Sunday, June 7, 2009

9 Things You Should Never Say to or Do to a Pregnant Woman

Teresha: Pregnancy is one of those life events that bring out the best or worst in the people around you. Family and friends will be a mixed bag of reactions. Some will be appropriately supportive and some will annoy you with unsolicited advice, poorly-timed jokes, maternity health warnings they read about on the Internet, or plain rude remarks. Strangers will think they can invade your body buffer zone. I have faced the fact that being pregnant is a personal moment on public display, so people will think they are not out-of-bounds to get nosy and all up in your business. Etiquette should not go out the window when you see or talk to a pregnant woman, people! In case you forget your manners, here is a cheat sheet:
  1. Never ask her if she is pregnant unless it's absolutely obvious (like she will deliver at any moment). If she is, it's her news to tell, so don't ruin it or force her to lie. If she is just gaining weight, you will make her feel horrible. Either way, you are going to look like a heel.
  2. Never tell a pregnant woman that she has stretch marks, swollen feet, hemorrhoids, leg cramps, varicose veins, look forward to. It sounds like you are wishing these dreaded conditions on her and just because it happened to you, your wife, your sister or friend does not mean it will befall her.
  3. Never share tragic pregnancy or birth horror stories like, "my sister's-best friend's-cousin was 16 weeks pregnant when she miscarried" or "this woman at my job went into preterm labor due to an incompetent cervix." Are you trying to freak us out? If you don't have something nice to say, HOLD YOUR TONGUE!
  4. Never ask if she is having a boy or a girl or what the name is going to be. Offering to guess is even more of a no-no. If this information has not been volunteered already, then it's probably a secret.
  5. Never suggest baby names. Do you really think your opinion matters in something so intimate?
  6. Never pat or rub her belly without permission. Strangers, don't even ask!
  7. Never, ever look at a pregnant woman and exclaim, "Wow, you are huge! I know you're not going to push that big baby out." Pregnant women come in all shapes and sizes, which don't correlate to the weight of the baby.
  8. Never ask the private, personal details of her birth plan. If she tells you voluntarily, this is not an open invitation to give your "expert" opinion about how "epidurals are the best" or "too many women are having C-sections." There is no right or wrong way to have a baby-- it's a matter of choice to be discussed with her maternity care provider, and you aren't part of the decision-making.
  9. Never look at a pregnant woman coming down the aisle and not make room for her to pass or offer up your seat the front of the bus. Come on!
On behalf of expectant mommies everywhere, I beseech you to think before you speak to us. I know you mean well, but we are already anxious as it is about having a healthy pregnancy plus emotional from the hormonal rollercoaster. We don't need you adding to the stress by making insensitive comments. What we need is positive affirmation! So, when you see me or call me or email me, just express well wishes or ask how I am doing/feeling. I will happily share some details with you.

Damon: On the subject of pregnant women and questions, it is very clear and simple. I always call upon the tactics used to keep the Clinton marriage intact - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Again - very simple. You don't ask a pregnant woman anything. You definitely don't ask her - "are you pregnant?" Even if her water has broken and she is ready to pop, don't ask - I would first just assume that she has wet herself or maybe she's bloated from eating at that discount Chinese Buffet. I could go on, but why? Again, clear and simple - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Trust me!


Mommy of Many said...

love this post, #6 was my biggest pet peeve of all, I didn't like the idea of people caressing my belly, it's not like they are actually connecting with the unborn baby!

Felicia said...

I will never forget being about 32 weeks pregnant and really having to go to the bathroom. There was such a long line and NO ONE offered for me to go in front. I thought I was going to pee on myself.. seriously! From that point on I vowed to ALWAYS let pregnant women go first!

Together We Save said...

You are so right. I hated strangers rubbing my belly. Who does that honestly. It was so annoying.

Jen said...

I agree with every thing on your list. I'm at that "huge boobs but little belly" stage in my pregnancy (13 weeks) and I get comments all the time on how much my girls have grown. Like Really!!! They're mine, not yours...

I slap strangers fingers who reach out to touch me!! If they think they have the right to touch, I have the right to slap.

Awesome Post!!

Robbie S. Redmon, LPC said...

Hi there Dallasite! I have a goodie waiting for you at my site! Enjoy.

Maureen said...

LOL! This is a good list! Politely written, but oh so true. I also wish people would hold open the door for pregnant women once in a while. I can remember days when I was ready to pop and carrying a toddler and a fellow mom wouldn't even hold open the door! At that stage, the little bit of energy boost you get from someone doing such small things makes such a difference.

Painter Mommy said...

Great post! As you know, I am pregnant with #4 and it NEVER FAILS---- someone ALWAYS shares baby horror stories with me. Just the other day a good friend of mine told me a story that I have not been able to get out of my head. It is so frustrating. I don't know why people can't think before they speak.

And thankyou so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. I so appreciate the support. :)


Two Pretty Little Skirts said...

I wish I had these 9 to post on my belly when I was preggers. Soooo many people touching and no asking haha.
thanks for stopping by my blog and showin some comment love :)


Shari@aPsychMommy said...

I had so so many people tell me about their birth horror stories! I didn't want to hear that labor was the worst pain ever! I also hated people rubbing my belly--how weird is that to just go up to a stranger and touch them?

AccidentalMommy said...

I like that..."don't ask, don't tell"

I had an incident where someone congratulated me once and I was NOT pregnant. To top it all off, I had just lost 30lbs and never looked better, but I think maybe it was my loose clothes since I hadn't replenished my wardrobe that made her think I was pregnant???

BTW, every time I stop by here and I see your wedding picture I just smile. You two are GORGEOUS I can't wait to see that baby!

Marrdy said...

Very excellant list! I agree with you both...DO NOT ASK A WOMAN WHEN SHE IS you said, she may or may not be!