Some men seem to think they know everything, including what it's like to be a woman. In fact, they're so knowledgeable they'll tell you all about their vast intelligence every chance they get. It's so common for men to be treated as authorities on everything that they honestly don't realize they're mansplaining something, let alone how offensive it is. In my opinion, the worst offenders are the men who have tried to mansplain my own pregnancy to me. Oh yeah. Seriously. It's a thing, and it happens more than I would care to admit.
Of all the things that should never be mansplained to a woman, pregnancy takes the damn cake. The idea that someone who has never experienced pregnancy has all of the answers is ridiculous. So, gentlemen of the world, please know that you can't possibly understand how I feel, and your opinions are not only unwelcome, they are completely and utterly irrelevant.
What things have men tried to mansplain to me, you ask? Well, actually, pretty much everything. I've had men try to tell me how to stay healthy and what I should and should not be doing with my body when I'm pregnant. By the way, did you know you should eat healthy and get lots of exercise when you're growing another human being inside your body? Oh, but not too much, because it makes the men around you worry about you and your precious cargo. I've also had men question whether or not I am as a far along in my pregnancy as I claim, because I am "so huge," as if all pregnant bodies look the same. I've even had men try to explain how labor will go, based on how things went for their sister, cousin, wife, or some character in a book they read.
Enough. Men of the world, even those of you with the best of intentions, please stop telling pregnant women what pregnancy is like. You just don't know, and that's OK. You don't need to know to be supportive or helpful. Trust me.
Telling Me, "It's Not That Bad"
Seriously. Don't ever say this to a pregnant person. How do you know how bad it is? Oh, because women having been giving birth for thousands of years? Well, actually, lots of women used to die from pregnancy complications and in childbirth, so it can be "that bad."
Calling It, "Just Morning Sickness"
I get it, movies show a pregnant person puking once or twice and then move on to their inaccurate portrayals of everything else about pregnancy. But morning sickness, and its more severe sister hyperemesis gravidarum, are no joke. I literally threw up every day for months when I was pregnant. I had to be hospitalized and receive IV medications and fluids. I got carsick nearly every time I road in the car, which always ended i me puking and wetting my pants. It's not "just" anything.
Telling Me C-Sections Are Horrible
When I was hospitalized following an accident during my last pregnancy, my OB-GYN thought I might have to have a c-section to have my son safely. The on-call male OB said, "You should really try to avoid a c-section, because it may impact your ability to have future babies vaginally." When I explained that this was my last pregnancy, and I was getting a tubal ligation afterwards, he literally asked me if my husband was "OK" with me making a permanent choice like that. Seriously?
Oh goodie, a two-for-one reproductive health mansplaining deal that covers both childbirth and sterilization. Lucky me.
Questioning Whether Or Not I Should Be Drinking Coffee
No, male barista at Starbucks, I wasn't aware that drinking coffee was dangerous for pregnant people. Thanks for sharing. You know what else is dangerous? Withholding caffeine from a pregnant person.
Telling Me My Contractions Aren't Painful
One of my co-workers (a dad, himself) thought it was super appropriate to tell me how my labor would feel. However, it seemed like he used every word other than "pain" to describe contractions. He'd say things like, "Your contractions will be like waves of discomfort, followed by a break in between when you can catch your breath," or "You should feel pressure, not pain." Nope. I don't care what labor should feel like, I felt pain. Pain. Not discomfort or pressure, but pain.
Questioning If I Should Be Eating "So Much"
Please don't tell me what I can and can't eat. Ever, and certainly not when I am growing a freaking human in my body.
Asking Me, "Do You Know How Those Things Are Made?"
Yes, I know I am daring to be in public with four children while pregnant, which apparently offends some people. Yes, I know our family is large. No, your joke about the condom aisle is not funny. If you could kindly shut up about my family planning choices, that would be great.
Telling Me To "Take It Easy"
Pregnant people just can't win, can they? We're supposed to work out and stay healthy, but the sight of my pregnant body at the gym makes everyone, especially men, so uncomfortable. I taught fitness classes until my eight month of pregnancy. Every damn time, a guy would question whether or not I should be teaching "in my condition," or give me outdated advice about keeping my heart rate below a certain level. I am not a delicate flower, I'm a human-growing badass.
Asking Me If I'm Sure About My Due Date
Yes, I know I am huge, but that doesn't mean you should question my due date. Besides, it's really gross to comment about someone's body. Just because I'm pregnant doesn't make it OK.
Questioning My Pregnancy Cravings
I shouldn't have to explain my pregnancy cravings to you. In fact, and TBH, I couldn't if I tried, because I have no idea why I am eating ice cream and salt and vinegar potato chips.
Talking To My Doctor In Front Of Me
My lovely husband was guilty of this mansplaining faux pas, unfortunately. He was worried that it might not be wise for me to continue doing high intensity interval training when Iw as pregnant, and asked my OB-GYN about it at a prenatal appointment. Fortunately for him, he closed his mouth and stopped talking after I shot him a death glare.
Don't worry, he apologized later.