Have you ever wished that people had signs over their heads – like cartoon bubbles – that showed exactly what they were really thinking?
I’ll let you in on a secret that moms already know: You will totally know what everyone is thinking when you’re pregnant.
In fact, people come out of the woodwork to share their opinions with you – and what’s more, they lose their filter on what to say or not to say out loud… Sometimes while placing their hands on your unsuspecting belly. #awkward
I’m here to help you, Dear Mamas, with a list of instructions for How to Communicate with a Pregnant Lady. Feel free to pass this on to those friends, coworkers, and family members or to post it in a passive-aggressive way to kindly encourage them to redirect those thoughts/actions inward.
What Not to Say:
- Never ask someone if she is pregnant. If she is pregnant, she will tell you WHEN SHE IS READY. She might be pregnant after a miscarriage and scared to tell anyone until she is more certain. She might have an unplanned pregnancy and feel overwhelmed. She might have just had a baby and is super insecure about still looking pregnant. She might have just had too many Taco Tuesdays. Bottom line: Zip it.
- Never ask a pregnant lady whether her pregnancy was planned. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. She is currently quite busy making a miracle, so it is time to mind your own business and make it rain gift cards.
- Never ask how many are “in there.” A pregnant lady will tell you when she knows – IF she wants to share with you. And for the love of all things, do not attempt to ask a pregnant lady who has stated that she is NOT having multiples whether she is “really only having one,” as if you’re the wizard of fertility. She doesn’t need to hear that interesting story about your cousin’s friend’s mom who thought she was having one but ended up with twelve. Leave the guesswork to the professionals.
- Never touch without an invitation. Repeat after me: If you wouldn’t normally touch her belly, don’t touch it now. She will certainly invite you to “feel a kick” if she is comfortable enough to have your hand on her abdomen region. If she doesn’t issue an invitation, keep your hands to yourself.
- Never comment on a pregnant lady’s size, as if there is a standard for what she should look like. A running commentary on body size is inappropriate under any circumstances, and pregnancy is no exception. Here is something to replace those big/small evaluations in your mind: You look beautiful. You’re going to be a great mother. When can I bring you a meal after the baby arrives?
- Never ask a pregnant lady her age. If the pregnant lady is older or younger than your standard, Captain Judgy Pants, here’s what to say: nothing. Move along. If you mention words like “geriatric pregnancy,” or allude to questions about “the baby daddy,” you’re a troll. Pregnant ladies need to bask in love and support, not judgment.
- Never ask a pregnant lady how she got that way (especially moms of multiples). She may have been trying for 10+ years. She may have conceived through IVF. She may have gotten lucky on the first try. It really doesn’t matter, does it?
- Never, EVER tell a pregnant lady that she looks like she’s “going to pop.” She probably feels that way, but hearing you say it doesn’t help her body image or help her prepare for motherhood in any way. It probably makes her feel even more insecure or anxious. Some handy alternatives are as follows: Where are you registered? Can I throw you a baby shower? What kind of cake do you like? .… you get the idea.
- Never tell a pregnant lady that you think her due date is incorrect. See #8. Her doctor has probably had a bit more training forecasting due dates than you have. P.S. Her due date is HER due date, not yours. Simmer down.
- Never tell a pregnant lady how traumatic your birth was, and how you did indeed poop during labor or had hemmorroids the size of Texas, unless she specifically asks for birth horror stories. If she is blessed enough to carry a baby through birth, she will experience this for herself. Scaring her isn’t helpful – it’s freaking SCARY. Don’t scare a pregnant lady (she might pee her pants).
BONUS UNSOLICITED ADVICE:
Do not critique the name she has picked out for her little bundle of joy. Don’t tell her that you knew a skanky girl in college who had that same name. Don’t tell her a story about a guy with that name who ate his boogers in high school. Just tell her it sounds perfect. Because it is HER baby. And SHE LIKES THAT NAME.
Pregnancy is a blessing – an uncomfortable blessing, at times – that is a miracle in all forms. Pregnant ladies need our support, not judgment or curiosity as if they are a circus sideshow.
They need to feel beautiful, loved, and cherished, so that they can pass that along to other pregnant women they see.