Disclaimer: I'm definitely not advocating you lie or stretch the truth in order to placate the pregnant women in your life. They're big girls, and they can handle themselves either way. I promise. However, and if you are so inclined, there are some specific comments every pregnant woman needs to hear.
OK, maybe "need" is too strong a word. At the very least, however, there are compliments pregnant women really, really want to hear because, speaking from experience, all pregnant women should hear things that make them feel good during this crazy, intense, and often difficult time. In fact, I might consider reaching out to the people who write pregnancy books and suggesting they add specific chapters addressing this very issue. Not sure about you guys, but the books I read certainly did not emphasize kind words nearly enough.
For the record, my friends and loved ones were wildly supportive when I was pregnant with my son, but they’re simply not mind-readers. Even for the most loving, kind, and awesome people, the needs of a pregnant woman can be very specific and unpredictable (no, you're a moody mess whose food cravings are all over the place). Although, now that this list exists, perhaps I’ll be a little more straightforward should I find myself in need of pregnancy support again.
"You're Clearly The Most Beautiful And Most Intelligent And Charismatic Pregnant Woman I've Ever Encountered"
Again, I’m not suggesting that you fib. However, if perhaps you’ve been sitting on a ginormous compliment that you’ve been meaning to pay her, now would be a good time to offer it up.
"I Hope Your Baby Is Just Like You"
A quick warning, thought: if you offer this up during even a semi-serious moment during her pregnancy, you will probably make her cry. Proceed with caution.
"You're Going To Be (Or, You Already Are) A Great Mom"
It’s totally normal to question your parenting abilities. (Right? Right, guys? Hello?) Any reassurance you’re inclined to give the mom-to-be in your life will probably (read: definitely) be much appreciated.
"Of Course You Will Have Time For All Your Favorite Things"
To be fair, “having time” is different than “having all the time you want,” but that’s to be expected. If she’s anything like me, the pregnant woman in your life just needs to hear that she can keep her favorite hobbies and passions in her life (to some degree) even after her pregnancy ends and a new human is part of her life.
"I Have No Intention Of Judging Your Parenting Decisions"
You can say this, because you actually have no intention of judging her parenting decisions, right? Right? Trust me, she’ll get enough of it from strangers and people she semi-knows and the internet, she doesn’t need extra (unless you’re the family doctor, in which case your judgment is crucial).
"Your Maternity Clothes Are So Chic And Glamorous"
This one’s key, only because she probably doesn’t feel chic and glamorous. Or, if by chance she does, please send her my way so she can be my life coach. In my experience, it was hard to feel anything but round and frumpy during pregnancy, so compliments about how she’s defying that will go a long way.
"No, Childbirth Isn't That Bad"
She wants to hear this. She needs to hear this. However, if you can’t bring yourself to say it, perhaps offering a heartfelt, “You’ve got this” instead. That will also be helpful.
"Here's A List Of All The Parenting Tricks I Know, Guaranteed To Make Your Life Easier"
Of course, every baby and every family are different, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to at least offer her your best tips. At least a condensed version, if you have the time.
"Here, I Brought You Food"
Unless, of course, we are talking about a pregnant woman in the first trimester, or one who unfortunately has morning sickness beyond it. Otherwise, it’s a pretty safe bet that some sort of baked good is going to be high on her list of needs at any time you might see her.
"Would You Like A Massage?"
Yes, yes she would. Careful with this one, however, as it should be wielded only when you actually have a way to get her a massage, and not when you’re just inclined to sigh and answer, “Yeah, me too.”
"Please, Cut In Front Of Me In This Long Bathroom Line"
You can pretend like you’re saying it only for her benefit but, really, you’ll get plenty of warm fuzzies, too. It’s the pregnant woman equivalent of buying Starbucks for the person behind you at the drive-thru. Plus, her faith in humanity will be restored, at least until she’s done and washing her hands at the sink, realizing she needs to pee again.