For me, and for every single one of my three pregnancies, the first trimester was as horrible as the stereotypes tell you it is. I was exhausted, hormonal, had relentless nausea and vomiting, and seemed to gain weight the moment I peed on a pregnancy test. To make matters worse, I was scared to tell people I was pregnant, afraid of losing both my pregnancy and my job. And, unfortunately, I learned just how cruel people are to pregnant women in their first trimester, too. I mean, people are really damn mean, you guys.
Dealing with often debilitating and uncomfortable pregnancy side effects is difficult all on its own. So the last thing any newly-pregnant person needs is to constantly hear people's rude, inappropriate, creepy, intrusive, sexist, and upsetting questions and comments about you, your pregnancy, your body, your job, and your choices. But, when people find out you're pregnant they seem to automatically feel untethered to the rules set forth by common social decency. They also tend to shame the hell out of you if you dare to have a cup of needed coffee to get through the day, have to take time off from work to manage early pregnancy symptoms, or indulge in a pregnancy craving, even if it’s the only thing you can keep down.
I’m pretty sure the people mean well. I mean, I want to believe that people aren’t intentionally cruel to pregnant women when they are literally growing babies inside their bodies. I'm hopeful that people have the best intentions are well aware that pregnancy can make you uncomfortable, emotional, and constantly nauseous. Either way, it will do loads of pregnant people a helluva lot of good if people would make sure to remember that the first trimester pregnancy is hard enough without strangers doing the following:
Ask Her If She's Pregnant
You shouldn't ask a woman if she's pregnant unless you are her doctor and need to know this information to protect her from harm. I don't care if you think someone has gained weight or has other symptoms of pregnancy. It's none of your business, and it's gross for you to ask something so personal.
Threaten Her Job
It's hard to believe that, in 2018, people still lose their jobs or face other pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. I know firsthand how horrible it is to tell your employer that you are pregnant and find out that you might not be able to provide for that kid when they are born. It's not only a cruel thing to do, it's often illegal.
Like many expecting moms, I was terrified of miscarriage during my pregnancy. Every cramp or spot of blood on my underwear made me think the worst. Bringing up miscarriage or pregnancy loss with an expecting mom is cruel. Don't do it.
See also: assuming that she's continuing her pregnancy.
Comment About Her Weight Gain
Commenting about a woman's weight gain is never appropriate. It's just not. Don't believe me? OK, well ask yourself: would you ever ask a man if they've gained weight, or how much weight they've gained? You probably wouldn't. So if you don't feel comfortable asking a man, don't ask a woman.
Tell Her It's "Just" Morning Sickness
Morning sickness was terrible, debilitating, and made me question whether or not I wanted to continue my pregnancy. Yes, it was that bad. No, there was no "just" about it. It was horrible. Period. But my morning sickness, unfortunately, didn't stop people from making jokes about it or minimizing my experience.
Get Upset With Her If She Cancels Plans
I was so exhausted during my first trimester that I could barely make it through a work day without wanting to nap under my desk. I didn't have it in me to go out or really to even stay awake past 8:00 p.m on any given day. I got so tired of people started getting upset with me, all because I could no longer keep up with my childless friends.
Comment About Her Body
Yes, my pregnancy boobs were glorious. Yes, I had gained weight. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I was showing already. All of these things were true. That doesn't mean it was OK for people to comment about my body, though.
Call Her Lazy
My first trimester of pregnancy was an exhausting blur of hormones, nausea, and stress. I literally started calling my daughter "vampire," because it felt like she was sucking the life out of me. So, yeah, calling me lazy when I was pregnant and exhausted was cruel.
Criticize Her Choices
It's none of your business what a pregnant person chooses to eat, drink, or do during her pregnancy. So giving them unsolicited advice or criticism? Not OK.
Compare Her Pregnancy To Yours
Every pregnancy and every body is different. It's not nice to compare your experience with other's, especially not when that person is pregnant, scared, or uncomfortable.
Make Jokes About Her Pregnancy
I'm so tired of hearing jokes about pregnant people. I heard jokes about getting pregnant quickly, whether or not my pregnancy was planned, whether my husband was the father, how much weight I would gain, and the inevitable ruining of my once child-free vagina. They were sexist, inappropriate, mean, and often just plain cruel.
Grow up, people.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.