Saturday, March 3, 2012

My List of Things NOT to Say to Pregnant Women

I appreciate a good joke and love a great belly laugh... 
unless it's at the expense of MY belly.

That being said, it's funny (& very strange) how pregnancy seems to be an open invitation, a flashing neon sign even, for some people to lose all common sense in what is socially appropriate to say to another human being, especially a woman.  Being pregnant seems to naturally attract attention and I know there are many women who love being in the lime light.  I am not one of them, I've just never liked being the center of attention and I've never sought out center stage, so maybe that's why I perceive certain comments as being rude.  Seeing a growing baby belly seems to be like a beacon saying "All rude, unsolicited comments should be directed right here, bring it on, I would LOVE to have you comment on my weight, my boobs, no holds barred!"   I can absolutely understand how the incredible magic and miracle of creating a life is such a beautiful thing that others feel compelled to share in the joy of it all.  For the most part, people have been overwhelmingly warm and excited for me and my growing family... 
...most people...

But then there are those others... we shall call them the "well intended weirdos" of the peanut gallery.  This list is my tribute to them and their off the wall comments, flying at pregnant women straight outta left field without warning.  Sometimes, I must admit I wanna sweetly smile & play the pregnancy hormone card, letting fly some equally inappropriate comment right back at 'em... "Oh you're getting huge!" My zinger of stinging reply, just dancing on the tip of my tongue: "Yes well, you see, I am growing a human being, what's your excuse, growing a Big Mac?" Grrr...

My list of no way, no how, absolutely never ever should you say or do this to a pregnant (and potential dangerously hormonal) woman that isn't a close friend or family member.  If you don't know 'em well enough to tell them secrets and hug 'em on a regular basis, it's probably not cool to say or do these things to them until you know them far better. 
Forgive my sarcasm, but here goes:
  • Tummy touching without asking.  Want me to rub your tummy? I'm guessing the answer is no.  
  • "Wow, your boobs are huge!"  Really, does it make anyone feel good having someone staring at their mama-jamas?  Ok, ok... there are some chicas who love this boob-gazing attention, which is why push up bras were invented & everyone knows Pamela Anderson's name.  Not all of us ladies like the eye gaze aimed at boob level though and it doesn't help that so many maternity tops are cleavage plunging, it's hard to rein in the ladies at times, Thelma & Louise have a mind of their own so give a girl a break!  
  • "Wow, you must be having twins!"  I actually got this comment at work this week, after gaining a total of 8 lbs. in 23 weeks, nice, super nice.  
  • "That baby is going to be a bruiser!" This happened this week also, delightfully coupled with #1, leaving me feeling all warm 'n fuzzy inside.  Ya wanna see bruises?  I can arrange that, my husband says to watch for my left hook, it's the one you gotta watch for.  
  • "You're really getting big!" And your sneakers haven't seen the gym in years, but I'm not pointing that out.
  • "You're too small, are you eating enough?" How is this in any way helpful?  Pregnant mamas are already worrying about meeting nutritional requirements, working hard to take care of themselves, taking disgusting prenatal vitamins that make your burps taste like fish (gross!) working hard to try & get enough sleep (on their left side because "What to Expect" says so), attempting to avoid stress, and trying to handle it all with grace... so this question will just make us feel like we're being neglectful.  This is for a doctor-patient conversation, not Joe-Schmo in the grocery store.
  • "Your life is never going to be the same!"- spoken with sarcasm, leaving me thinking, OBVIOUSLY!  How could it be, your life isn't the same after getting a kitten and this is a KID.  
  • "Say goodbye to all of your money!"  Nice, fabulous... noted and filed.  Is it ever okay to discuss someone's financial security?  
  • "Are you disappointed about the gender?" coupled with "You could always have a girl later." Really... Are you disappointed that you have no social skills?
  • You ARE breast feeding, right?"  Although I am 100% committed to breast feeding because of a lot of reasons, I also know that there are so many moms who end up heartbroken when problems (health or otherwise) arise that prevent them from breast feeding.  This is a very personal decision and I don't think it's okay to judge another mama, everyone's doing the best that they can for their baby to the best of their ability.  Research shows "breast is best", but until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you can't judge their decision making.  
  • "You look wide."  Someone recently said this to me and before I could bite my tongue (not my strong suit) I cheerfully replied, "I'm 5 months pregnant, what's your excuse?"  Tell me dear God on what planet this would be okay to say to ANY woman EVER?  
  • "Be careful, my friend's sister's cousin's daughter had a baby born with (insert terrifying condition here) let's hope your baby won't have that!"  What do you do with a comment like that, seriously?
  • "I would rather die than go through labor again!"  Sharing any kind of labor horror story might not be the best idea around someone new to this club. I generally don't mind most stories as it's another woman's chance to tell her own story (she has every right) but maybe save the parts involving the words "tearing" or "ripping" or crime scene quantities of blood, 6 inch needles, a gazillion hours of pushing, etc...  Luckily I work with some amazing women who have shared beautiful birth stories and have said they would do it over again a thousand times, these are the mamas who always glow with the love of their children.  I want to be like them when I grow up. 
  • "Oh I don't like that name!" Cool, don't name your child that then. 
  • "You think it's bad now, wait until you're 8 months along!" Nice, almost sounds like genuine sympathy... almost.
  • "Oh, it's fine to have a little wine/beer/coffee, etc.. no big deal, I did when I was pregnant and my baby is fine."  Cool, you have a little and let me focus on being the best mama possible to my baby.
  • "Just wait until he/she gets here, forget all about ever sleeping again!"  I think every person is aware that babies don't keep business hours, so let me enjoy the sleep I'm getting now & be kind when I'm getting none later.  Muchas gracias!  
  • "Should you be eating that?"  Should you be minding your own business?
  • "You're using cloth diapers?  Good Luck, that will never work!"  The fact that some people aren't aware why this would be a wise thing to try points to their lack of environmental awareness... heck, the least we can do it try.  
  • "Your husband must so so happy it's a boy!"  Yes, he is... but he would be exactly the same amount of happy if it was a girl, he's happy to be a daddy to a human being, regardless of whatever private parts it's sporting.

