Getting and staying pregnant is a blessing. It’s also a very personal experience that is made very public whether a woman wants it to be or not. And a pregnant woman may not be so keen to share details of her pregnancy with you.
Herein, a list of the top 6 things you shouldn’t say (or do — see No. 6) to a pregnant woman.
1. "You got big!" Really? I got big? You know I have another human growing inside me, right? So I can’t exactly stay the same size that I was before unless I happen to be an alien. Pregnant women do not need a reminder that they are, in fact, gaining weight. It’s not like things are happening to their bodies and they are unaware of the changes. Lack of sleep, constant trips to the bathroom, and aching thighs are enough to remind them, thank you. And this isn’t a carnival game either. You don’t need to take a guess at when they are due based on their size. You’re not going to win any prizes, trust me.
2. "You must be having a girl because your face … changed." Read: You got ugly. Some women only gain weight in their belly when they’re pregnant Some women gain weight everywhere. There’s an old wives’ tale that attributes the latter type of weight gain to carrying a girl. I say pregnancy ugliness is equal opportunity and can happen no matter what you’re having. Either way, you don’t need to bring it up.
3. "Wow. Again?" I have a friend who got asked this and the person asking followed up with, "You know how that happens, right?" Seriously, people. Why are you butting into other people’s decisions about their family? Why is it your business? I also group this with "Must have been an accident, right?" or "Are you done after this one?" Maybe, but I’ll be sure to let you know first before I go to get my tubes tied.
4. "You must be carrying twins!" See No. 1 above.
5. "Still pregnant?" This one’s a doozy. I’ve gotten this one from my bank teller — one month after I delivered my baby. Not cool. Let it be known that when the baby falls out (that’s how my 6-year-old think it happens anyway), the weight just doesn’t fall off with the baby. It took me a good year before I went back to a somewhat normal size after my last pregnancy. Some women never go back to their normal size. So just do yourself a favor and don’t ask. This one goes along with asking a woman if she's pregnant in the first place. Why is that ever a good idea? What if she’s not and you just called her fat?
6. "Can I touch your belly?" Better yet, there are some people who won’t even ask. They’ll just go right ahead and rest their hand on your stomach, like it’s a Magic 8 ball. It’s a definite personal space violation. It is never OK to touch a pregnant woman’s belly, unless she offers first, and even then, it’s a little weird. One way to resolve the situation? "Put your hand right back on theirs," laughs Jillian Goldberger, mom of three. "It gets amazingly awkward."
The bottom line? You can rarely say the right thing to a pregnant lady, so don’t even try. If you must, exchange some pleasantries and if she is willing, the soon-to-be mama will disclose her pregnancy on her own terms, without you looking foolish and without her feelings getting hurt.
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