Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What not to say to a pregnant woman

In case you weren't sure about what NOT to say to a pregnant woman, I made up this great list here. Since I finally announced on my blog that I am indeed pregnant I figured I needed to post this! I have had this post in my mind since the summer...wrote it while I was 33 weeks pregnant, and I'm just now publishing it at 38+ weeks LOL. Anyways I think it is helpful to those who aren't sure what they should and should not say to a pregnant woman.

1. WOW you look big/huge/large/have a basketball or watermelon in there!
This should be without mention. You shouldn't have to be told NOT to mention how big a pregnant woman is.  Not only is she carrying a human life, she also is hormonal. How about just saying "You look beautiful!" No need to concentrate on or mention her size.  No need to make ANY comment on how she looks like she is going to "pop" any minute now. Every woman is different; every pregnancy is different.  So every woman will carry differently, depending on their height, weight, how they normally carry weight etc. WHO CARES. Point is, she is carrying a human life in there. So shut up.

2. You look TINY! Are you sure you are {number} weeks? Are you eating enough?
Ok this is just insulting. Are you insinuating that I am not healthy, or eating enough and that I should be bigger? Are you my doctor? This kind of question only should come from my doctor or midwife who follow my growth throughout the pregnancy.  Again; every woman is different and every pregnancy is different.  Some women might not get as big as others. It doesn't mean anything! So what it isn't "fair" so and so is smaller than you were. Grow up and leave the insulting comments to yourself.

3. Can I touch your belly?*
I could write a book on this. Seriously what is the fascination with belly touching and rubbing? I have NEVER understood this. Why? Whyyyyy??? You are not touching the baby. You are not making a connection with baby.  What you are doing is touching my belly; you are touching my body. As if the body and belly is public property for everyone.  Feeling baby kick and touching the belly are intimate things.  Just because a woman is pregnant doesn't mean that she must forget all her personal boundaries and levels of comfort because everyone and their mom wants to touch her.

You should also know that by simply asking to touch a belly leaves the pregnant woman in an awkward situation. If she says no, that puts a strange twist on the conversation because in all honesty people do NOT like to hear no, and its not really easy to say no thanks because what really happens is that people usually ask WHILE they already are touching the belly. 

So Listen. When baby comes out, you are more than welcome to hold her (or him). While she is in my belly, please don't just come and touch or rub my belly.  You wouldn't ever dare rub someone's belly if they weren't pregnant. Even when said woman is pregnant, it is still her belly you are rubbing, not the baby.  If a pregnant woman wants you to touch her belly, she will have no trouble asking you or telling you. Otherwise it is safer to keep your hands to yourself.

*It is important to note that each pregnant woman has a different level of comfort around this subject*

4. You are breastfeeding, right?
While I am so very touched that you are concerned with how I will or will not use my breasts, this is a personal topic.  You shouldn't insinuate that I must breastfeed.  Some women cannot breastfeed for numerous reasons and you telling them the benefits of breastfeeding is not helpful.  It is 2013. We all know there are many benefits to breastfeeding. however, it is not up to YOU or your concern what I do with my breasts. And it is not some sort of competition on who breastfed longer, or who is more "crunchy", or who loved breastfeeding more, or I loved my kids more bc they were breastfed. Motherhood aint a competition I can assure you.

5.  How could you NOT want to know the gender?
Every family is different! Some people love the element of surprise! And it really wasn't too long ago when everyone had to wait. So its really no big deal if someone chooses not to find out if its a boy or girl ahead of time.  That baby does have to come out eventually. So you'll know then. And i bet it will be a boy or a girl.  Personally, I need to know the gender.  I'd prefer organizing things beforehand and if that means getting new clothes, or reusing clothes from a previous pregnancy, I like to know ahead of time. But again, I'm not going to push my need on someone else.

