Six Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

So, it’s been almost four years since I evicted C from my uterus. And while four years of parenthood has been a virtual magnet to my mental hard drive, erasing all kinds of things I thought I would never forget, I can remember clear as day some of the inane things that were said to me when I was pregnant. What is it about having a human growing inside you that invites all manner of unsolicited, insane advice? 

My friend Mary gets it. She’s expecting her third baby and has had enough of the pregnancy peanut gallery. I’m excited to welcome her on the blog today and have her sound off on the idiotic things she’s heard during her pregnancies. 

-Emily

I love being 34. I look at myself now compared to 24-year old me and I like me so much more now. I have accomplished a whole bunch: I got married, I had two kids, I went back to school and got my MA and now I teach at an all-boys high school preparing the youth of America and my own little tykes for the future.

My proudest accomplishment, though, in being a woman, is getting to that magical age where I’m still hot (if not ten times hotter) but no one has the guts to hit on me because I’m confident and it scares them. My students and colleagues respect me because I don’t take BS from anyone. I say what’s on my mind and I don’t start off any statement I make with “Sorry, but I was wondering if I could just say …”

No sir. I just say it.

I started CrossFit a year and a half ago, and I can out-squat and out-deadlift some of the very teenage boys I teach (which gives me major street-cred; we compare numbers all the time). Talk about a major confidence booster. And my rear end is firmer and higher and rounder than it has ever been in my life.

All of these things: the MA, the teaching all boys, and the lifting weights have trained me in a way to think like a man. I see how we’re raising our boys – to be the dominant ones in society, to have no regrets for their decisions, and to not give a flying flip what others think about them, and I have learned in recent years that getting in on that action is the best thing a gal can do for herself.

Now that I’ve shared enough about myself to feel that you know ME, I’ll share one more little bit of info that has nothing to do with my identity or my ability as a human being: I’m 35 weeks pregnant. And gosh darn it, I love flaunting my enormous belly because I have worked hard at growing the little parasite living inside there.

But my belly is not me, and it is not an invitation for you to make judgments about who I am or comments about what I’m capable of doing.

Seeing my belly grants you ZERO access to personal information and it does not allow you to comment on my appearance, my ability, or my fertility. Back the eff off. I don’t care what you think of me, but I do care what you say to me. And it’s not because it hurts my feelings, but rather because it’s clearly you have been trained to talk down to women and you are showing me exactly the kind of person you are and I have no use for you. If you want me to think any better of you, it’s time for you to join all the rest of us in 2016 where we respect and encourage women.

If you are unable to find your filter, allow me to help you create one.

Here are six things you should NEVER say to a woman who is pregnant:

1. “Any day, now, huh?” / “You look like you’re about to pop!”

I had someone say this to me at 34 weeks. You, dear heart, have just called me fat AND wished a premature baby on me. So now stuck in my mind are worries about bills, heartache, time spent in the hospital, missed bonding time with baby… Just because YOU think I’m unreasonably fat does not mean that you get to comment on my appearance. If and when you do, be ready for some colorful commentary coming back in your direction. I don’t plan to let you get away with what you just said without a fight.

2. “Oh, honey, your skin is breaking out.”

WTF?!?! Here is a picture of me I took the day a sweet little old colleague of mine just wanting to engage me in conversation said that little gem to me.

Pregnant Mary

I was feeling so pretty that day because I looked like THIS without any makeup on. I was feeling like the frakkin’ Mona Lisa that day! Dammit, lady, YOU JUST DON’T COMMENT ON PEOPLE’S SKIN!!! EVER!!! You don’t hear me commenting on your failing eyesight, do you? Where’s your tact?

3. “Were you trying?” / “Was this a surprise baby?”

You think it’s ok to ask me about my sex life and about my family planning? Why don’t you just give me a Pap smear right here and now, since you and I are close like that? I’m having a baby. That is all you need to know.

4. “I hope it’s a girl.” / “Are you going to try again if it’s not a girl?”

What an awful thing to say. If you say it in front of my two boys who make the world a brighter place for me to live in, therefore suggesting to them that they are a disappointment to me because they were born with what you consider the wrong genitalia, I will punch you in your genitalia. We wanted another baby, and that’s what we’re getting.

5. “You’re still going to CrossFit? That’s dangerous! You could make yourself go into labor!”

I hit a personal record on my squat and my deadlift at seven months pregnant because I know that the muscle used for squats and deadlifts is not the uterus, but rather all the other ones around it that support it. Other exercises that put a strain on any inner connective tissue surrounding my womb? Guess what – I don’t do them. I find a safe alternative, because I listen to my body. I’m strengthening my body to prepare for a labor and delivery that will make all of you hate me. I popped the first child out in three hours, the second in 45 minutes – both of them without any drugs – and I’m aiming for the most glorious hat trick ever seen this side of the Mississippi for the third kiddo.

