Sunday, March 23, 2014

Things You Should and Should Not Be Able To Say To A Pregnant Woman

Like I've said in previous posts, pregnancy is such a complicated issue. When speaking to a pregnant woman, it's almost like you must tip toe around, making sure you do not offend the said woman, while at the same time showing your support for her. Add the hormonal issues that all pregnant women experience (and let me tell you, they are real...we don't make them up...before I even knew I was pregnant with this baby, I sobbed for fifteen minutes at a Kleenex commercial, which was immediately followed by outrage at my husband for not having the same reaction) and you never know what kind of reaction will you get.

That being said, I do think that some pregnant women get a little TOO upset about certain things that well meaning people say. I've actually only ever been offended by a pregnancy-related comment twice in all my pregnancies. I'm sure it's much harder for some women than it is for others to be the center of attention in that way, which is the reason why many women overreact. But the fact is, most people like pregnant women. They are extra nice to them. They go out of their way to help. With that, I suppose, comes comments that can, depending on the circumstance, be either appreciated or totally unwarranted.

So without further ado, here's my lists.

Comments pregnant women shouldn't be offended by (but often are):

1.) Your belly is getting so big!!

Now, if there were actually not a baby in there, and someone was referring to the after effects of my third helping of chocolate cake I had eaten earlier that day, OBVIOUSLY I would be offended by this. But...there is a baby in there. So I don't understand why pregnant women get so upset about this comment. People are not calling you fat. They are marveling at the fact that you have a living person inside of you, and that the little person is growing! It's amazing! And in my limited experience, I've found the more visibly pregnant you are (aka...the bigger your belly is), the nicer people will be. In fact, I find it comforting when people tell me that my belly looks big...because that means the awkward " she pregnant or did she just eat too much?" phase is now over.

2.) Are you sure there's just one in there?

I think I've been asked this question at least 10 times with this pregnancy (much more so than with my last one). I can actually understand why a pregnant woman might get offended by this...but to me, again, it's well meaning. It relates to number one. People are merely commenting that your baby is growing, and that's a good thing! In response to this question, I usually just chuckle and assure them that yes, it is one baby, and no, it is not a sumo wrestler yet.

3.) Are you having a boy or a girl?
When people see a pregnant woman, they ALWAYS ask the same questions, in the same order:
a) When are you due?
b) Is it a boy or a girl?*
c) Do you know the name?
It's just a natural progression, and people are simply being curious. I personally don't think it's nosy at all. I answer these questions as they come (a. August 1st, b. we aren't finding out, c. not sure yet), and appreciate that people are interested in the little person inside of me.
*If, like me, the pregnant woman is not finding out the gender, people will say one of two things: "Oh my gosh I could NEVER do that! How do you plan???!!!" or "I think that's just great! That's the way things used to be, and you'll never get a surprise like that again in your life!"

Things you should NEVER say to a pregnant woman
(And, by the way, all of these have, in fact, been said to me, and yes, I was offended)

1.) You don't look any different! Just your face/butt/arms/other random body part that is not your stomach/ looks chubbier.
Um. It makes sense for you to tell me that my belly looks bigger. Because yes, there's a baby in my belly. But there's not a baby in my face. Or my butt. Or anywhere else. It's a very difficult thing for many women to see those numbers on the scale creep up, even though gaining weight during pregnancy is healthy. So...if you are going to comment about the size of any body part, you may only do so about my belly. Thanks.

2.) You look like you are about to explode!
This was said to me when I was 41.5 weeks pregnant with Elizabeth. By a man, no less. This is an example of why the way you say something matters. If he would have simply said, "you look like you're about to give birth soon!" I would have replied, "Why, you are correct. In fact, I should have given birth 10 days ago, but my baby has decided that she really likes it in there and doesn't want to come out yet." I would not have been offended. But really, the term "explode" and "you" should never be in the same sentence. Especially when talking to an overdue pregnant woman.

3.) You're going to name your baby THAT? ***insert list of reasons why that name is horrible and will affect the child negatively in years to come***
Number one reason why Trent and I do not divulge our name choices to ANYONE. Not even our family. Nada. Zip. Zero. Quite frankly, I don't want to hear your opinion about my baby's name. Contrary to what you might think, we have actually given a LOT of thought to this, and our name choice has a deep meaning to us. If you do not like it, I understand, but please keep it to yourself. Have your own babies, and you can name them whatever you'd like.

So hopefully we've all learned something from this. The bottom line is this: when speaking to a pregnant woman, think carefully about what you say and the way in which you say it. And the number one thing to remember is that really, all a pregnant woman wants is for you to be supportive. So do that, and she'll love you forever. Maybe she'll even name her baby after you. (But if she does, DON'T CRITICIZE IT!)

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