Parenting

10 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

February 13, 2012
pregnant-barbie

Anyone who’s experienced a pregnancy can surely relate to this post and shares in my amazement of people’s word vomit.

Recently at a networking luncheon, at about 20 weeks pregnant, a former coworker who I hadn’t seen in months (and who is not a close friend) said to me, “Either you’re gaining a lot of weight or there’s a baby in there.”

Seriously. Who says that?

In 2009 during my first pregnancy, a friend of mine and fellow pregger shared the brilliant list below. Her friend compiled it during her pregnancy, and I regret I don’t know her name.

If you know what’s good for you, you will never utter any of the following to a pregnant gal.  

10 Things NOT to say to a Pregnant woman 

 1) “Are you pregnant?”
Well, let me tell you this – if a woman is in the early stages of pregnancy, she probably is still feeling a little overwhelmed and aside from close friends and family members, she is most likely not ready to shout to the whole world that she has indeed been ‘knocked up’. When the time is right and she is ready to share the good news, trust me, she will tell you. On the other hand, if she is NOT pregnant and just gained a couple of pounds in the gut area… ehem, it is just plain RUDE to ask! Either way, just ZIP it, will ya? And no… asking her friends and family behind her back if she is pregnant is also not okay, because now, you just started a whole office gossip and speculation on a topic that she may not want to talk about just yet. If you are just bored off your a**, had nothing better to do, and might just explode if you don’t hear a gossip soon, I suggest you pick up a copy of the latest People’s magazine or the National Enquirer. Thank you.

2) “Wow, you’re getting bigger!”
This one ranks in the number one ‘duh’ list. We are pregnant, there is another little person in there, growing inside us everyday… what do you think is going to happen? Of course, we are getting bigger – every single frigging day! And you think that we don’t know or notice? When we get dressed every morning and our wardrobe gets smaller and smaller because nothing else fits, we noticed. We don’t need you tell us that we are getting bigger. That is as much a compliment to a pregnant woman as telling someone who’s just gone through chemo that their hair is thinning.)

 3) “At least you can eat for two now!”
No, moron. We can’t and shouldn’t be eating for two, even if you’ve never been pregnant, common sense should tell you that, and a doctor certainly will. While a pregnant woman should definitely eat nutritious food to provide enough nutrition for herself and her baby, pregnancy is hardly a license to be gluttonous and “eat all you can” at the buffet line. If anything, there are a lot of food are off-limits to a pregnant woman, and some of them, like sushi or sashimi, may just happen to be her favorites. To top it off, don’t forget that after the 9 months and the baby is born, we still have to lose all those excess weight and bounce back to our old self, just so no one will ask us Question 1.

4) “Everybody is having a baby! It’s so crazy!”
Yeah, did you NOT get the memo? We all plan this together – we all read in the astrology section that this year is a great year for having babies. Or maybe we were all at the same party one night and ended up in an orgy that got us all knocked up overnight. Having a baby is a very private and personal decision for each couple, and this comment is annoying because we can almost hear the next silent part (that you may just be muttering under your breath), “…Phew! Glad I’m not!”

5) “So-and-so is also pregnant! You should go talk to her!”
Sure, why not? In fact, let’s throw a national conference and get all pregos into one room so that they could ‘talk to each other’. Aside from the obvious timing and coincidence that two women are going to have babies at the same time, there are no other similarities in life situations there, and no, we don’t feel any more ‘bonded’ to each other because we are both pregnant. If two people are going to be best friends, they will be best friends regardless and if they are two very different people in the first place, pregnancy won’t change that and make them best friends overnight. In fact, even the pregnancy experiences for each woman is so different that doctors and books have warned expectant moms to ‘wear blinders and earplugs’ and be cautious about swapping notes with other pregnant women and hearing horror tales from other women who claimed to have “been there, done that.”

6) “You look so cute in your maternity clothes!”
This one is meant to be a compliment, but it is just annoying because most pregnant women don’t feel ‘cute’ in a maternity dress. They feel bloated and frankly, a little bit of a ‘whale’ as their stomach swells and nothing else fits. That’s why they are wearing maternity clothes, because nothing else fits. If you seriously think that moms’ jeans with elastic bands are ‘cute’, maybe you should consider buying a pair for yourself? If you are paying us a compliment, we prefer you just say, “You look great!” and stop at that, thank you.