My ACTUAL doctor is on board with it all, and your imaginary MD is really getting on my nerves.

6. “I was just trying to be friendly” / “Why so sensitive?” / “You’re a little hormonal”

Oh, so my reaction to your insult is MY fault? Well, yes, I guess it is. I do choose how to react to you when you say stupid things to me. I choose NOT to stay quiet while you continue to think that the way you say these absurdities to a pregnant woman, or ANY woman for that matter, is OK. My friend, keeping quiet is the worst possible thing I could do for all of the other ladies out there dealing with this nonsense. How are you going to change if you have no idea that what you’re doing to women is wrong? I’m taking the time to educate you – it’s what I do. I’m a teacher. And I’m 34 now; I’ve found my voice in this world and I’m going to use it to stick up for myself and for the gals that haven’t found theirs yet. I am not a delicate flower and you should not say such bullying things to me to try to force me to back down off of this rant. Because believe me – we are ALL thinking the exact same thing. We are all fed up with this BS, and the only hormones that have anything to do with how I respond to you are adrenaline and testosterone. They are surging through my body and you are going to feel just how “hormonal” I can be. Good golly I love being me!

What’s the most obnoxious thing anyone said to you when you were expecting?

Sound off in the comments!

23 comments

  1. Oh, man #4. That one stung every time. People don’t mean to be hurtful, but when they asked that about my third and fourth (boys by the way) in front of their soon-to-be-big brothers…ouch. I was just hoping for a baby. And you rocked that red dress.

  2. The thing that bugged me the most was when people would say “Haven’t you had that baby yet?” It bothered me because I was thinking the same thing. With my second, I got smart and quit answering the phone (my relatives were the worst offenders). My new message? “No, I haven’t had the baby yet. Take a guess on the gender, birth date, and weight, and the closest guess wins a prize!” It became fun.

    I hated horror stories, too. “You know I was in labor for two weeks before they finally called in a giant backhoe and excavated it through my spine. You wanna see my scar?” Especially for first-time moms, those stories can be terrifying.

    The other stuff didn’t bother me so much. I just accepted that people WANT to start a conversation, they just don’t know quite how, so they say the things that were said to them.

  3. When I was pregnant with my son, a petite skinny-minnie looked at my belly and said, “Wow, it’s really big.”

    Me: “That may be true but it’s tacky to point it out.” (I have found this response very useful many times since then, for a wide variety of situations.)

  4. My first husband left me when I was 6 months along with my daughter who is now 24. Supposed friends kept asking me if I was going to keep the baby, and tried to give me advice about how to rear a child alone. I ignored them, kept her, and met my current husband when she was 4 years old. He became her daddy, and she grew up to become a wonderful lady. She is currently an RN in Seattle, WA.

  5. In 1985 while I was about 8 months along with my only child, a perfect stranger turned to me in the elevator to the 10th floor, put his hands (both of them) on my belly (like he was going to pass the basketball) and said, “Can you feel it move?” I can’t even remember what, if anything, I responded, but the shock of that moment can still make me shiver.

  6. People always have something to say that is terrible. I had told a few people I was choosing to tie my tubs, we had planned on it before I found out I was having a son. Side note: I planned both of my pregnancies. People would say, “I bet you hope it is a boy”, or “Don’t tie your tubes, what if it is another girl?” ummm…Even if it was another girl ( I have one Daughter and one Son) I would still make the same decision. And my decisions were mine and my husbands. I love this picture! Haters gonna Hate! Keep doing what you know is right!

  7. I was asked if I’d been tested for gestational diabetes. But my mom, when she was pregnant with my second brother after getting pregnant right away after the first, got asked if she was STILL pregnant. She remembered that hurt til the day she died. People are idiots.

    What I hate is somewhat related. I lose weight and gain weight. It’s my plight in life. So don’t ask me how much weight I’ve lost. It’s absolutely none of your business. And when I tell you it’s personal, don’t look hurt. I’m the one who’s being judged here. So just apologize and find an appropriate subject.

  8. When I was pregnant with my two girls, I didn’t mind all these comments. I think most people say things with well-intention. You’re pregnant. You body changes, your skin changes and all of that (including comments) is temporary. That’s how I viewed those comments anyway. But I know many women that won’t put up with it so you’re not alone, for sure. ;)

    The one that did bother me is number 4. People cheer for the opposite sex (from first born). “When’s the boy coming? Don’t you want to keep the family name going? Your husband must not be man enough.” The absolute worst was when people made boy comments while holding my newborn baby girl. I wanted to take her away from anyone that speaks to her that way.

