Being pregnant is really hard. Like really freakin’ hard. Having had a miscarriage and a few complications with this pregnancy I can tell you there is little I am more grateful for than to be carrying this baby, but being pregnant is still really, crazy, ridiculously, insanely hard sometimes.
And it’s hard enough without having to deal with other people being a pain in the butt.
I guess I feel like the things on this list should just be a no-brainer, but apparently they are not so to try and educate those of you who have not been pregnant or may have forgotten how hard it is to be pregnant, here is a list of things you should just absolutely not do when you see a pregnant lady (regardless of whether she’s your family member, close friend, or just some stranger in Target).
- Ask her if she plans on breastfeeding and go on a rant about why ‘breast is best’. Whether she plans to breastfeed or not, it’s really none of your business because it’s not your child. Chances are she has an idea of what she wants to do already and doesn’t need your backhanded advice. Also it’s super inappropriate for you to talk about her boobs like that (especially if she doesn’t know you).
- On that note, please don’t question any of her parenting decisions. If she doesn’t have a kid, she doesn’t quite know what she wants yet because she hasn’t experienced having a kid. If she does have a kid (or more than one kid) she probably has an idea of what she’s probably got a plan in place. A plan that does not involve you.
- Touch her stomach without asking! I can’t tell you how crazy this one drives me and it’s usually from good-intentioned relatives that I feel bad snapping at. There is a short list of people I’m actually alright with touching my baby bump sans asking. Chances are you are not one of them. This is important to me because I just don’t feel comfortable with most people touching me, even if it is just on the stomach. And unsurprisingly, there are a lot of women who feel the same way. So please just ask. Otherwise I might lose my mind.
- Make it a big deal if she’s upset over something. Pregnant women are cesspools of complicated emotions thanks to a crazy influx of hormones. If you see a pregnant woman having a meltdown over something that seems ridiculous just let her do her thing. It’s a big deal to her for whatever reason. Don’t try to talk her down if she’s mad that there aren’t any more pink cake pops at Starbucks. She’s not herself. Unless she is hurting herself or others, you don’t need to try and intervene.
- Bring up horror stories from someone else’s delivery. This is one of the worst things you could possibly do. Nobody wants to hear horror stories from deliveries past. Major life threatening complications may not be super common but it’s not something you should be bringing up to an over-emotional, nervous person who is inevitably going to have to give birth.
- Talk about her weight gain. This should be a no-brainer but unfortunately it isn’t. And again, it’s usually well meaning relatives who are just a little concerned about the fact that you’re looking a little more chubby than pregnant. But just don’t do it. You’re dealing with someone who’s not only going through dramatic hormonal changes, but who’s also probably not feeling super secure in their changing body. And anyway, how would you feel if they asked you about this? Pretty crappy, huh?
- Criticize or condescend her for her decision to bring a baby into the world. No matter if she’s 17 or 45, it’s not really for you to say whether or not she’s doing the right thing. So please don’t criticize her or be condescending. You’ll end up hurting your relationship with her, guaranteed. Don’t ask her why she couldn’t just wait to have sex, or why her kids are so close together, or why her kids are spread far apart, or why she waited for so long to have a baby. It’s none of your business.
It’s all fine and good to have questions and concerns. It’s perfectly human, actually. But when you open your mouth to ask these questions or talk about the problems you may have with what she’s doing, remember that it’s not your baby and that if you’re not being helpful you’re probably crossing the line.