10 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

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monkey speak no evilI don't know what it is about a pregnant belly, but it seems that whenever people get close to one, their minds go numb, their mouths go renegade, and they can't help but say whatever random thought pops into their head. It's like, "Oooh, aaah, big shiny orb -- dribble, dribble." Often, it's women feeling nostalgic about their own pregnancies, which I can appreciate. As for other folks? Well, I'm thinking that maybe the fetus is actually a brain-power-stealing succubus, making those nearby all googly while he grows his own baby-genius mind. Just a theory ....

Anyway, as any pregnant woman knows, once you're with child, it seems like everyone's got something to say. And while it's often with the best intentions, some people don't seem to realize that they're talking to a very hormonal, uncomfortable, and extremely hungry woman-on-the-verge, whose emotions are so whacked out that she'll either burst into tears or cut you. Right now, it's not a good time!

And yet, at around 8 or 9 months pregnant, when you're as big as a house and you're not sleeping and you're suddenly hit with the looming reality that you're soon going to be pushing 7-some-odd-pounds of baby out of your hoo-ha (or have the little one sliced out of you), that's exactly when people really start to say what you don't want to hear. Some examples ...

  1. "Wow, you're so big!" Unless you're a body builder on the juice or a 4-year-old on his birthday, nobody, nobody, nobody wants to hear just how ginormous they've gotten. We pregnant mamas have mirrors, we have pants that no longer fit, we have big 'ole bellies that knock over T-shirt displays as we're sliding through the racks at the store. Did you think we hadn't noticed? Yes, our behemoth tummies are a sign of the growing, healthy baby (or babies) inside, so hell yeah, we want that belly to grow! But, if you have to say something, maybe just comment on our glowing skin or shiny hair or adorable maternity outfit instead.
  2. "Wow, you're so small" This one ain't much better, only instead of making the prego woman feel like she needs to lay off the taco combos, she starts worrying that maybe her baby isn't growing enough, that she looks unhealthy, that you're passing judgment on her tiny frame, the subtext being, "Eat something!"
  3. "Enjoy it while you can, because pretty soon, you won't be leaving the house again." Can't an expectant couple revel in a nice dinner out or a date night without feeling like it's their last meal? Yes, parents-to-be know that their lives are about to change, and are already thinking about who can baby sit, calculating exactly when they might be able to leave the baby for more than a couple of hours, hoping and praying that they have the kind of infant who can hang at restaurants. We know, we know, best laid plans and all of that -- every couple probably thinks they can still make socializing a regular thing. Some clearly can, some clearly can't. But for now, please let us hold on to the dream.
  4. "Boys, yeah, you're going to have your hands full." Sure, maybe as a rule, boys tend to be more active, but wild, untameable maniacs? I'm not buying it. Even so, the warning doesn't change anything. Like, what am I going to do? See if I can exchange these guys for a couple of sweet little angels, otherwise known as, girls? No, these are my little monkeys, this is what we got, and I'm going to love them EVEN when they're climbing the bookcases and sitting on the dog and clubbing the walls with their Nerf bats. And, of course, they always tack on that boys love their Mommies too, I guess so you don't walk away feeling like you totally got screwed in the baby gender department? 
  5. "Let me tell you about my horrible, traumatic labor..." Of course, that's not normally how one segues into their L&D story. No, no, they might ask you something simple like, "So do you have a birth plan?" and then, next thing you know, they've launched full-throttle into a story about their 36 hours of labor, followed by 3 hours of pushing, an epidural that got put in wrong, poop on the table, horrible tearing followed by an episiotomy, a husband who threw up, meconium in the baby's face. And then, finally, just when you're ready to call up your doctor and see if you can do this whole thing under total, wake-me-when-it's-over anesthesia, the woman ends her story with, "But really, it wasn't so bad."
  6. "I'm surprised you're still walking around." While my swollen tree-trunk legs, arched back and exaggerated waddle might lead you to believe otherwise, no, I will not topple over with a thunk and a "Tiiiiiimber!" But it's good to know why it is that people seem to be giving me a wide berth.
  7. "Well, Johnny had colic and would cry for six hours straight." As expectant parents, we want to believe that our babies will be "good babies" who will sleep through the night, eat well, and cry with clear intentions about what it is they want. We all want a baby we can reason with. Of course, you get what you get and it's not really in your control. But I guarantee that almost all expectant parents listen to those "witching hours" stories and, in the back of their brain, think, "Nah, we'll do the swaddling and the shushing and be totally fine." If not, they're thinking, "Holy mother-loving, crap stick! Six hours of crying and wailing? That happens?! Please no!!!" So, people, if your goal isn't to scare the couple, what's the point of even mentioning it?
  8. "Twins?! You're going to have your hands full!" Yep, thank you, we're well aware. Double newborns means double the feedings, double the diaper changes, double the crying and fussing. If I had to guess, I'd say that these people had enough trouble with one newborn, so they can't imagine how a person can do it with two. We have no choice but to get the job done, and trust me, we're just as terrified as you think we'd be.
  9. "You HAVE to co-sleep/breastfeed/feed on demand." Expectant couples are entering into parenthood with the best intentions -- we want to do exactly the right thing for our babies. Problem is, we're hearing it from a million different sources and every parent has their own definition of the "right" and "wrong" way. Our heads are spinning, really! At the end of the day, we won't know what's best for our own baby until we get there, so as much as we may appreciate the advice, please don't attach any "you have to do it my way" judgment to it. And please accept our, "We'll have to just see ..." as a reasonable answer.
  10. "You're going to have another helping of ice cream?" Never, ever, under any circumstances do you mess with a pregnant woman while she's feeding. Would you disrupt a hungry lion preying on a wildebeest? When it comes to food, some pregnant chicks reach a point where they become rabid, ravenous animals on a mission -- a mission to find the nearest cheeseburger, make double fudge brownies, finish that whole pint of mint chip, thank you. Stand in her way, or dare to judge, and she may just gut you with her cold ice cream spoon.

