There’s something about pregnant people that makes even generally reasonable people ask ridiculous, shaming, personal, and intrusive questions. As a woman who has been pregnant more than once, I can safely say I've heard it all but rarely answered with anything other than silence or sarcasm. Sorry people, but there are things you don't get to ask me when I'm pregnant, no matter how well-intentioned or curious you are.
It's seriously uncool, inappropriate, and downright creepy to ask someone about their body, sex life, fertility, boobs, or vagina, regardless of whether or not they're growing another human being in their body. Still, and against all reason and logic, people seem to think it's OK, as if pregnancy magically negates all social etiquette. My body belongs to me and my plans for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting are none of your freaking business. Learn some boundaries, please.
These guidelines apply to everyone, by the way, including strangers at Starbucks, men on the street, other moms in internet parenting groups, and, perhaps especially, my mother-in-law. I don't care if you think you're being helpful, feel entitled to a response, or honestly and truly care about me. Ask yourself why you really want to know the answer to your intrusive question, because chances are your motives aren't entirely pure. So consider this a public service announcement of sorts, because there's simply no reason to ever put a pregnant person (or any person) in an uncomfortable situation because you feel like they owe you something. Just, no.
"How Was The Baby Conceived?"
With this question, you are either asking me about my sex life or my medical history, neither of which are any of your freaking business. There's no way I'm answering that.
"What's The Gender?"
"Not Applicable?" Honestly, I never know how to answer this question. I pretty much don't think fetuses or babies really have a gender. Not yet, anyway. Gender is a social construct, not tied to chromosomes or reproductive anatomy, and even if you know whether or not they have a penis or a vagina, you don't know anything about their eventual gender identity.
Plus, I don't treat my babies different'y based on gender, so why does it matter what's inside their diapers? Speaking of which, why do you want to know what my unborn baby's genitals look like? Weird.
"Is This A Planned Pregnancy?"
I wish this question would totally die in a fire. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 45 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned. So, when you ask this question, you have pretty close to a 50 percent chance that the answer being a resounding "yes." It is potentially such a loaded question, depending on a person's individual circumstances and emotional state.
Besides, why do you want to know? Seriously? I feel like this question is almost always intended to shame the pregnant person you are asking, and that is so not cool.
"How Much Weight Have You Gained?"
None of your freaking business, unless you're my doctor. Come to think of it, if you are my doctor you won't have to ask me this question. Instead, you will just look at my handy-dandy chart and figure it out for yourself.
Anytime someone asks me this question, they either want to fat shame me or concern troll me. Hard pass to both.
"What Are You Planning To Name The Baby?"
I've only made the mistake of telling someone my baby's name before they were born, once. I will never forget the look on their face. For the record, it was a totally nice, reasonable name. So when I got pregnant again I actually lied to my preschooler and told her we were going to name her sibling John. We weren't, but people stopped asking. Worked like a charm.
"Are You Sure There's Only One Baby In There?"
Pregnant or not, comments about my body are not welcome, and the size of my baby bump is not up for discussion. What you are really saying when you ask this is "you are huge."
Plus, I'm sure.
"You're Planning To Stay At Home With Your Baby, Right?"
This particular question made me feel so defensive, even though I was happy with my decision to return to work. Not only is it totally no one's business, but seriously, have you ever heard someone ask a father-to-be this question? Nope. Sexist AF.
"Should You Really Be Eating/Drinking/Doing That?"
Who do you think you are, the pregnancy police? Firstly, if you are a stranger how do you know I'm even pregnant? Secondly, no matter who you are, you don't get to decide what I eat, drink, or do when I'm pregnant. If a pregnant person (or any person, really) is eating, drinking, or doing something, remind yourself that ultimately it's their body and they get to decide what to do with it.
"Are You Delivering Vaginally?"
Please don't ask me questions about my birth choices, especially when they involve my vagina. It's none of your freaking business, my doctor and I will make that call when the time comes, and besides, that's my vagina we are talking about. Inappropriate.
"Are You Planning To Breastfeed?"
This question always makes me want to respond, "I'm not sure, how often do you masturbate?" I mean, it's a pretty personal question. If they expect me to talk about my boobs, my medical history, and my emotional desire to breastfeed, surely they won't mind answering a personal question, too. Right?