In my experience, pregnancy is such an intensely personal experience that something as simply as showing someone that I was going through it, in the form of my ever-growing baby bump, made it tougher to process. It also made it much easier for strangers, and even acquaintances and friends, to comment on it. I guess they couldn’t help but notice that I was in a “delicate condition” and unable to hide it (shout-out to all my fellow Titanic fans). Just like each trimester comes with its own side effects, the creepy comments pregnant women hear on the regular can vary by trimester, too.
Of course, I understand that other women can and do enjoy the visual part of their pregnancy, and that’s awesome and wonderful and, if that's you, you should unapologetically enjoy every minute of your experience. However, in a perfect world, we (OK, me) would be able to experience pregnancy in a way that isn’t obvious to the random passersby or even well-meaning stranger. Until science (or the fashion industry) figures that one out, pregnant women will often find their pregnancies to be the topic of conversations, whether they like it or not.
Sometimes an unsolicited comment about a woman's pregnancy is nice. Sometimes, well, it's not. Regardless, each trimester brings about new opportunities for "rando" conversations, so you might as well prepare yourself, right? With that in mind, here's what you might expect to hear, depending on your trimester. #PregnancyProblems.
"Are You Pregnant?"
If you have to ask, then we’re not close enough for me to tell you the answer and I'm probably not far along enough to feel comfortable divulging said answer. Hush.
"Were You Trying?"
Once again, if you have to ask, then we’re definitely not close enough for me to tell you the answer to this one.
"You’re Almost Through The Scariest Trimester"
Even if you have the purest of intentions when mentioning the first trimester (and, as a result, the chances that anyone's pregnancy will end in a miscarriage), I’d vote to simply leave it unsaid. The mom-to-be is surely aware of where she is in her pregnancy, and reminding her of the possibility that something, or anything, bad could happen doesn’t really help anyone, no matter how close she is to a "milestone." Second Trimester
"Nothing Is So Beautiful/Natural/Exquisite As A Pregnant Woman’s Body"
Ew. I mean, I suppose there’s some validity to this sentiment (depending on who you ask, of course, because it's all relative). But really, seeing a pregnant woman doesn’t give someone full reign to comment on the beauty of their body, no matter how lyrical or poetic or complimentary your observation may seem.
"Wow, You’re Showing! Can I touch Your Stomach?"
I mean, thanks for at least asking instead of just reaching towards my person randomly and without an ounce of regard for my personal space.
But the answer is no. Definitely no.
"Your Breasts Are Huge!"
Here’s the only scenario when I think commenting on the size (or shape) of a woman's breasts is an appropriate thing to say. The mom-to-be looks you straight in the eye and says, “What do you think about my breast size?”
If she does not ask you this straightforward, cannot-be-interpreted-any-other-way question, there’s really no need to bring it up. Ever.
"Are You Scared About Pooping During Delivery?"
I’m pretty sure no mom is happy the possibility of pooping on front of relative strangers (or her partner) exists. And, thanks to the internet, it’s very hard to be a pregnant woman without being constantly reminded of said possibility (and how likely it is that, yes, you will experience it). So, for this reason (and many others) it’s really not that necessary to bring it up in otherwise polite conversation.
"Are You Scared About Delivery, In General?"
You might be noticing a theme here. For some reason, seeing a pregnant woman apparently inspires grown adults to ask ominous questions with little or absolutely no regard for the amount of fear it does or does not inspire. Perhaps it’s because I’m originally from the Seattle area (and we are a fairly polite and occasionally passive bunch) but I’d much rather keep the conversation to positive questions and cheerful feelings because, really, it’s uncomfortable to grit my teeth while talking through scary possibilities.
"I Know Someone Who [Insert Super Terrifying Thing That Happened To Her While Delivering A Human Being]"
This happened to me, guys. The person in question prefaced the story with something like, “You’d think we’d be further along with medicine, but sometimes it’s not that different from the Victorian days,” and then proceeded to tell me how someone she knew almost died at the end of her pregnancy. I was so shocked that I didn’t have it in me to stop the conversation. However, if I’m ever in that situation again, you better believe I will be ready to shut it down.
"Get Ready To Take Care Of Her" (OK, This Was Said To My Partner. But Still.)
OK, elderly man in the produce section at the grocery store: I’m talking to you. Perhaps something about seeing my husband and I buying fruit made you feel nostalgic. I can respect that. However, no matter how kind your intentions are, it’s not cool to talk about someone in front of them, but not directly at them. Especially if that talk has anything to do with someone's ability to take care of themselves. Nope.