6. Are you sure? You must be having a {insert gender}!
So sorry to disappoint you I am not having a boy.  I know. those old wives tales on how you carry are so precise. And the doctors must have gotten it wrong, so yes I'll have them double check for me next time. What is the point in this question? Why am I have an argument with you over what the baby's gender is? Were you there during the ultrasound? No. Do you have xray vision and can see through my belly and can tell if it is a boy or girl? No. So please don't try to argue with me that the way I am carrying means I must be having a certain gender. (yes I've had people tell me/argue with me to double check and get an extra ultrasound because the doctors were wrong because I am carrying a certain way).

7. Have you picked a name yet? What is it? (followed by; tell me please! I won't tell anyone!)
I get this a lot.  Everyone and their mom wants to know the name.  However, when you have determined your list of favorite names, or even the exact name, ahead of time then everyone also has an opinion.  An opinion on how they knew a so and so in middle school and how he/she was like this or that.  I know that names come with connotations based on your life experiences.  And that before baby is born people have this need to tell you what is "good" or "bad" about that name.  After baby is born, no one cares. Because it is already finalized and they are holding the sweet precious baby and could care less about the name and they just love him/her.  So that is when you'll know the name. Until then I may or may not pretend we have no names. We actually may have none, or we may already know the name. You'll never know. My husband and I are going to pick a name that both of us agree on, regardless of what other people think.

*this one isn't actually very insulting, but can get annoying after multiple repeat offenses*

8. Did you want a {insert gender}?
This is another odd one. As if I had a choice whether or not I had a boy or girl.   And then afterwards is usually a response to how the person (who asked the question) loves her boy so much (0r girl) and couldn't imagine having the other gender.  Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't get to choose whether I was pregnant with a boy or girl.  Sure, a woman can dream of having a boy, or dream of having a girl.. but when it comes down to it they will (hopefully) love their child no matter what gender.  So of course I'm personally going to think girls are the best ever, because I'm blessed with one already and have another one on the way.  I also know that friends who have boys, or had a boy first tend to find that they think boys are the best and such a blessing.  In the end, you get what the Lord gives you. You love them all the same.  

*gender disappointment can happen, but it does not equate to not loving your unborn/newborn child*

9. So how many kids are you going to have?
OK. WHAT? During both pregnancies I had people, family and strangers ask when we'd be adding more babies to our family. Um... Let me take one at a time. I am the one going through the pregnancy, labor and delivery. If you want more babies than gladly go ahead and do it yourself. As for if I am having more kids that is a decision between my husband and I, not the world (even though I know we do make good looking babies ;) )

10. Say NOTHING. Just stare.
This is one of the worst offenders.   And even worse, I see this mostly done by women.  I don't understand why people feel the need to stare down on pregnant women.  Not in a nice way either.  I've received this stare a LOT. Perhaps because I look young? The other day I was walking Mia and I saw a group of moms jogging with their babies in their strollers. They had stopped a little bit ahead of me so when I passed them I said good morning and hi to them with a smile. They completely stopped talking and just stared at me and even looked down at me.  And I know (because I checked after) I didn't have boogers hanging out from under my nose. I'm not sure why they decided to just stare at me, but seriously that is rude. And if they are making assumptions on my situation and assuming things that I am perhaps single and young and pregnant well they couldn't be further off. A simple hi back would suffice.  I'm not asking to be your friend. Just common courtesy.

What I DO love to hear as a pregnant women:

How are you feeling? That simple question is a great question to start a conversation, as opposed to the above.  Sometimes I won't feel like talking, but other times I'll let you know how I am feeling. Because growing a human being is hard work.  Even if you love it, or you are struggling it isn't a walk in the park.  And it is so nice to feel appreciated and to have others genuinely concerned with your well being :)

You look beautiful. That will never get old.  I certainly don't feel beautiful. I do feel big, and it never hurts to tell me how good I look-- even if I do look like a whale ;)

Anything else you would add to this list? :)

♥ Michelle

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