As I’m more obviously pregnant now, I’m getting a few well-meaning comments and questions from people. While most know to avoid the “are you pregnant” one, a few of the others I’ve heard left me thinking that I really need to make a list.
So, without further ado, here are The Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman:
10. “You don’t look pregnant.”
Since I first felt the wonderful joys of ‘morning’ sickness, this comment has hurt. I realize it’s coming from good intentions, I do. Still, when you’re already aching in your lady parts and constantly feeling like tossing your Saltines, hearing that you don’t look pregnant is the worst.
9. “You look so cute.”
I don’t know why, but I’ve heard this one several times lately. No, I do not look cute. I look like a whale. I look like an elephant. I look like myself in a Sumo wrestler suit that I cannot take off for …a few years. Cute things are little and precious, and I am neither of those whilst pregnant.
8. Assurances of how long it took them to bounce back.
This is more of a stinging comment for older women who are pregnant. If it’s their first time in the ring, they might be more severely depressed post-partum when they can’t go jogging within a week. If it’s not their first time, they know better and don’t need the reminder -especially from someone who looks like she never carried anything heavier than a baby guppy.
7. Lists of risks for the foods the pregnant women is eating.
Another helpful one. If the person is really looking to be helpful, a kind reminder BEFORE any money or effort is spent would be nice. Or -as the best idea- show up with perfectly safe foods for the pregnant woman and her entire family.
6. “You’re eating for two.” Wink, wink
Lady, I know I’m pigging out. Maybe I’m just excited that the food’s staying down this time. Maybe I really do have cravings that seem to involve the wrong side of The Food Pyramid. Maybe I need to eat every hour because my stomach is being smashed in an upside-down direction.
Whatever option you pick, keep it to yourself. And, pass the ice cream.
5. “It’s only nine months.”
You know what? YOU try it.
4. Horrible delivery stories.
Again; as helpful as these are intended to be, maybe keep them to yourself. Especially if the pregnant woman has done IVF or prayed for ten years or whatnot, stories of botched or nearly-botched deliveries are terrible. Didn’t you know that stressing the mom out can cause premature labor? -Yeah, don’t tell her that, either.
3. Shameful comments about her birthing plan.
I addressed this somewhat in my article on planning a C-Section. If you know the person well enough to comment, maybe begin with a simple question: Are you choosing that plan because of past complications?
There’s always a nice way to say things and I know people can choose that way.
2. Horror stories of what the baby looked like, or how it changed sexes.
Like I mentioned in #4, just don’t. No one needs to worry that she’s going to pop out some alien with tentacles where they shouldn’t be.
1. Stories of babies dying.
I once expressed my anxieties about birth to a former neighbor, who responded that at least the child would be “teaching people in heaven.” That is not comforting; that is strange.
Getting a baby to attach, grow, not have complications, and pop out is HUGE. Please, please don’t tell an expectant mom about someone losing her child at birth. Save it for if that happens to her, when you give her a genuine hug and help her to cope.
Here’s what went down this past week:
Sunday, October 6: “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” an observation of society’s changing expectations.
Monday, October 7: “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”
Tuesday, October 8: Shared a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Wednesday, October 9: Recommended mixing your own cleaners.
Thursday, October 10: “Eat a Balanced Diet?,” a snippet concerning dieting.
Friday, October 11: Thought about raised voices in “The Merits of Yelling in the House.”
Saturday, October 12: Shared Marcy G‘s tweet about kids and their feelings of ownership.
Sunday, October 13: That’s today!
©2019 Chelsea Owens
My husband hates yelling. Up until a few years ago, he would give me a look or chastise me whenever I chose TALKING LOUDLY from somewhere in the house over getting up and talking in person. I received a similar reaction when I’d get upset at the children (or him) and raise my voice.
