Monday, January 24, 2011

10 things to NEVER say to a pregnant woman:

Stuff to never say/do to a pregnant woman. (or any women, for that matter)

1) Never NEVER assume someone is pregnant. Unless you actually hear the words "I'm pregnant" come out of her mouth, don't ask her if she is, and don't assume she is. If she is pregnant, and wanted you to know, she would tell you. If she isn't pregnant, you are just calling her fat.

2) Do NOT tell her that she looks the way she feels. Yes, she is probably some shade of green. Yes, she is probably exhausted. Yes, she is probably gaining weight in places other than her belly. Yes, she probably has the complexion of a 15 year old. But never tell her this. Lie. Or don't say anything at all.

3) Don't try to guess how far along she is. And when she tells you how far along she is the ONLY appropriate answer is "you look great". If you tell a pregnant woman that she is HUGE, she's going to feel like shit, because you just told her she's fat. She isn't going to hear that you are just trying to say that her belly is big and it's cute. She will hear "you are fat". And don't tell her that she is tiny. She won't hear that she looks great and most people would be envious to be her size. She will hear "don't you care enough for your unborn child to properly nourish it?" Again, the ONLY answer, when she tells you how far along she is, is "you look great!"

4) DON'T TOUCH! Pregnant women are not animals in a petting zoo. I, personally, am not overly sensitive to this. If I know you, and you want to touch my belly, I'm fine with it. But complete strangers are off limits to me. And many pregnant women aren't okay with anyone touching. So, better to be safe and keep your hands to yourself.

5) Once the big D-Day is approaching, don't ask them if they've had the baby yet. You'll just sound ignorant. If they are still pregnant and don't have a baby in their arms, obviously they haven't had it yet. And I can promise you that they are a thousand times more eager for the baby to come than you are. You are just making it worse when you say something stupid like "no baby yet?" when they are obviously still pregnant.

6) No matter what she says the baby's name is going to be, your answer should be "I like it". I don't care if she just told you that her precious baby is going to be named "Blue Lady's Feather Duster" after her favorite childhood dog. Your answer? "I like it".

7) Here's a fun one that I got on a regular basis last time I was pregnant. "Are you sure you aren't having twins?" Really?! REALLY?! Do you REALLY think that I might be pregnant with twins and just don't know? This isn't 1955. And this isn't an episode of "I didn't know I was pregnant". If I were having twins, I'd know.

8) Don't give her stupid, impractical advice. Stupid impractical advice would be "get as much sleep as you can before the baby comes." That's just dumb. First of all, you can't stock pile sleep. And second of all, she is already not getting enough sleep. She is probably really uncomfortable sleeping anyway. And once she DOES finally manage to get to sleep, she'll be awoken to a swift kick in the bladder, making her run to the bathroom. Or a nice charlie horse. Or her two year old crying. So, telling her to get lots of sleep is a total joke. There is a good chance she'll get MORE sleep once the baby comes.

9) There are two topics that I've found to be unacceptable to give your advice on, unless the pregnant woman specifically asks. One is on breastfeeding. IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT SHE CHOOSES TO DO WITH HER BODY AND HER BABY! Formula isn't going to hurt her baby. And breast milk isn't going to hurt her baby either. Whatever she chooses is just fine. Talking with a pregnant woman about her options is one thing. Being judgey or pushy is SO not okay. What she needs is support. Not judgments. The other thing that is very personal is getting an epidural. It's not up to you to decide what kind of birth experience she should have. For me, an epidural made me go from a living hell and making no progress with labor to laughing, joking, and ready to push in less than 30 minutes. For some women it's the opposite. Whatever they chose, support them in it. You aren't going to change their mind anyway.

10) Don't try to guess the baby's sex based on a negative aspect of the way the pregnant mom looks. (i.e. "I bet you are having a girl because of all of your acne". Or "I think it's a boy because of your cankles") If you want to have fun and guess the baby's sex, that's one thing, but keep mom's looks out of it.

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