Saturday, September 29, 2012

What NOT to say to a pregnant lady

So being pregnant gets you a lot of attention. Almost all of it is positive - people opening doors, giving up their seats, even letting you ahead of them in line. And most people have very nice things to say and ask the right and appropriate questions. However, there still are lots of other comments and questions that come up that make me just scratch my head and think "really?". Here's a few of my favorites:

1.   “Just you wait” – For anything involving baby, child rearing, birth and labor, sleeping through the night, etc. This phrase just bugs the heck out of me for several reasons. First, what am I supposed to say to that – “ok I’ll wait and see”? Next, each baby, experience, and child is different so what happens to me may be the polar opposite of what happened to you. Also, and it may be because I’m extra sensitive right now, but it sounds condescending.

2.   “Get ready for your life to change” – What, you mean I can’t go out to happy hour every night and take weekend trips just the two of us anymore???? Hold the phone, send this baby back. DUH. Anyone who gets pregnant and expects their life to stay the same should not be having children. I understand that our lives will be totally different, with entirely new priorities, routines, and challenges. And while you can’t predict everything that will happen, I’m pretty sure that we’ve already grasped that our lives will be changing. Again, it may be that I’m sensitive right now, but this also sounds condescending.

3.   “What made you pick that name?” – Luckily, I haven’t had anyone come out and say this outright, but I’ve heard other expectant mothers complain about it; I’ve even heard people say “ew” in response to baby names!! Straight up rude! The only slightly negative responses that I’ve received in revealing our baby name were silence then change of subject, some “oh, that’s interesting”, and other comments of the sort. I don’t expect everyone to love the name that we’ve chosen for our baby – just as I wouldn’t have picked names that others have chosen. But people need to understand that most parents when picking out their child’s name don’t just pull it out of a hat. There is usually lots of deliberation, consideration, and thought put into it, so bashing a name is a no-no. Just stick with the “if you don’t have anything nice don’t say anything” rule.

4.   Any comments about what we are eating or drinking. As stated in previous posts, I have done my research. I know what I can and can't eat, what supplements are good or bad, how many calories I can have in a day, and what nutrients my baby needs to be healthy. So imagine my shock when I had a GUY (a guy?! has he ever given birth? was he my doctor?) at Starbucks actually say “are you sure you are allowed to drink that?” as I was waiting for my tall non-fat latte. He immediately knew he said the wrong thing when I went into a speech about all the research I’ve done about caffeine and pregnancy. Needless to say, he was embarrassed and quickly told me how great I looked and mumbled something about enjoying my time because it goes fast.  Well maybe he shouldn’t have ordered his venti white chocolate frapp – does he know how much sugar is in that??

5.   And last, but not least:  “Oh are you having twins?” or, my favorite “You’re due in 4 weeks? I thought you were going to say tomorrow!”  – Let me make this clear: ANY COMMENTS ABOUT A PREGNANT WOMAN’S SIZE ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. You have to be an idiot to not realize this. I mean, come on, you wouldn’t say something to a random overweight person you see in the grocery store would you? Then why do people think its ok to comment on the size of a pregnant woman? We are already worried enough about our weight gain, uncomfortable with other symptoms, and full of hormones that make us sensitive. Plus, most of us are proud to show off our bellies; we are creating a life here, an amazing miracle and feat of science. So don’t bring us down by comments on size. Or I may have to comment on your nose, your teeth, your haircut or outfit. And I won’t be nice about it.

So here’s a great rule of thumb: if you see a pregnant woman and you are inclined to ask a question or make a comment but don’t know what to say, smile, say “congratulations, that’s so exciting” and move on.