Unfortunately for him, we moved to a two-story house six years ago. We did so when I was pregnant and exhausted. I therefore failed to see the benefit of climbing seventeen stairs to engage him face-to-face. I also left piles of socks, toys, and children at the top or bottom of said stairs to consolidate trips, so why not consolidate conversation as well?
I reverted back to calling to him from wherever I was (usually the couch), including times when I knew he could intervene much more quickly than I could in children’s fights (because getting off the couch is tricky).
But that baby grew up. He became six years older and I became 30 pounds lighter. I had few excuses to yell, even when the boys attempted fratricide. Coincidentally, talks and pointed looks from the husband increased when my volume also increased.
Fortunately for me, I’m now pregnant again and even more exhausted than before…
Photo Credit: Stock Photography
©2019 Chelsea Owens
Why don’t you put the toilet seat
Why do you sit and glare and
It’s not that I am out to
About the toilet, water,
I’m simply trying to raise you
So future spouse won’t give you
A hard time.
Photo Credit: Filios Sazeides
©2019 Chelsea Owens
What would the world be like without children? Quieter, I imagine. Less messy. Less chaotic. No rules about censoring swearing on the radio, maybe. Toy departments geared toward 20-somethings. An absence of miniature items, everywhere. An absence of parks and children’s museums.
In a world such as that, how would the odd, pregnant woman be treated? Stared at, I imagine. Whispered about. Talked about. Shunned. Insulted, perhaps? Watched closely when she tries to purchase clothing to fit her expanding size. A general doctor explaining how he rarely sees this sort of thing anymore -wouldn’t she prefer to abort?
And then, how would others react to marriage and families? Strangely, I imagine. With wariness or confusion. With raised eyebrows and intrusive questions about life choices. Without tax benefits. Without special Family Days, Kids Meals, or Half-Price Admissions.
You might think such scenarios to be far-fetched. Surely we will never reach the point of a world without children! Of course pregnant women will be accepted and supported! When will couples and their families be ostracized?!
I tell you: sooner than you think.
Over a decade ago, a good friend told me she lived in Germany as part of being in the Air Force. She said she received openly hostile looks for bringing her baby son to a restaurant, yet a woman with a dog was accepted.
When I’ve walked around, heaving my heavy stomach in a waddling fashion, I’ve gotten a judgmental vibe in the downtown areas. Where youth, vigor, liberal views and pro-choice abound in a college crowd; there is no love for pregnancy in the air. There are almost tangible questions of, “Why would you choose that?” amongst the stares.
And, outside of our state, we’ve experienced impatience, judgmental looks, and ignorance regarding our children. At a children’s museum on free children’s admission day nearly 8 years ago, a woman in the gift shop told her coworker she’d “shut that baby up” -in reference to our 2-year-old making interesting sounds in the echoing entryway.
I understand. I do.
I understand that some women do not want to birth children.
I understand that quite a few couples don’t want to raise children.
I understand that many people do not want to deal with children at all.
But, I know that an anti-family social norm is killing us. I know a world without children is not sustainable. I know we need pregnancy. I know we need marriage and families.
And, I know that we can’t just assume someone else will take care of that responsibility. We need, instead, a return to the social assumption that families are the norm. We need love and support for those trying to raise their offspring to not be sociopaths. We need acceptance, appreciation, approval, and attention.
We need families.
If you’ve the time, here’s my week in review:
Sunday, September 29: “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” in which I listed my favorite Halloween movies for kids and families.
Monday, September 30: Wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Menagerie.”
Tuesday, October 1: Shared a quote about families from Fathers in the Home.
Wednesday, October 2: Recommended saving money by buying in bulk.
Thursday, October 3: “Naptime Isn’t Just for Kids,” a snippet about how great naps are -for parents.
Friday, October 4: Wondered about people’s evening mealtimes in “How Do You Dinner?”
Saturday, October 5: Shared Scary Mommy‘s tweet about hypocritical in-laws.
Sunday, October 6: That’s today!
Photo Credit: Tyler Nix
©2019 Chelsea Owens