The HOW to for strangers and loved ones on approaching pregnant women:
There are hundreds of things pregnant women hear at a time when they are the most vulnerable and emotional that most people should just avoid mentioning. I am starting to come to that phase with my own pregnancy that I may have at one point or another thought I might just let loose and tell someone what I really think of them. Thankfully, I didn’t, or at least haven’t yet, and I still have job because of it.
I get enough honesty from my three-year-old son, who does point out that mom is getting big, and he thinks nothing of telling me when I don’t look great in something. Really, I have one dress that every time I put it on he says something along the lines of “ugh mom, what have I told you about that dress”, it’s really charming. However, when he does say something it’s cute and I still love him, because I know it is not meant to hurt me. I would like strangers and friends to know that they are not nearly as cute, and I did not give birth to them, so this type of behavior will not be forgiven as easily.
Here are a few of the gems and responses that I know we have all thought of giving:
The CLASSIC – “Are you sure there are not twins in there?” Really people? Well I am sure modern technology is pretty accurate now and we know there is only one, but thank you for your educated medical insights.
The subtle – “When are you due? Oh wow, it looks more imminent than that”. This one is just super and requires a lot of personal restraint to not respond with comments like “when are you due… oh you aren’t expecting… oh…”
The comparison – “Well when I was pregnant, I didn’t look that big until I was 9 months”. Yes, I am positive that you looked radiant and glowing and it was all baby weight, but history has a way of skewing our memory, let’s find some photos.
The tipster – “Are you supposed to be eating/drinking that”. Well we appreciate that you care, we really don’t care enough to hear it. Short of drinking cases of beer it is best if you kept your thoughts to yourself and just pass the chips.
Generally I am shocked by what people will say to a pregnant woman. Have they forgotten that we are making an entire person (or perhaps more than one)? It isn’t socially acceptable to comment on the weight of others when they aren’t pregnant, so what makes someone think it would be okay now?
Here are the biggest tips on how to approach the elusive pregnant woman:
Do not comment on weight. EVER. We are aware we are growing, we are supposed to, we are growing people inside of us, and that requires expanding. Please be polite or just lie and say we look amazing. Odds are we know you are lying, but we will appreciate the effort.
Do not compare your pregnancy or anyone else’s to the person in front of you. We are all different, just as it is true in every other circumstance, it is true for pregnancy, and we will all carry differently. Just appreciate the awesome power of the body to make a life, not how it looks doing it.
Do not comment on how a pregnant woman is doing something. Don’t say anything about food, drinks, or even walking. We probably made a set of lungs today, what have you done?
Being pregnant is an awesome experience, although it can be painful, uncomfortable or all around challenging, it does mean making the most awesome (but sometimes too honest) little humans ever. As a group we should just embrace it all, and not feel like how it looks in the “production phase” really matters over a healthy and happy little person at the end.