  9. i definitely felt this, how the boundaries seem to be erased once one is pregnant. but it doesn’t seem to end once the baby is born… and it’s not just what they say, it’s the claim they have on your body, so many people touched me who i never would have given permission to touch me – but they didn’t ask. that bugged me the most. after he was born, i got so tired of strangers asking his gender- that seems to be the opening line, like it matters, or they’d assume they knew (mostly they guessed girl because of all his hair) and somehow that was the best conversation starter. and the touching of the baby… argh. now that he is older, the conversation starter seems to be “how old are you,” “what grade are you in,” and “what’s your name,” that last one bugs me the most, because strangers never say, “my name is sally, what’s your name” they just assume kids’ names are fair game and a kid should respond to that question just because you asked it. (i make a point to ask their names, to try and make that point.) i do agree with commenters saying most people are very well-intentioned, but i think most people are super unintentional, and a little more actual intention would go a long way. i think if they thought it all the way through, folks would realize how absurd and invasive their behavior/comments are. i totally support you in responding by raising their awareness!

  10. Geez! I know I’ve said the “you look like you’re about to pop” comment before but I would NEVER ask someone if they had planned their pregnancy. Wow. How rude!

  11. I’m a server & when I was pregnant with my first daughter I had a lady first ask me if I was having twins, after I responded no, she proceeded to say, ‘oh, you must have eaten a lot of pizza throughout your pregnancy then.’ I was so angry I was barely nice to her serving her table the rest of the evening. It was one of my last shifts that pregnancy, I couldn’t take the rude comments anymore!

    1. That is SO, SO RUDE! I can’t believe people.

  12. I never touch bellies (even close friend’s bellies) without asking or being invited. I know that I wouldn’t be comfortable with everyone touching my tummy so I don’t do it to others.
    In all honesty I have said to someone, “you’re still going to the gym?” It was closely followed by, “you are like wonder woman man, good for you!!!” I truly respect anyone who is that dedicated to their health when they are that pregnant, I can imagine myself just trying to remember where I put my car keys hahaha.

  13. I am very short, so I popped out around eight weeks and got bigger from there. The two worst were: “Are you SURE you aren’t having triplets?” and the hostess who tried to refuse to seat us in a restaurant where we had a reservation when I was only five months pregnant, because she didn’t want me going into labor in “her” restaurant.
    I was only 25, so I was not as confident as I am now. I cried a lot!

  14. When I was six months pregnant with my first, I was told that I was lying because I was too big for six months.
    And NEVER ask a parent with multiples if it was natural. We get that ALL OF THE time (on average maybe once a month!). I didn’t ask you about your experience getting pregnant.

  15. “You’re waddling.”

    Excuse me for being 36 weeks pregnant and not used to the extra 30 plus pounds and the head that’s lying on my uterus. I’m sorry I’m not walking like a model on the catwalk and I’m a bit wobbly. How would you feel if I told you that you waddled and it wasn’t because you were pregnant?

    The gall of some people.

  16. My wife was once told that her pregnant stomach belonged to the world and that anyone could rub it

  17. Dana DeLarme · · Reply

    I may have seen strangers through oxytocin-tinted vision during my first pregnancy. I remember dreamily pushing a grocery cart down food aisles for something to satisfy my tomato-based food cravings when some fellow shopper would catch my eye and give me a small, knowing smile. It was like a secret handshake to an ancient society that I previously believed did not exist. Every public arena I visited held people that sent me that sweet, well meaning grin.

    Did people say dumb things to me? Yes. Do people still say stupid things to me without one jot of self-awareness as to how their comment will be received? Certainly. But while pregnant, some hormonal elixir soaked my reflexive neurons in a bath of self regard that easily deflected and forgave others’ verbal missteps pertaining to my physical changes.

    Post partum is a different and chilling story with which I won’t crowd up your comment section:)

  18. I love this! I’m 23 and a half weeks pregnant with my first child and haven’t started to show yet so luckily a lot of these comments haven’t been made to me yet. However as soon as people are told that I’m expecting it’s like a switch is flipped on in their brain and suddenly they know my body better than I do! I’m rubbed by strangers, criticised for what I eat and God forbid I sneeze as people can not wait to tell me how soon I’ll be peeing my pants when that happens. I’m sure it’s all said with good intentions but it doesn’t half get annoying!

  19. Ok… I love the list of comments! Especially number 2, because I heard soooo much about my skin. The most annoying comment (and I’m just cringing typing this) is, “oh!? you are pregnant all over” while they looked meover with disgust. ugh! As opposed to? I better stop typing- I need a moment. ..

  20. As a person who is 4’11” and who had three 8-pounders, I heard number 1 a lot, and very early on. The worst was when I was due in August and in MAY a cashier asked me how big I would get by August if I was already huge.

  21. Tips to live by.
    Thanks, Emily.

  22. adminthisparentslifecom · · Reply

    Why do people have to say anything other than nice comments! Loved reading this!

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