7) “… do you mind if I ask you…”
STOP. Stop right there… if you have to preface it with “do you mind”, you obviously think that it might be an inappropriate question to ask. So don’t. Just zip it, okay? What are we supposed to say? Even if we do mind, you put us in an awkward situation, where we either politely say we don’t (when we had rather you not ask) or chance saying, yes, we do, and have that awkward silence afterwards.

8) “How far along are you?”
This is the Number 1 question that most pregnant women get asked – by EVERYBODY. The point is, I really don’t get it. Unless you are family and really close friends, (which if you are, I assume you will not need to ask because you would already know the answer) I really don’t get it as to why everyone else feels compelled to ask this question. For one, seriously, it’s not as if you are going to remember the answer a week from now, and secondly, what does it matter to you how far along we are? If what you’re really asking is when the baby will be born, then, just ask that. Most women will remember their due date better than having to do maths in their head every time someone ask them how far along they are.

9) “Can you believe that a baby’s going to come out of there? Sex will never be the same again!”
Believe it or not, most pregnant women have heard this stupid comment more than once from friends, strangers, men and women alike. If we are expecting our first child, we are terrified enough as it is, with the prospect of labor pain and the actual delivery, whether it is vaginal or C-section. We really don’t need you to tell us of how and where a baby came from. Maybe next, you can go ask a breast cancer patient whether they are afraid of dying and if sex will ever be the same again!)

10) “When I was pregnant, I gained 35 pounds and spent 24 hours in labor. It was the worst pain ever.”
Last but not least, most women who said this, probably just thought that they were sharing their life experiences and passing along the ‘wisdom’. But saying this to a first time expectant mom is almost malicious. It serves no purpose whatsoever, other than satisfying their own twisted thought that, ‘well, I went through it, now, it’s your turn”. Well, guess what? Just because you were bitter about your own labor experience doesn’t mean everyone will share a similar experience. Even if we do, we will not give you the satisfaction of knowing so. So, unless you have something positive to say, I suggest you hold your tongue or I might just bite it off myself!

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21 Comments

  • Reply Bill Arias February 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I just don’t say anything,as if I don’t even notice.

    • Reply Vanessa February 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      You’re a smart man, Bill. :)

  • Reply Leslie February 15, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Hahaha. This is so great. My favorite is a take on #7… Why is it that some women feel that they have a right to ask you very personal questions just because they have had babies before. I would meet someone for the first time and next thing you know she is asking me whether I plan to breastfeed or have an epidural. I mean, seriously – I just met you. What was your name again?

    • Reply Vanessa February 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Isn’t the word vomit amazing? I love when people start to tell you that sex will never be the same again…

  • Reply Rachel February 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Seriously, I was JUST discussing this with my husband last night. Why do people feel that it’s okay to discuss a pregnant woman’s size? Yesterday while ordering lunch the girl behind the counter commented on how “small” I was and asked “How do you fit the baby in there?” while the receptionist at work commented on how lucky I am that I haven’t gotten fat like her sister did. Really? Like I have any control over what’s going on with my body.

    • Reply Vanessa February 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      At least these make for great stories later!
      Thanks for sharing, Rachel. The word vomit never ceases to amaze me!

  • Reply Jessica February 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Maybe I’m the odd ball, but none of these bother me. I loved how I looked in maternity clothes. I didn’t have to worry about sucking anything in :)

    • Reply Vanessa February 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      That’s such a great way of approaching it, Jessica.

      I really do love getting big, and reading your comment is a great reminder of how lucky we are to have a person growing inside of us!

    • Reply Asya March 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

      .We only braely tasted what it’s like to have trouble getting pregnant but it was enough to sensitize us to those who struggle mightily with it. I pretty much take the position that if a couple does not have children, they can tell me why if/when they feel like sharing the reason. I don’t ask, ever. In the months after my miscarriage, several unknowing people would ask the, “when are you going to have another?” questions. I knew they meant well but it’s hard to answer that because there’s this vulnerable time when you question everything. “Should we have more?”, “can we have more?”, “will we have more?” and there’s just no easy way to answer the questions that come from other people when you can’t answer the questions you ask yourself.

