It was bound to happen eventually. This blog has always been a space for me to talk, rant, and discuss various issues and thoughts I have. Well, at 12 weeks, I am now, quite pregnant, and likely to stay that way for another 6 months. So now, expect the occasional pregnancy, then child post. Apologies. Feel free to unsubscribe.
Now, on to my topic. What is okay and NOT OKAY to say to a Pregnant Woman. Apparently, the minute a woman becomes pregnant, it stops people’s ability to speak with common courtesy.
1. You are huge!
Variations: You look ready to pop! Are you sure you aren’t having twins? Taking this whole eating for two thing seriously, aren’t you? Be careful you don’t get fat.
Seriously. There is a pregnant WOMAN in front of you, with raging hormones, and you just implied she was fat. And not good fat, but beach ball fat. Seriously. If she slapped you, not a jury in the world would convict her of assault.
What you can say: You look great! What a beautiful glow you have! (Any other total BS line about how we somehow manage to look awesome, despite being wildly uncomfortable.)
2. I hope you don’t have a miscarriage.
Variations: Any scary pregnancy story. Especially about the birth or possible complications to the baby.
Holy beejesus. Do you tell someone going into heart surgery, “Man, I hope they can get your heart beating again!” NO. WTF. I don’t want to hear your extremely creepy and shockingly gruesome story about what happened to your friend’s sister’s college roommate. I don’t want to hear it, anymore than I want to watch a movie or read a book about it. Keep that story to yourself. Thanks.
Pregnant women are already terrified from things their doctors are telling them might happen. They don’t need your slasher flick anecdotal story.
What can say: I will be praying for everything to go smoothly. Everything’s going to be fine. (These should only be used if somehow fears about the birth come up in conversation, just before immediately changing the conversation to something about ice cream or super cute little baby clothes.)
3. Better enjoy your time now!
Variations: You won’t have time for x. You are going to have your hands full! Get ready for getting up every 2 hours!
Everyone is different. Say it with me. Everyone is different. I actually had someone tell me, “You won’t have time for video games after the baby is born.” I am a game designer. Games is how I am *paying* for the baby. Of all the things I will not be allowing to drop off my list, it’s playing video games. I managed to figure out how to play video games while going to the gym, I assure you, I can figure out how to play them while having an infant.
Also, every kid is different. I love people who tell me that my kid is going to be up every 2 hours. Really? Clairvoyant, or are you a full on psychic now? I get that YOUR kid is like that, but everyone is different. My mother insists I was sleeping through the night before I was a month old. I have friends with kids who sleep all the time, even to the point they have to wake them up to feed them. We can discuss this *after* my kid shows up and we see how he is going to be. (Though with as much as I sleep, if he takes after me, we’re going to be nap buddies easy.)
What you can say: Kids are awesome and totally worth it.
4. Oh a boy/girl? Well that’s a bummer. Now you can’t do x.
Variations: But you already have a boy/girl, don’t you want one of each? A boy/girl is easier/harder. I am gonna buy pink/blue clothes! Anything negative about the gender.
Gender is far too much of a focus when it comes to being pregnant. 90% of the time the second question after “When are you due?” is “Do you know what it is yet?” The really annoying thing is, it appears there is NO RIGHT ANSWER. WTH people?!? It’s likely a boy, I am cool with that, my husband is thrilled with that, and we are still doing everything in green. But people seem to always have a negative response no matter what I say.
Kids can be easier or harder based on so many factors, sex isn’t even really important. Also, quit giving me dirty looks when I say I don’t really care if it is a boy or girl. I don’t. I am happy I can *have* kids without medical assistance. Also, it’s my first, so since I really want one of each, at this point it can be whatever and I am halfway there. Then when people ask why I want one of each and I say I want the full experience. Because they are different. But does that mean I shouldn’t be happy with this child because it’s got a penis/vagina? Not a chance! It’s still mine, it’s still cute, and I am still going to look forward to it every minute of my pregnancy.
What you can say: Oh he/she’s going to be so cute! Anything positive that doesn’t force gender roles. (No sports, no job suggestions, no blue/pink.)
5. I hope it doesn’t get your <insert feature>.
Variations: Nope, pretty much that one.
I have red hair. I love my red hair. People who say (and I quote) “I hope it’s a carrot!” I could just hug, snuggle, and cry for joy all over. To the person I almost punched because they just blurted out “Well, I hope it looks like your husband.” I am going to kill you. With a dull knife. Slowly. Not only did just insult me, but probably insulted my child. And this is why we aren’t going to be friends anymore.
What you can say: I hope it gets x feature, that would be so cute. (Always frame it as both possible features are fine, but this one is just more adorable.)
6. Is it your husband’s?
Variation: Was it planned? Did you use fertilization drugs? You need better birth control. Are you planning on keeping it?
Holy cow people. Would you ever walk up to someone on the street and say, “Are you having an affair?” Not a chance! so don’t ask it of a pregnant woman. Give her the opportunity to volunteer this information, but don’t ask it, unless you are best friends since birth, or since you were in high school and had a lasagna dropped on you by your pregnant friend’s mother.
None of the answers to the questions are any of your business.
What you can say: How excited are you? (It’s a nice neutral question that allows them to either be excited all over you, lie and be mildly excited, or completely unload all that dirty gossip you were hoping for.)
*As a note, when I first called the OB/GYN to make the appointment, I told the nurse I had tested positive on 3 home pregnancy tests. Her question “Is this a good thing?” When I responded in the affirmative, she knew how to approach the conversation. One can generally assume though when you are told, “OMG! GUESS WHAT?!? I’M PREGGERS!” Someone is fairly excited about it.
