So, I know most of us are familiar with the idea of not sharing news of your pregnancy until the second trimester. But not everyone does this (which is clearly fine; share your news whenever feels good to do so for you). Regardless, if someone tells you they are pregnant during their first trimester, you're being let in on a very special time. Special...and scary and insane and happy and scared some more. If you are one of the chosen few to whom an early pregnancy is revealed, may I offer first offer you some congratulations, and then immediately after that, can I share some suggestions for what not to say to someone in her first trimester of pregnancy? Lots of scary stuff can happen in those early weeks, so many of us are slightly on edge.
For example, the first people who knew early on that I was pregnant were my husband, my parents, his parents, my brother, and my boss. And actually, my boss finding out was a bit of an accident because I was acting all shifty and trying to casually mention that I had to you know, just swing by and see my doctor for a blood test. Nothing to see here, nothing out-of-the-ordinary going on, nope, nothing at all. Needless to say, she figured it out in like 0.3 seconds. Oh, we also told the car salesmen who were taking us out on test drives because winters here are intense and I’m pregnant and it just got real you guys, we need something super safe. Did you hear me? SAFE.
Anyway, most of the time the responses I heard were very excited and supportive. However, throughout the duration of my pregnancy, I also heard a few things that were not. Allow me to share this list I’ve put together on the topic:
"Are You Scared?"
What? Why are you asking me that? Should I be? I mean, I am, but should I be more scared? How scared am I supposed to be? Am I not scared enough? Ugh, my pregnancy just started and I'm already doing it wrong.
"Oh My Gosh, I'm SO Not Ready For Kids Yet."
I know, me either! Good thing I’ve got seven more months to prepare. Thanks for reminding me what a huge undertaking this is and no ill-prepared my life is to handle it!
"You’ve Heard The Heartbeat, Right?"
Um, no, not yet. But thanks for reminding me. Excuse me, I need to go call my doctor.
"Have You Heard That New Parents Don't Sleep Much? You Should Sleep Now."
Yes. Yes, I have heard that. But thanks for checking.
"Get Ready For A Bunch Of Barfing/Weight Gain/General Discomfort."
It's OK, you guys. Just because someone still has months and months of pregnancy ahead of her, we don't need to take every possible opportunity to remind her that it's uncomfortable. Trust me, she knows.
"Here Is A Statement In Which I Express Judgments About Your Potential Medical Choices."
Perhaps you should know that while I think it’s great that you had an [insert details of their birth that they obviously like sharing], that’s between me and my doctor. Can we still be friends?
"Ugh, Are You Counting Down Until Your Second Trimester?"
I’m counting down until the birth, actually.
"Here Is A Terrifying Story I Know About A Pregnant Woman."
Stop. Right. There.
"And Now, I Am Going To Talk In Detail About Food And Various Exotics Tastes And Smells."
I can’t handle any discussion of food if it’s not really ice-cold lemon water, saltines, or plain bagels. Sorry. I know that’s a teensy bit limiting, but I can't risk what might happen if you say anything about garlic.
"So Were You Trying To Get Pregnant?"
During my own pregnancy, I was in a demographic (married for a few years already) that made people feel comfortable asking this. Still, I always felt kinda squidgy answering.
"Here's What I Think About Your Boobs/Stomach/General Appearance."
What is it about pregnancy that opens to floodgates of commentary on physical appearance? Unless it's a general "you look great!" or "you're glowing!" I would argue that it just doesn't need to be said.
"Let’s Have A Major Discussion About Women’s Workplace Rights, Maternity Leave, And What Kind Of Life-Altering Choices You’ll Be Making, In Addition To Growing A Human Inside You."
No pressure. While everyone's career/financial situation is different, the one thing that all pregnant women have in common is the fact that we're all thinking about how those early weeks and months will play out in our household. Some of us are thinking beyond that to work and career, and some of us simply aren't ready to go there yet.
"Do You Want To Go On An Amazing, All-Inclusive Vacation With Me in Six Months?"
That's not even funny, you guys.