Any of this sound familiar? What did you hate hearing when you were pregnant?


Image via johnsnape/Flickr

emotions, motherhood, the pregnant life

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Stacey Busenbark Sanders

I hate "you're so big!" at 36 weeks I had a Walmart cashier argue with me (literally, for the ENTIRE time she checked my order out) that my due date was wrong or the doctor missed a twin....I went home and cried. I also don't get telling a lady your horrible birth story-all you will do is freak her out-Even though it was painful, I make sure if a pregnant friend asks about my labor I tell them it wasn't bad at all, and leave out anything that would be discouraging/frightening.

KBW2 KBW2

Stupid makes the world go round- therefore stupid people say dumb things to pregnant ladies.

nonmember avatar Xine

#1- I think when I say, Oh, you're so big! It's meant to be awed and excited because it means the baby is growing. It's in a culture where it's bad to be fat do women get hung up on the fact that they are outgrowing their normal clothes when they are pregnant. I mean, honestly, what the hell did you expect? Some of the happiest pregnant women I've seen/met, always were joyful when people commented that their bellies were big.

madfoot madfoot

"Wow, are you having twins?" No, are you getting botox?

Mocha... MochaCocoaBean

"just you wait until..." and "don't worry, you'll have it to..." in response to every ailment another pregnant woman experienced and I have not or have yet to...you know, maybe it just won't happen and/or it won't be such a big deal.

1blue... 1bluemonkey

Oh yeah.  When I was 9 1/2 months (yeppers, two weeks overdue with one that ended up weighing 9 lb 10 oz) this teeny little petite b*tch  who'd just had her 2 week early, 5 pound baby, looked at my perfectly basketball-shaped (and sized) belly, screwed up her mouth in a moue of disgust, and loudly said, "WOW. AT LEAST I NEVER GOT THAT BIG!"  


Of course, by that time I was tired of being the nice one, so I'm not proud of how I reacted.  I had a major hissy-fit.  Before storming (okay, waddling) out, I told her that she didn't take care of herself while pregnant and couldn't stand to eat enough to gain the necessary weight to have a healthy baby, and I was sorry for any kid she had because she was a selfish skinny b*tch. 


Sorry to anybody who was early, or had a hard time gaining weight - but she had that one coming from a long way off.


devil

meaga... meagansmommy07

We have a 4 year old daughter and I'm 6 months pregnant with another girl. Everytime we tell someone its a girl all we hear is "oh daddy's going to have his hands full when they get older"...like my girls are going to be skanks and just bringing home boys left and right...I just don't get it ya know...of course a lot of things annoy me right now so maybe its just me over reacting

Sara Jennings

My uncle said to me "Wow, you've gotten really fat haven't you?"


Yes, he actually SAID FAT.

nonmember avatar Sara

How about this- the ONLY things you should say to a pregnant woman are 1)You look great! and 2)How are you doing?
From there, you can take her lead in a conversation- if she's miserable, sympathize with her. If she's happy, celebrate with her.

KKsmo... KKsmommy07

I got all o those plus more while pregnant I get huge while pregnant while I font gain slot if weight my tummy just gets big fast so I hear it all and have argued with so many people about multiples. (both my pregnancies were sink babies)

My mon was talking to my grandpa on the phone the it's night and said something about possibly having another and he said oh that's a bad idea she gets as huge as a house when she's pregnant!

Thanks gramps!

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