7. Let me touch your belly!
Variations: Anything that invades a pregnant woman’s personal space, like can I see your belly, can I see your belly button, etc.
I don’t like strange people touching me in *normal* circumstances. But now, I am bloated, uncomfortable, and carrying a person. I don’t feel friendly or happy, I am tired and cranky. No I don’t want you rubbing your germy hands on me. Shoo.
Oh but if I say that, I am the bad guy.
What you can say: Nothing. If you are a person who can touch the belly, you will know.
8. I never got sick! I was sick the whole time!
Variations: I got/didn’t get stretch marks. I only gained x lbs. I wore my skinny jeans home from the hospital. Other pregnancy stuff.
Okay this one kind of varies and wavers a bit. It’s always a good idea to sound out the person you are talking to. Has the person been suffering the morning sickness from hell the whole time? Oh you did too? Then it’s okay. You are bonding over shared suffering.
I also hate it when people ask me how my morning sickness has been. They look expectant, like I should be puking on them instead of answering. I hate having to smile politely and say “I’ve been a bit nauseated but I haven’t actually been sick.” They look bewildered. Like I don’t love my baby because I haven’t been puking my guts out. Or they get mad at me. Hey, it’s not my fault my stomach is more hardcore than yours, don’t get mad at me, you asked the question.
Unless it’s shared misery or shared elation at non-misery, let’s not share.
What you can say: It’ll all be over soon! I hope you are feeling great!
9. Are you having a hospital birth or home birth?
Variations: Drugs or not, breast feeding or not, vaccinations etc etc.
Okay, fair enough, you *can* ask this. Just accept that this is the choice I have made, with my doctor. It’s not your choice. I am going to do it my way.
As an addition, saying “Women had babies for thousands of years at home!” Well, yes. And the survival rate for both mother and child was shockingly abysmal. So no, thanks, I will be taking every advantage of medical science I am offered. You can do it your way, I will do it mine. You are not allowed to judge me.
Just because something was done a certain way for a long time, doesn’t mean it’s the best. It doesn’t mean it’s the best for me either. I am allowed to my opinions and decisions. Please don’t try to convince me otherwise, that’s my doctor’s job.
What you can say: Again, I hope everything goes smoothly. Your little one will be here soon!
10. What’s it’s name?
Variations: None really, just asking if we have a name.
I am going to share the name I want with people I want to know. Also, here’s the thing. That name, it might change. Also, as much as I don’t want your opinions on parenting, I really don’t want them on the name. It already took a great deal of effort for me and my husband to decide on a name, I don’t want to have to deal with you giving your input.
Add to this people who go “OH NO! You can’t use that name! I WAS GONNA USE THAT NAME.” Oh really? OH WELL SUCKER, I got there first.
What you can say: Nothing really. If they want you to know it’s name, they will tell you.
11. You shouldn’t be eating that.
Variations: You shouldn’t be doing x.
Are you my doctor? No? Then shut it. I’m the one who is pregnant. I am the one who has exhaustively read websites, books, and pamphlets. I know what I am doing.
I had someone tell me I shouldn’t be eating sushi, with a harsh disapproving glare. First off lady, it’s a California roll, not raw fish. Which is what a doctor means when they say not to eat sushi. Second, the other part of that being that one should avoid large amounts of mercury when pregnant again doesn’t apply here. The mercury content of crab (or imitation crab) is not very high (fatty tuna is the really bad one) BUT even if it WERE the bad kind of fish you can STILL EAT UP TO 8 OZ A WEEK. Oh you missed that part did you?
The reverse of this is also true. I am not drinking alcohol. Since I have been pregnant I had had a grand total of 3 sips of wine. And I do mean sips, not even full drinks. Because I wanted to know what it tastes like. (Also to make a note for when I am *not* pregnant to try it again.) I don’t miss alcohol for the most part, unless I am sitting around with a bunch of people drinking beer while I am going with root beer or cream soda. I don’t mind. So don’t tell me, Mr. Armchair doctor, that drinking alcohol while pregnant is FINE. There is a thing called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. There is a direct link shown between drinking while pregnant and the appearance of FAS symptoms. Drinking more and more often increases the chances of FAS and FAS effects by a MEASURABLE amount. More alcohol, more often leads to a greater chance of this birth defect.
But the point is, they can’t do experiments on pregnant women. They can’t say exactly why it is that some women can drink a glass of wine everyday while pregnant and have a child without FAS, and why another can drink 6 beers once and give birth to a child with FAS. The really important part of this though, is one simple fact: FAS CAN BE PREVENTED. FAS does not appear in children whose mothers did not drink. It’s that simple. So Mr. Armchair doctor, when you get pregnant, you can drink all you want. But this is my baby, and if not drinking for 8 and a half months means I have one less thing to worry about, hand me my root beer. I don’t care if doctors in France, Italy, and Germany tell their patients it is fine. I do care that many doctors agree that since they can’t be sure what is fine, it’s better not to. Sounds completely sensible to me.
What you can say: Nothing. (Of course, this assumes the person you are talking to is reasonably intelligent. But even so, tread carefully.)
So there you are. A list of things not to say to a pregnant lady. Also, it is worth noting, don’t ask any questions unless you want an answer. There are some fairly gruesome things people have found out by asking me questions and I don’t sugar coat or get all euphemistic on them. If you are going to ask, you are going to get an answer.
Edit: Originally started in Jan 2012, not finished until March 2012. I got busy.