1. “I knew it!”
Even if you did know it, please pass on the opportunity to tout your psychic abilities (or your weird claim that you unconsciously smelled my pheromones. ew). When women say this, it usually means that they noticed your waist got a little bigger, or as one woman told me, “you had the waddle.” If it’s a man telling you this, then he might as well just say “Boobs,” because that’s what he noticed. I promise.
2. Any version of that horrific birth story you heard/witnessed/experienced
Just don’t. Even if you think you are going to save your pregnant friend from pure disaster by recommending that she skip the epidural, or run screaming from the birth center, you won’t. Chances are she has read all the horror stories and is staying awake at night thinking of them. But as soon as you tell her those stories, they are more real, and they won’t serve to save her, they will only serve to give her panic attacks. So, save those stories for a campfire or something. K, thanks.
3. “How’s the baby?”
Now, this seems like a normal question, right? Sure, but try being asked that every day about something that exists inside you. Don’t get me wrong, feeling my baby kick is my favorite part of the day. I actually take breaks from work to lay down and feel him wiggle around in there. It’s awesome. But how is he doing? I don’t really know. I could just as easily ask you how your spleen is. Seriously, I have no idea how that baby is, but I am pretty sure he is better than you and me. He’s floating in my belly in blissful ignorance of the life that is about to happen to him. Ever hear of fetal position? The position we all take to call to mind being safe in the womb? Yeah, he’s all good in there. Why don’t you ask me about my carpel tunnel syndrome, or my heartburn, or my aching limbs, or my food cravings? On second thought. Don’t.
4. “Are you having any weird food cravings?”
I don’t wake up in the middle of the night dying for pickles (any more than I always have anyway), and I don’t want to eat sardine ice cream. Chances are I have been throwing up for 3 weeks and the last thing I want to discuss is food.
I’ll tell you what I’ve been craving– that glass of wine you’re drinking, that looks good. Or those oysters. Sigh.
5. “Hey hot stuff!”
This one was a surprise. Guys, you need to work on your level of comfort with pregnant women. Some of you are horribly afraid of the pregnant woman and can’t stop yourself from stuttering and tripping. I know, I know, I had SEX, and now there’s a baby in my belly and my boobs are huge. It’s going to be okay.
….but NOT so okay that you can cat call me. Seriously, I have never been more objectified in my life. I repeat, I understand guys that there is irrefutable evidence of the fact that I had sex, I know, I know–boobs huge.
6. “Are you sure you are not due sooner?” or “You’re so big!” or “You’re so small!”
C’mon. A) I probably can’t wait to get this baby outta me and B) I am not ready for this baby AT ALL, and C) Every pregnant woman big or small is self-conscious about her body and size. I used to do google image searches for X weeks pregnant, just to see if I was doing it right, so…
….you know, shut up!
7. “Are you going to go natural?”
None. Of. Your. Business. Also, why is childbirth that is assisted by the miracle of anesthesia not “natural?” I don’t want to get a “natural” root canal.
Regardless, most pregnant women do not know what they want to do and see #2. She’s already thinking about it. Privately and with her partner and her close friends. If you are one of her close friends, tell her you will support whatever she decides. She might find that natural is the way to go, so go read #2 again and don’t suck air in and look at her like she is crazy. She might also decide she wants the needle–in this case you can refrain from making her feel like she is a letdown to feminists everywhere and an active participant in the medically sanctioned abuse of women. I think that would be a load off her shoulders.
8. “I thought you might be pregnant, but then I thought you might just be a drinker.”
This one is just funny and was actually said to me by an employee. I don’t think it’s a thing that people say, but hilarious nonetheless and I couldn’t leave it off the list.
9. “You think life sucks now, just wait until the baby’s born!”
Awesome. Erasing your name from the baby shower invite list. I’ll pay for that stroller to hell myself, thanks.
10. ”Were you trying?”
I always answered this one by saying, “We weren’t NOT trying.” But, it always strikes me as an odd invasion of a person’s sex life. Or an attempt to get someone to admit that they’re in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy.
I do understand that it is harder for some couples, and my husband and I were really lucky, but not everyone goes from trying to prevent pregnancy to trying to get pregnant, and for those who do have to try, let’s take the pressure off, k? Don’t make them admit that it has taken two years and give them any reason to think her pregnancy might be vulnerable. See #2. One thing you can be sure of with a pregnant lady–she has anxieties. Don’t make them worse!
That said, recently when someone asked us that, I gave my usual NOT NOT trying bit, but I was not heard over my husband loudly declaring, “Yeah, I was trying.”
Love that guy. Glad he was successful.
What’s that you say? “Oh no! I’ve said, like, all of these to, like, every pregnant woman I know. What do I do?”
Most of my friends and family have said at least one (if not all of these things) to me. And they will keep doing so. They can because I love them, and they love me. And strangers sometimes ask these questions too. That’s ok. This post is meant mostly to be humorous because these seemingly innocuous questions and remarks start to seem really weird when they are asked of you daily for nine months.
It’s important to understand that after a few months of this a gal begins to feel like she is in a freak show. Everyone wants know everything that your body is doing. It’s like being under a microscope, at the Mütter Museum. Give a girl some space while she gets ready for the biggest change of her life , as her body does weirder and weirder shit everyday. Tell her she looks pretty. Hug her. Ask her if you can touch her belly, and if she says no, don’t worry, she probably still loves you.
And when she gets that baby out, go over and do her dishes. Bring her some ice cream and a DVD of a silly movie. Tell her she looks pretty. Even if she is greasy and wearing pajamas, tell her she looks beautiful, and that everything is going to be ok.
Do it for the children.
- Your Pregnancy or Theirs? – How too much advice heightens pregnancy stress (babble.com)
- the 15 must knows (busylittlehome.wordpress.com)