Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When Talking to a Pregnant Woman

Don't you find it obnoxious when a woman who, once pregnant, believes she is an authority on all things pregnancy and qualified to speak for all pregnant women? Me too. Did I mention I'm a huge hypocrite? I am going to be self-indulgent and dispense advice to you non-pregos: here are some things you should consider when speaking to a pregnant woman:

1. Don't comment on the size of her bump.
We're constantly comparing ourselves to what our friends, family, peers, and celebrities look like, and what books and websites say we should look like during whatever stage of pregnancy we're in currently. We strive for normalcy, and are very aware of how we look, so remarking that we're barely showing or that we look like we're about to pop is not a welcome observation. If you must comment on our appearance, a simple "You look beautiful" is always very much appreciated. Unless we truly look like roadkill, in which case we'll know you're lying and it is best to just say nothing.

2. Don't question her choice of food, beverage or activity.
We've done the research, we've talked to the doctor, we've given it considerable thought. We don't want to hear the words "Can you have that?" or "Is it ok for you to be doing that?" Even if it comes from a place of genuine curiosity or concern, we're already plagued with feelings of worry and self-doubt. We don't need you putting more questions in our heads or making us feel you disapprove. Remember, we're extra sensitive these days. A nail technician once chastised me for continuing to wear acrylic nails during pregnancy, telling me that the acrylic seeps into the mother's bloodstream, with devastating results for the baby...but that at my stage in pregnancy the damage has already been done so I shouldn't bother removing them now. Do you need me to describe how upsetting that was for me? Not to mention complete hogwash.

3. If you want to ask about the baby name, be prepared to gush over it.
We can tell if you don't like the name we chose for our baby. Unless you're willing and able to deliver a Meryl Streep performance of  "Oh, I just adore that name!", don't ask. Even if that name sounds like a stripper/medical condition/rhymes with a body part. Avoid phrases like "That's his first name?", "Oh, but what are you going to call him?", or "How did you come up with that?", "Oh, that's my dog's name!", or "Wow, I know like, ten people who just named their kid that." Reserve those sorts of questions and comments for another time and place, when the mother is outside of earshot. Then call me, and we can make fun of the name together.

4. Resist the urge to ask personal medical questions.
If we never discussed our anatomy and medical history with you prior to pregnancy, let's keep it that way. For some reason, pregnant women's bodies are looked upon as public domain and no question is off-limits. Please don't confuse our pregnancy glow as an invitation to talk to us about our lady parts. 

5. Your gruesome tales of real childbirth will only frighten and upset her.
Don't. Just...don't.

6. Your enthusiastic tales of Wonder Women freaks of nature with their non-existent baby weight and quick, painless deliveries will only make her feel inadequate and infuriated.
With all due respect, take your story and cram it. I said, "with all due respect", so that wasn't being rude.

7. Avoid any talk related to the length of time remaining in her pregnancy.
Maybe pregnancy has flown by, and we're overwhelmed by all the things we've yet to do in preparation for our baby's arrival. Maybe pregnancy has been like The Green Mile, a seemingly endless, dreary death march. You have no idea what we're feeling, so when you make comments like "Wow, you haven't had that baby yet?" or "Man, you've still got a long ways to go!", that could cause us to mentally back-hand you.

What else, women? Have I forgotten anything? Does anybody have assault and battery charges pending because some fool said the wrong thing to you?

1 comment:

  1. How about "Don't comment on how miserable it will be to be pregnant during the summer. We're well aware. Thanks." And for those like me with a 10 month old..."Was this second pregnancy planned?" !!