3 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman

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As I revealed here a few weeks ago, I am super-preggers with number 3! This being the case, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how strangely and differently people seem to treat a woman with a baby growing in her uterus.

There are some sweet people I’ve met during pregnancy who   I just simply LOVE! They’re the ones who insist on helping you carry heavy things, the ones who say you look “better then you’ve ever looked before!” and then there are my favorite… the sweet passerby-type people who glance at your belly and shoot you a genuinely happy smile as though they truly share in your excitement and that seeing a mommy-to-be just made their day! Oh, I so adore you people!

But, then there are others who I just want to grab and shake and say “Hello!!! Have you ever heard the phrase, If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all!

It’s not as if I even asked you (yes you random stranger) for commentary on my belly.However if you are choosing to give it, then remember you are dealing with a hormonally-challenged, exhausted, aching-back, swollen feet, possibly nauseous women who would much rather be dressed in something cute and fashionable (maybe even with a belt) then in these hideous, totally not my style maternity costumes…so tread lightly.

Initially, I was hesitant to write this post as I’m sure it’s been done a million times before. However, if my experiences with three pregnancies have taught me anything, it’s that the message is still not sinking in and simply must be repeated! So, without further delay,

Three things you should never say to a pregnant woman:

1. “You look huge!”
So obviously offensive and obnoxious that I really can’t even believe I have to write this! I am normally a petite, small-framed woman and the minute I get pregnant, I show  (and I just keep getting bigger.) I eat reasonably well, I exercise, and after my first 2 pregnancies, I was able to return to my pre-baby weight… but WHY do I feel the need to say all this? Why do I feel the need to justify my weight gain to the women waiting with me for an elevator or the one checking my groceries at the supermarket? My weight and my size are ABSOULTEY NONE of their business! I know it’s not fat—- it’s a baby! But all this weight gaining stuff is still a challenging aspect of pregnancy for a lot of women. So, being repeatedly told how large they look is about as far from sensitive or supportive as it gets. I swear, just for fun, the next person who tells me I look huge is going to get an up and down look and a full critique on their figure with an honest assessment of the problem areas on their bodies. Is that mean? Yeah, well guess what? So is telling some pregnant woman that she’s huge!

2. “Are you sure, it’s not twins?”
Essentially, this is the same comment as “You look huge”, just stated in a more creative, albeit dumber way. This comment insinuates that the pregnant woman looks SO LARGE, there exists no biological possibility that she is only carrying one fetus. Her belly is just SO BIG that if there is only one baby, this mother should probably be studied by a team of doctors… or maybe it’s just going to be the biggest baby ever born! Also, as a side note, her doctor must be a total idiot to overlook an entirely extra baby! Where was that other little guy hiding during all the heart beat checks and ultrasounds? He is gonna rock at peek-a-boo!

3. “When are you due? Oh, You’ve so you’ve still got a long ways to go.”

Here’s a great and encouraging alternative model for this conversation:
Random person: “When is your baby due?”
Pregnant woman: gives an answer anywhere between “tomorrow” and “8 and a half months from now”
Random person: “Oh how exciting for you! It’ll be here before you know it!”

As someone who waited for and really, really wanted each of her pregnancies, even struggling with infertility to get there,  I certainly get that being pregnant is a blessing, a joy and a miracle!

However, it’s also a mentally, emotionally, and physically grueling process for a lot of us. Pregnancy is full of anxiety, hormones, sickness and aches and pains. It’s totally worth it for the gift of a child, but if we’re being honest, 9 months is a long time of waiting when you’re stuck somewhere in the middle of it.

At the end of the day, pregnant women have a big race in front of them and I can’t think of any one running it who wouldn’t love a little extra encouragement! After all, people stand on the side of marathon runners cheering them on and handing them water. I can’t imagine anyone going to see the runners only to yell, “You’re barely half-way there… It’s a long way to the finish line!”

So thank you all for allowing me the chance to vent about these frusterating comments I’ve received and please join me in supporting pregnant women everywhere and taking these little tips to heart. Pregnancy is a wonderful adventure that can only be enhanced if everyone just asked themselves one simple question before opening their mouths: “Is what I’m about to say kind?” Truly, it will be better for all of us! Afterall, the only thing worse than an uncomfortable, hormonal, pregnant woman is a uncomfortable, hormonal, pregnant woman in a bad mood!

Now you’ve heard my list! What are the most annoying comments you’ve received during pregnancy?

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Haha, love this Kirsten! Not surprisingly, my list would be almost identical! I found the comments worse when I worked in an office/corporate environment. After a while, even the “nice” comments irritated me – it’s hard that every interaction you have every day, ALL DAY, revolve around your size and appearance.

    What’s interesting is that I still sometimes catch myself making a comment to a pregnant person that could be construed as insensitive – totally by accident. Often when someone looks tiny for how far along they are, it’s tempting to “compliment” them by telling them they look so little! The implication, though, is that they aren’t big enough, aren’t eating enough, that the baby isn’t healthy, etc. I’ve had friends who gain very little weight during pregnancy and look like cute little skinny people smuggling a toddler size basketball the whole time. While I might want to compliment them, an appearance-based comment can still be hurtful (or annoying) to them.

    I made a promise to myself after my first pregnancy that the only appearance-based comment I would ever make to a pregnant person is “you look great!”. It just keeps it simple.

    Oh, and one other funny one. I love that when you finally start to really show and take the pregnancy public, people often ask “how are you feeling?”. I always find this hilarious because it’s only after I start to feel semi-GOOD that people ask. I want to say “I feel great NOW, but I suffered in hideous nauseous silence for MONTHS and no one asked me how I felt!” 🙂 Again, not the fault of the asker, but just kind of ironic. 🙂

    Great post! Happy that our #3 pregnancies overlap a little! xo

  2. Another one is when people assume that you feel bad and make comments like “you poor thing” or “soon you’ll feel better”.

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