I bet you can’t wait to meet your sweet baby!” With a smile.
STOP COMPARING. TO OTHER WOMEN, OR TO MY PAST PREGNANCIES. NEWS FLASH – THEY’RE NOT THE SAME.
“You’re looking wider this time around” Ah, an adjective every women loves to hear. Wide.
“Wow you’re a lot bigger this time, huh?” I see your filter is up and running today.
“So and so is pregnant, and you are WAY bigger than she is” Oh, is that what we’re doing? Comparing our bodies to others’? If that’s the case, I could have a field day comparing you with others..
“You’re carrying different this time around. Your face seems puffier”. Because who wouldn’t receive that warmly?
Which leads into the next one..
IF YOU THINK YOU NOTICE THE PREGNANCY SOMEWHERE ELSE, JUST… SHHHH.
We are already self conscious. Right before our own eyes we’ve surrendered to so many body changes that we don’t always expect or warmly embrace. Its all for the health of this tiny miracle, so we really don’t mind, but there’s no need to point it out. We’re aware.
“Man, he really got you in the face!” Can I get you in the face?
“I can tell you’re having a boy because you look like you are gaining weight all over!” Weird, you too!
“I can tell you’re getting bigger from the face and hips” COME ON, PEOPLE..
Or this little gem from a cashier..
“Don’t tell me what you’re having – I want guess!”
“I think its a girl!”
“I could tell because girls always make their mamas look like hell”
“Oh, well that’s an interesting theory”.
Being pregnant does NOT mean our entire body is up for unsolicited public critique.
YOU DO KNOW WHAT A BACKHANDED COMPLIMENT IS, RIGHT?
“Oh my gosh your son is so cute! He must take after his dad!” Thanks?
“You look really good this pregnancy. Last time you were really wide in your hips and thighs”. Thanks?
“They do say girls suck the beauty out of their mom so they end up pretty” Thanks?
“You look so great pregnant! Better than you usually look!” Thanks?
“It doesn’t even look like you’re pregnant. It just looks like you ate too much pizza or something”. Thanks?
If you feel the need to comment about a woman’s pregnancy, follow this little tip: Give her a KISS. Keep It Sweet & Simple. We really do appreciate all the genuinely kind and appropriate comments. In a time when self image can temporarily suffer, kind words can go a long way. Even if you’re just lying to us. 🙂
“You look wonderful – you’re all baby!”
“Pregnancy really suits you!”
“You’re the cutest pregnant woman I’ve ever seen!”
“Mom and baby are looking fantastic. I can’t wait to meet him or her!”
All acceptable. If you’re prone to foot in mouth syndrome, just memorize one and use it on repeat.
NEXT CLASS: MISCELLANEOUS AND OTHER RANDOM, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, PREGNANCY AND CHILD REARING TOPICS.
You know, like breastfeeding, family planning, and other entirely personal choices.