Maybe I sound overly sensitive to you, but I guess the moral of the story is to be kind.  If you wouldn't want someone to say it to you, then follow the Golden Rule and say something you would like to hear.  Say "Congratulations!" or "It's wonderful your baby is growing!" and tell a pregnant woman that she looks beautiful, even if she's tired, annoyed and not emanating beauty.  This Pinterest post I found sums it up quite well:

Just the thoughts of a mama who's enjoying this amazing experience, all except for some of the less than kind comments which I'm sure all preggo ladies face.  I know those who read this probably aren't the ones who would ever say any of these things, I'm just venting...
Now I feel better.
Thanks friends!


Bry said...

This made me laugh out loud! It's amazing how many random people feel it's necessary to rub the belly and make unnecessary comments!

Sara said...

I especially liked the part about "you think you are big now, just wait until you are 8 months pregnant." Oh, and "Your life is never going to be the same." I think I am aware of that! And, I don't expect nor do I want it to be the same. I want to be a mama and raise a beautiful baby boy!
I simply have to stop listening to the girls I work with. All they want to share are horror stories and how much worse off they were while pregnant than how I am feeling. Do you honestly know how I am feeling? No, because I try not to complain! I am loving growing this baby boy! Ahh!
Okay, thanks for letting me vent a little and I really enjoyed reading your list! :) Go Mama, you are awesome!

Luv2Teach said...

Hi Ladies! :)
I'm glad you guys "get it" because I didn't want to sound too negative or whiney, but seriously.. some people!!!
Sara, I couldn't agree more, we need to vent from time to time to those who understand, I think we just need to support each other in positive ways, not competing for who's experience is the worst. There are so many joys to celebrate instead! It's fun we're both having boys, keep in touch! :)

Adam1776 said...
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