10 Things Never To Say to a Pregnant Woman
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Pregnant women have a reputation for being hormonal she-beasts who would rather eat you than put up with your nonsense. Our tempers are short, our appetites are big, and our ability to tolerate idiocy is at an all time low. Here are 10 things never to say to a pregnant woman if you value your life and don't want to end up a gibbering mess on the floor after facing a wrath like you've never known.
1. "We're pregnant."
Usually uttered by expectant fathers, nothing rubs a woman the wrong way like a man taking credit/sympathy for what she is doing/enduring. Mila Kunis recently gained attention for her rant on Jimmy Kimmel about men who say this, and I couldn't agree with her more.
It's fine to say, "We're expecting," because it is true. The whole family is expecting and anticipating a new baby. But unless dad is gaining weight by the hour, dealing with bloat, swollen feet and constant heartburn or is running for the bathroom to be sick at every new smell, only one of you is pregnant.
2. "You'd better sleep now while you can."
Great advice given out by well-meaning been-there-done-that motherhood veterans, but it is absolutely the stupidest and most rage-inducing thing we hear from people. It would be great if we COULD sleep now. But the problem is that pregnancy, while making us ridiculously tired all the time, has the annoying side effect of making sleep next to impossible. From heartburn to joint pain to the baby's constant kicking and movement to just plain old fashioned insomnia - pregnancy is basically one long test to make sure you can cope with all those sleepless nights once baby is here.
Not to mention how we feel when this isn't our first baby... How many moms get a chance to nap when they already have a cranky kid or two who need attention?
3. "You're about to pop!"
I had to stop going to my favorite sandwich shop when I was about 28 weeks pregnant with my first baby because the girl behind the counter couldn't help herself from blurting out this gem every time she saw me. Incredulous that I still had three months to go, she made comments about my huge belly constantly. Already self conscious, her words made me feel so badly that I started making my coronation chicken at home!
4. "Are you sure it's not twins?"
Again with the belly shaming! Just as you wouldn't go up to an overweight person and say, "boy you must eat lard by the ton!" So you should refrain from making comments about the lady's bump. I've seen 90 lb women with giant baby bellies that defied belief. But as amusing as it may seem to you, you never know how she may be feeling about the changes to her own body. We all worry and wonder if what we are going through is normal, and making a soon-to-be mother feel like a freak for the size of her bump is unnecessarily cruel. If you really must say something, compliment her. "You're radiant/glowing/blooming" are phrases we all know just mean, "wow - you're really looking pregnant these days!" But at least they aren't making jokes at the expense of our body image.
5. "Was it planned?"
Who are you to ask this question? Planned or not, this baby is coming, and all that matters is that there's a plan for once he or she is here. This conversation is right up there with religion and politics as far as hot button topics go. It's one thing if the information is volunteered, but it is never your place to ask.
6. "Don't you own a TV?"
Oh yes, ha ha ha. Because I'm pregnant (again!), I must not have anything better to do. Never mind that I'm a young woman in love with my husband. Never mind that my early 30s have given me tons of sexual confidence, and I am quite happy to indulge in hanky panky whenever I feel like it. Never mind that my days (and often my nights) are filled with screaming toddlers who demand constant attention, and I treasure those few child-free moments that my husband and I get to ourselves.
Nope. I'm just pregnant because we don't have anything better to do than procreate.
7. "Are you done now?"
Much like asking if the baby was planned, this is a question that you just need to avoid. You never know what emotions you may trigger in a woman by asking her this. Perhaps she can't have more children for medical reasons. Perhaps she and her husband disagree on having another one, and you are just rubbing salt in the wound. Perhaps she thought she was done after the last child, and this new pregnancy is not a happy surprise.
You might think you are having a joke, but you just never know if what you're saying is a hot button topic. Best leave well enough alone and simply smile and nod and congratulate her.
8. "How will you cope?"
Usually asked by concerned acquaintances when they deem you to have either too many children or children too close in age, this remains a question that is loaded with trouble. Most women are already doubting their ability to be a good parent to the kid(s) they have, let alone to another tiny dependent that they don't know about yet. Demanding that they give you a detailed itinerary of exactly what they plan for their excess children is just cruel.
If you really are concerned, maybe a better question would be, "How can I help?" Offer your support and let her know that you'll be there if she ever needs to talk or vent. Having kids is tough - we all could use a little help.
9. "Will you keep trying for a girl/boy?"
This is an inevitable question that is asked when you have two or more children of one gender. And while it is a natural curiosity, it is again something that can cause hard feelings in a woman. Perhaps her heart was set on a specific gender, and you've just reminded her of what she's NOT getting. Or again, perhaps she'd love to keep trying for one more, but her husband has put his foot down. It is really none of your business. If you are lucky enough to be told the impending baby's sex, then simply enthuse about it. Don't go fishing for gossip.
10. "You're going to breastfeed/circumcise/cloth diaper your baby, right?"
Talk about a loaded question. Let's be honest - you're not really asking, are you? You are actually pre-judging. You are explicitly stating your own belief that these things are best for the baby and anything less is basically neglect. You're opening up a debate, daring a hormonal pregnant woman to argue with you.
Actually, this is a great question because it gives an emotional pregnant woman cause to LOSE HER SHIT spectacularly. We're all just waiting for that one question that's going to send us over the edge and allow us to finally explode with estrogen-fueled rage. And guess what? This is the one. So congratulations - you have just found yourself in the lucky position of seeing first-hand the dark side of this "blessed" time in a woman's life.
What would you add to the list?