Of all the irritating, frustrating, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things people used to say to me while I was pregnant, the suggestion that I looked like I was "about to pop any day now" made my blood boil like little else. Even now, nearly three years after the fact, I get stabby just thinking about it. Saying a pregnant woman is "about to pop" are fighting words, in my opinion, because despite the carefree tone most people use when they say it, they're actually suggesting something really graphic about her body.
Reality check for people who don't bother thinking before they speak: popping is not generally a good thing, from the perspective of the thing that pops. I'll put it this way: If you're a man, would you want your testicles to pop? Probably not. And ladies, remember that creature bursting out of Sigourney Weaver's body in Alien? That's something "popping" out of a pregnant woman.
FFS, people, think about what you're saying when you talk to anyone, but especially pregnant women. Pregnancy is a blessing for folks who want to become parents, but pregnancy can also be a really nerve-wracking, stressful time, even when people aren't suggesting your body might be on the brink of a violent explosion. Pregnant ladies are just trying to get groceries or ride the train or whatever else in peace. They don't really don't need to deal with whatever asinine stuff random people feel like letting fall out of their mouths. So if you do tell a pregnant woman she's about to "pop," be grateful if you just get some side-eye in response. It could be worse, considering the following:
Because You Know What Happens To Things That Pop, Right?
Balloons pop. Bubbles pop. Explosives pop. And the containers that hold them get completely f*cking destroyed in the process. If you insist on talking to a person about her pregnant body, how about you not compare it to things that get ripped to shreds? That's her reproductive system you're talking about.
Because She’s Probably Super Ready To Be Done With Pregnancy, And You’re Just Reminding Her Of That
By the time their bellies have gotten really big, most pregnant women are totally over being pregnant. Being told they look like they're "about to pop" often just sounds like being reminded that "Oh, hey! You're still really huge and uncomfortable and you haven't given birth yet!" Ugh.
Because It’s Yet Another Stupid Thing People Constantly Say To Pregnant Women…
People make all sorts of inane conversation with pregnant women. Pregnancy is already exhausting, and even more so when you're constantly fending off unsolicited advice, belly grabbers, and people making ridiculous comments like this. To you, the pregnant lady you're "About to pop!"ping might be the only pregnant woman you see that day. To her, you're the eleventy billionth person to say that to her this week. It gets old, fast.
...And Because It’s Not That Hard To Just Say Something Supportive Instead
Why not just tell her she's beautiful, or that you hope she has a happy, healthy birth and baby? Is it really that hard to be nice?
Because Most People Who Say It Have No Idea How Long Pregnancies Actually Last
That, or they have no idea of the various shapes and sizes real pregnant women come in. (Thanks, magazines that constantly talk about celebrity "bump watches" and all that.) No, women are not necessarily all teeny tiny the whole time we make other humans. Leave pregnant ladies alone unless you're bringing snacks. Preferably with your mouth shut.
Because If People Say It To You Really Early In Your Pregnancy, It Makes You Worry About Premature Labor And Birth
If you're many weeks away from giving birth and people are constantly telling you you're "about to pop," it can amplify all the fears many pregnant women are already having about possibly having a premature baby or other problems with their pregnancy. Not a nice thing to do to someone who's just trying to make new people in peace.
Because Pregnant Women Give Birth, They Don’t “Pop” Babies Out
There's a lot of work and recovery involved in giving birth. Saying women are "about to pop" erases the work women do to bring new children into the world, while replacing the image of birth with an image of an explosion. So much eww, so much nope.
I know I'm a writer and I think about words more than most people, but come on. Try and put at least some thought into the words that come out of your mouth, people.
Because Reminding People Of Things That Make Them Uncomfortable Doesn’t Make Them More Comfortable
If a woman has reached the point in pregnancy where she's visibly pregnant, she's probably acquired a few aches and pains in the process. Saying she's "about to pop!" is likely to remind her of all the stuff on her body that feels crappy at the moment. That's not helping anybody. Just stop.
Because Nobody Likes Thinking About The Prospect Of Another Human Popping Out Of Them
In case this hadn't already sunk in yet, the idea of a baby "popping" is a super gross, graphic mental image. Pregnant women are already worried and sensitive pretty much all the time; they don't need more potentially painful things to think about, thanks.
Because Stop Talking About Other People’s Pregnant Bodies Already, Seriously
Being pregnant is not a license to start offering unsolicited commentary on other people's bodies. If you wouldn't go up to a random man and comment on the shape of his belly, don't do it to random pregnant women either.
Because There’s A Whole World Of Things To Talk To Pregnant Ladies About, So Don’t Waste Her Time With That
News flash: pregnant women are still people, with interests and ideas outside of being pregnant. If you're itching to start a conversation with a pregnant woman, why not ask her about current events? Or her hobbies and interests? Or literally anything that doesn't conjure up terrible images from sci-fi movies?
Because No. Just, No.
It’s gross and it’s stupid and it’s awful and just stop, pregnancy pests. Just stop.