I wish I knew what it was about pregnancy that it invites commentary from strangers. Maybe others just want to be involved in the story of human life? Eh, maybe. All I know is once people know you're expecting, and especially when you start to show, strangers, co-workers, estranged relatives, and loved ones will have some things to say regarding your current status. I guarantee that every pregnant woman hears the same annoying things a least once a day, and I have a feeling we're all equally sick of it, too.
I feel like I had a lot of people involved in my pregnancy. My spouse was the first to know, followed closely by my sister, mom, and mother-in-law. My grade-level team of teachers found out early because I felt like I needed to explain why I wasn't fully functional (thank you, morning sickness). And by 12 weeks, my partner and I were ready to tell everyone, so I had friends, my school staff, and 24 third graders all following (and commenting on) my progress. I didn't show at first, but by the time I was eight months pregnant I was huge and, as a result, all kinds of randos chimed in.
It's kind of fun at the beginning, especially when it's your first pregnancy and you're experiencing all the strange changes and nuances of pregnant life for the first time. But as you progress in your pregnancy, hearing the following over and over, day after day, gets a little old:
"How Are You Feeling?"
This is completely well-meant, but it's funny because it's not something we ask someone unless they're either pregnant or dealing with an illness or injury. You hear it now because people know that your body is changing by the day, and although it's often uncomfortable, it's pretty freaking cool.
I'm sure they were hoping for an "I'm great!" response, but I just couldn't fake it. It's not that I didn't appreciate people checking in on me, but I was so miserable for most of my pregnancy that my answers leaned toward the bitter: "Well, Jan, I just threw up my everything bagel, so I've been better. Turns out garden veggie cream cheese is not pleasant coming back up." Sorry. You asked.
"You Look Tired"
I feel pretty confident saying that, in general, this is a dig thinly veiled as sympathy. Why yes, I am tired. You would also be tired if you grew your fetus's kidneys, spent all night getting up to go pee, and carried around a bowling ball strapped to your middle.
It's kind of cool that even when you feel like hot garbage, when you're pregnant someone will very likely tell you that you're glowing. When it comes from someone who loves you, it can be the type of encouragement you need to keep going. However, when compliments about appearance are used to reduce women (I'm more than just a vessel growing human life, thank you very much), I have a problem with them.
"You Know, When I Was Pregnant..."
Women who have had children love to share their war stories. When you're pregnant, you will definitely hear on the daily about how someone's pregnancy was either so much worse ("Hemorrhoids the size of golfballs!") or so much better than yours ("Gosh, I felt amazing my whole pregnancy. I could be a professional pregnant person").
I'm more than two years postpartum, and I'm totally guilty of doing this with my pregnant friends ("Want to see my skin tags? No?").
"Have You Tried...?"
At least once a day, someone will offer you an unsolicited remedy or piece of advice that's suppose to ease your pregnancy woes. Ginger root for nausea! Apple cider vinegar for heartburn! Essential oils! Keep in mind that they likely just want to help you feel better. But, honestly, there are certain things I'll just never be pregnant enough to try.
"You Really Shouldn't..."
Beware the pregnancy police, y'all. They will be all over your ass for that cup of coffee or sub sandwich, and don't even think about picking up that box, exercising, or working outside of your home when you're nearing your due date. It's a daily annoyance because while you might be mainlining Neapolitan ice cream, you're not made of sugar.
"You Really Should..."
If you want to hear the benefits of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and unmedicated birth (or formula, sleep training, and epidurals), look no further. Pregnancy is apparently an engraved invitation for unsolicited advice regarding the "right" thing to do with your body. Yay!
"Are You Sure You're Pregnant/It's Not Twins In There?"
Damned if you show, and damned it you don't. Regardless of how "big" or "small" you are, people will have thoughts about the size of your belly. You'll have to swallow one of these as regularly as your prenatal vitamin:
"You can't be five months along! Your belly is too small."
"You don't even look pregnant from the back."
"You're all belly."
"Wow! You're ready to pop!"
"Boy Or Girl?"
Whether you get annoyed at our society's aggressive gendering or not, you can guarantee that most people will be interested in the sex of your baby. It seems to always be the first question people ask. Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to talk about a fetus' genitals on the elevator with someone I've never met?
"When's Your Due Date?"
Yes, this question is seemingly innocuous, but it's often used to make a judgment about a pregnant woman's size. It can also be distressing because oh my God yes I'm still pregnant and due the 5th of goddamn never. Still, it's a question I typically ask. Inquiring minds want to know.
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