  • Reply Jenn Davis February 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    OH My Gosh! Where did you find this picture?!!! I have been talking about this doll for YEARS and no one remembers it!!! They pulled it off the shelves because there was such controversy over it! Great post!

  • Reply thought.this.was.funny « To Those Who Wait February 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    […] Ran across this blog post titled “10 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman.” […]

  • Reply JennyOH February 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    A customer I know fairly well but haven’t seen in a while just asked if I’m pregnant…my standard answer for this is “No, I must have bad posture or something!” Not overtly calling them on commenting on weight gain, but I feel better for saying something, and in a cheery way.

    • Reply Vanessa February 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Jenny, that is such a nice response!

  • Reply Jenna February 19, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I LOATHE when people tell me “YOU ARE SO BIG!!” after they ask me how far along I am. OH.MY.GOSH. I am usually a very nice and tolerant person, but that makes me want to scream. When I was pregnant with my second, I had maybe 15 weeks to go and a random guy at the laundromat asked me if I was due any day now. NOPE! Thanks so much, guy! ARG!!!! I’m pregnant with my 3rd now and I just can’t wait til someone asks me how far along I am. I think I might possibly just ignore them this time around. :) Also an insanely rude thing to say is “WOW! SHE GETS PREGNANT SO EASILY!!” (someone i don’t even know said this) or “WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO PUT ALL THOSE KIDS?” (my mother in law said this gem of a statement). WOW. When I see a pregnant woman that I know, I usually just ask them how they are feeling. Or I ask about being ready for the baby, nursery stuff, whatever. And that’s it. No rude comments, no prying questions. It sucks. That is honestly the worst part about being pregnant, in my opinion. Anyway, thanks for writing this. I hope lots of people read this and get a clue that they need to keep their mouths shut. :)

    • Reply Vanessa February 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Jenna – holy wow the things you’ve heard are classic!

      Who seriously says “she gets pregnant so easily”?!
      It is an absolute blessing to get pregnant – and there are so many people who struggle to conceive, that statement is wildly inappropriate!

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply Lottie February 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    That doll is freaky–as though someone thought a little girl would love a doll like that.

    And I have never been pregnant but would never say any of these things–it makes me laugh that when someone is pregnant people think they can ask them anything and basic good manners go out the window!

    • Reply Vanessa February 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      The doll is incredibly freaky and apparently hard to find. I’m still tempted to try and buy one, though!

      I appreciate getting your perspective, Lottie, as a non-pregger. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply crystal April 16, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Im preggo and i think alot of these statements she gave was just being bitter….i love maternity clothes and how they look. and i think other preggo women are adorable and often get in convo w them and we both ask how many weeks are you, etc…i dont think its wrong to be curious of another ones percious life. i think shes overly sensitive and needs theorpy bc alot of ppl everyday are just curious and maybe getting encourage to start a family of their own some day. even family dont know exactly and they have a right to want to be involved.

    • Reply Vanessa April 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Crystal!
      I love chatting with other pregnant women and sharing in the JOY of being pregnant. I don’t enjoy random people sharing their NEGATIVITY with me, unsolicited.
      It’s great to be curious and want to converse, but there’s no need for negativity!
      Thanks for your feedback!

  • Reply Prion April 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    The ones I HATE most (because they are not anyone’s damn business) are:

    “what were you thinking?! Why’d you have to get pregnant?!”
    Yeah? Why were you in rehab six months ago for doing crack and getting drunk?
    Why don’t YOU have custody of your kids?
    Why do you have a DUI?

    “Where you using contraceptives?”
    Um…have you ever gone streaking or robbed a store? What do you and your gf do to each other? Yeah NOT something that is your damned business to ask!!

    “There are contraceptives available! what were you thinking?”
    What were you thinking last week when you got fired for being too drunk to work? Why did your gf cheat on you?

    “So are you having sex more often now?”
    Um…have you ever done 69 with the same sex?
    Yeah, Not something you need to know.

    Gosh, I didn’t tell ya’ I was prego so you could lay into me about it, ask me questions about my sex life…people are so nosy these days!

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