For some women, pregnancy is the most beautiful time of their lives; a time when they feel so in love and so in touch with their bodies; a time when they're empowered and can feel one with all things feminine and new. For other women, however, pregnancy is painful and exhausting and nauseating and scary and, well, they absolutely hate it. There are questions and comments women who hate being pregnant absolutely dread hearing; questions and comments that women who love being pregnant and consider it to be a wondrous experience, would have no problem fielding.
It should go without saying (or typing) but there's no "right" or "wrong" way to feel about pregnancy. If you loved being pregnant, that is awesome and you should feel supported in shouting your gestational bliss from the tallest mountain. If you hate being pregnant there is absolutely nothing wrong with you and, no, you're not missing some super secret maternal gene and you, also, should feel supported in sharing your distain for all things pregnancy. Honestly, gaining weight and not being able to sleep and feeling constipated and being sidelined at happy hour, just isn't everyone's cup of tea. Woman shouldn't be shamed for hating pregnancy, as there are so many aspects to growing and housing a human being that are, well, anything but pleasant.
If it were up to the women that hated being pregnant, they'd probably prefer to just be left alone with their Netflix and their pajamas while they grow their children in peace. However, every pregnant person that has ever walked this planet knows all too well that a baby bump opens up a whole slew of unsolicited interactions with other humans that insist on knowing every detail of every day of that growing baby.
There's lots of things that you should never say to a pregnant woman, some of them very obvious. However, that list tends to double if you're speaking to a woman who clearly doesn't enjoy pregnancy. Here are just a few examples:
"When Are You Due?"
It isn't that the simple inquiry of a due date if offensive; it's not at all, actually. It's just that with that one question comes about seven other questions, all of which we answer at least 15 times a day. The whole 21 questions game gets a little redundant and exhaustive eventually, especially when you hate being pregnant and your due date feels like a million years away.
"You Are About To Pop!"
First of all, pregnant women don't just "pop" one day. And second, what if we aren't actually about to "pop?" What if we're just carrying weird or high or low or whatever way it is that makes us look extra pregnant? Hearing that you look like you're more pregnant than you actually are isn't endearing, it's annoying.
"Oh, Can I Touch Your Belly?"
"You Must Be So Excited!"
Yes, of course we're excited to meet our babies but we're not necessarily excited about the whole pregnancy aspect of it, or maybe even the labor and delivery part that's sure to follow. Someone telling us that we "must be so excited," actually sort of makes us feel bad for not being in love with pregnancy.
"You're Going To Miss Being Pregnant"
(Insert high pitched voice from SNL guy here) Reallllllly??
"Eating For Two?"
Exactly how many people we are eating for and how big our portion sizes are is up to us and our physicians, not the waiter that brings us out a special desert menu just for us and definitely not people who are eating alongside us or across from us our in our general vicinity.
What if we walked up to every random stranger at the food court and asked if they were eating for two? I really doubt that would go over very well, with anyone. It's just an unnecessary comment that makes us feel more like gluttonous pigs than the cute, little pregnant ladies we are.
Comments About How Much Weight Someone Else Gained During Their Pregnancy
Each and every pregnancy is different. How much weight one particular woman gained throughout her pregnancy has absolutely no bearing on how much another woman should or shouldn't be gaining. I mean, unless you're a physician or midwife, you shouldn't be concerning yourself with the weight pregnant women are gaining.
"Are You Supposed To Be Eating/Drinking That (Insert Forbidden Item Here)?"
Since when did ham become so deadly? And why is it really any of anyone's business what we're eating for lunch? I mean, like, five minutes ago someone was telling us that we either needed to eat healthier or that we needed to eat less or more or whatever it was that someone else thought we were supposed to be doing that we weren't.
Pregnant women are definitely encouraged to stay away from certain things that might harm a baby, but the odds are that they are eating with the best of intentions and doing what they feel is best for them and their baby. Also, pregnant women aren't allotted the luxury happy hour and that ham sandwich might be one of the few guilty pleasures she gets to indulge in, so just leave her alone.
Any Reference To Wine...
It's just not fair.
Stories About How Someone Else "Just Loved Pregnancy So Much"
Never in the history of someone else saying how much they loved pregnancy did it make someone else love it, too.
It also brings back that guilt I was talking about earlier; the one that we feel each and every day of our miserable pregnancies that we're supposed to be loving.
Having Opinions Or Moods Constantly Blamed On "Being Hormonal"
Humans have feelings that are caused by things other than hormones. Yes, hormones are often the culprits in the many highs and lows of pregnancy mood swings, but that doesn't mean that they're to blame for everything. Like, maybe we were perfectly fine and not mad at all at the beginning of the day, but then someone asked us if we were okay or if we were mad 17 times in a row, and now we hate the world.
Someone Saying "Oh He's Pregnant Too"
Yes, our partners are hopefully eventually going to have an equally active role in the life of our children, but they're not f*cking pregnant too. Their feet aren't swelling and their stomachs and bladders aren't being constantly kicked by a tiny little dictator; their bodies aren't being held captive and they don't want to throw up every time they come within a mile of someone eating a pickle. They can ease their anxiety with an alcoholic beverage so, no, they aren't pregnant too.
Any And All Unsolicited Advice
When speaking to a woman that's not enjoying her pregnancy, any and all sentences that begin with, "Well, when I was pregnant I..." or, "If I were you I would..." should absolutely not be uttered in her general direction. This isn't your pregnancy, your body or your life. It's ours and how we choose to deal with our own ailments is completely up to us.
Sure, your aunt Sue might have had a great recipe for morning sickness or a secret sleep position that allowed her to not feel like she was suffocating, but unless we ask about it specifically, we're really not interested in you telling us how we're doing our own pregnancy wrong. Honestly, our pregnancy is hard and uncomfortable enough.