Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Talking to a Pregnant Women 101

It has come to my attention that most people have no clue what are appropriate and inappropriate things to say to a pregnant woman. It seems that most people lose all sense of tact and respect that they would typically employ for any other person. This seems very bizarre to me considering pregnant women are on a 9 month hormonal rollercoaster ride and even the most mild annoyances make us burst into tears. You would think people would want to avoid that.

"Are you having twins???"
What you are really saying: "You look so gigantic I just can't imagine you only have 1 baby in there. You need to seriously lay off the ice cream!"

In what space-time dimensions is it ok for perfect strangers to comment on someones weight or size? It's rude people and makes me want to cry when you ask. No, I am not having twins. If I was, I would have told you when you asked if it was a boy or girl.
Other inappropriate comments in this category "You look huge for X months." "Hope you are ready to have a giant baby!" "You look much further along." "You will never make it to your due date."
Alternative acceptable comment: "You look wonderful!"

"My friend/sister/mom/cousin/friend of my mom's sister's cousin had the most terrible labor and then the baby almost DIED!!!!"
What you are really saying: "I'm going to try to scare the bejesus out of you for no reason other than my own amusement."

Newsflash! I have to give birth to this baby regardless of what you tell me, so telling me terrifying stories about labor really isn't helpful. Would you tell someone about to get in the car to go the store about your friend who had a fatal collision on her way to the store? No, you wouldn't because its pointless and only going to freak them out. Save your terrible birth stories for a non-pregnant woman.
Other inappropriate comments in this category: "A baby is going to ruin your life." "Labor is the most excruciating experience ever and you'll never do it without drugs."
Alternative acceptable comment: "Babies are wonderful and worth every bit of discomfort to get them here."

"Can I touch your belly?"
What you are really saying: "Can I pop your personal space bubble and rub my hands on your itchy stomach?"

First off, I do appreciate this person for at least asking first, but it hard for me to graciously decline without sounding rude myself, but hey, I've gotta do what I gotta do. Stangers especially, hands off! (I'm looking at you creepy lady in the cruise terminal bathroom) When did my body become public property, I don't know. For me personally, there are 3 categories of people who can ask to touch my belly : 1) the person who got the baby in there, 2) immediate family, and 3) very close friends. Be aware that if you are not in one of those categories and you try to touch me, you may pull back a bloody stump.
Other inappropriate comments in this category: Touching without even asking first.
Alternative acceptable comment: Say nothing unless you are in one of the aforementioned categories.

"Was the baby planned?"
What you are really saying: "Did you and your husband intentionally have unprotected sex or did your birth control fail?"

It shocks me to no end that people, strangers even, ask me this. Asking about the conception of my child is a little personal, don't you think?
Other inappropriate comments in this category: "Where you trying?" "Did you have any help?"
Alternative acceptable comment: "I'm so happy for you!"

"Are you going to eat that?"
What you are really saying: "I read on the interwebz/heard from someone that pregnant women aren't supposed to eat ______. Are really so ignorant that you don't know that too?!"

I'm a smart cookies and I am well aware of all the foods and activities that I am supposed to avoid when pregnant. I am also well aware of the acceptable limits of many other foods like fish, caffeine, and deli meat. Are you? Along these same lines, stop telling me what I can't do. I am perfectly capable of lifting a 10 pound bag of whatever so don't have a conniption fit when I do.
Other inappropriate comments in this category: Anything that begins with "You aren't supposed to..."
Alternative acceptable comment: "Can I get you anything else?"

*These are all comments that people have actually said to me personally. If you are as shocked and abhorred at people as I am, pat yourself on the back because you are a respectful person.

No comments:

Post a Comment

A penny for your thoughts?