It might seem strange that I am writing this post right now, after all I'm not currently pregnant. But if I write it now then I can tell everyone I was completely in my right mind, unaffected by pregnancy hormones, and trying to write from an objective perspective. Objective perspective, that was fun to say. :)
I just don't understand why when you are going through the most life altering, physically challenging and beautiful miracle of your life people somehow assume this gives them license to say whatever they want to you. Maybe they think it's funny? Maybe they don't understand how you feel? Maybe there's some weird universal mindset that if your tummy is sticking out in front of you that is automatic permission for perfect strangers to touch you in inappropriate ways??? I don't know, but whatever the reasons but I'd like to set the record straight.
One more thing I'd like to preface this with and that is this: For some reason our culture automatically signs all pregnant women up for this competition with each other. If the competition had a title it would be something like "Whoever can look like they're not doing what they're actually doing the most wins!!" Translation: Whoever has the tiniest bump at the end is the most fabulous. I don't get the weird obsession with being tiny in our culture. I totally get eating healthy and being fit. But healthy/fit does not always equal tiny. In the same way, successful pregnant woman does not equal tiny bump.
Ok people, for all of you that aren't pregnant this is your handbook. For all of you that are, feel free to share this with the people in your life that are driving you crazy ;)
Rule Number One: DO NOT EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TELL A PREGNANT GIRL SHE IS HUGE.
I mean seriously people.... does it EVER feel good to be told you are huge?? Would you like someone to randomly approach you and tell you that you are huge? Huge does not have a nice connotation to it... it brings to mind things like whales and the great pyramids, expansive things of that nature. Don't get all crafty and sneaky and go calling her large, big, or ginormous and think you're somehow not breaking this rule either. Realize that she is carrying a HUMAN BEING INSIDE HER BODY and have a little tact. I mean, why people look at you in surprise and say things like this when they know you are pregnant is beyond me.
Rule Number Two: DO NOT ASK A PREGNANT GIRL IF SHE IS EXPECTING TWINS JUST BECAUSE SHE HAS A BABY BUMP THAT MAY BE LARGER/SOONER/ROUNDER THAN YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE. (Chances are your judgment is not based on reality, chances also are that she is not carrying twins.)
I don't know if people think this is a funny little one liner, or that they are being original, or that this is something we can all laugh un-awkwardly about when she informs you that no, she is not carrying twins... But I'd like to clear the air on this one. No it's not a funny one-liner. No, you are completely unoriginal, this is the oldest line in the book. No, it's not going to be a funny little joke between you and the pregnant lady. I mean, when she answers no, she's going to be feeling like you just told her she's twice as big as she should be. This is not to say that women don't ever have twins. But let them tell you, don't you ask them. Also.... If someone is pregnant with two 5 lb twins, or one 10 lb baby, can you do math?? (God bless those who have 6 & 7 lb sets of twins, you are my heroes!!)
Rule Number Three: DO NOT ASK HER QUESTIONS SHE DOES NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO IN RELATION TO HER PREGNANCY.
I'm talking about things like "Why haven't you had that baby yet??" Believe me, at the end, all we want is for the baby to come out, if we knew the answer to why it hadn't yet, you wouldn't be asking that question, because we would have already done the thing to make it come out and wouldn't be pregnant anymore, therefore this conversation would not be happening.
Rule Number Four: DON'T ASK HER QUESTIONS YOU KNOW SHE DOES KNOW THE ANSWER TO IN RELATION TO HER PREGNANCY.
I'm talking about the classic: "You're pregnant? Don't you know how this happens?" Yes. Yes we do. Chances are we did it anyway. Or maybe we even planned this. Please don't act like our babies are all accidents.
Rule Number Five: IF YOU DON'T KNOW FOR LIFE-BETTING CERTAIN THAT SHE IS PREGNANT, THEN DON'T ASK WHEN SHE IS DUE.
I'm not sure where the myth was born that you are supposed to grow, and grow, and grow, stretching your body to max capacity for nine months, and then POOF! The baby comes out and everything snaps back to how it used to be. I mean, for goodness sake people! Do you know what happens inside when there's a baby taking up all the space where your organs used to be?? Your lungs get squished up so high you feel like you can't take a full breath, your stomach is so smashed up under your lungs that when you lay down at night you have heart burn from acid reflux because there's just not space for that stuff to stay where it's supposed to, your bladder is being stomped on, pummeled and squished downwards so far that you have to pee every five minutes, and let's not even talk about our skin and abs... Ok, wait, let's talk about it. Those nice tight abs that having always been about 6 inches from your back bone are now so far out in front of you that you can't see your toes anymore, and your skin is just trying to keep up whatever way it can. So when that girl has that beautiful little baby and comes home from the hospital and happens to not have a nice flat abdomen right away, that's actually normal. Unless the girl is going into labor in front of you, or you hear her telling her husband to feel the baby kick, don't go up to her and ask when she is due. Cause if she's already had the baby and not pregnant anymore, it's going to be a little awkward for you both. This is one area where it does not pay to be a risk taker and try to be the pregnancy predicting hero....
I'm positive there are more rules that could be added to this list... things like "don't tell her she waddles" "don't rub her belly without asking if you may do so, your skin is itchy anyway when you're pregnant and you just made it worse" or even covering basic body language, for example: eye brow raising, mouth gaping open, and head shaking while talking about her bump.... But I'll leave it at those top five. And because I'm nice, I'll even provide a list of appropriate conversation topics when communicating with a pregnant woman.
1. How are you feeling?
2. You look great, you are glowing.
3. How are you sleeping at night?
4. How's the nesting going? Are you having fun getting ready for the baby to come?
5. When is your due date? (clarification: This is not to be asked until after she has confirmed that she is, in fact, pregnant.)
6. Do you have a name picked out?
7. Where are you planning to deliver?
8. Do you know if you're having a boy or girl?
9. Compliments. Those are always nice to hear when you're feeling so very out of your element.
10. Is this your first baby?
There you have ten basic, kind, low-key conversation topics if you want to discuss pregnancy with an expecting mother. And if you don't know if you can trust yourself to talk to her without breaking any of the above rules.... well then just rely on the good old "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule.
You're welcome. ;)