Pregnancy is deeply personal experience. Basically, unless you’ve been pregnant, or are currently pregnant, you can’t quite completely comprehend what it’s like. This isn’t a breeders versus child-free folks thing, either. It’s more like, I really wish that non-pregnant folks knew what pregnancy is like, because I think it would help everyone empathize with one another. See, pregnancy is hard work. It’s tiring and demanding and, barring termination, it’s not really something you can just quit or put aside for a while.
I totally get why some folks choose not to have children and choose not to become parents. Perhaps these people have some insight into the realities of parenthood, or just realize that the additional responsibilities of parenthood wouldn't be conducive to the life they live or want to live. However, parenthood and pregnancy are two separate animals. You can carry a pregnancy and choose not to be a parent, and you can be a parent without ever being pregnant.
So, for the sake of being on the same page, it's important to highlight that this list is about pregnancy, and all the bizarro stuff that happens to us when we’re growing a human life inside our bodies. Why? Because if you’re ever going to be around a pregnant person, you might want to at least try to understand why they’re always leaving conversations mid-sentence or look like they’re falling asleep or wonder what’s up with their incredibly swollen feet. Empathy is important for all, but for now, let’s focus on the preggo folks.
We’ll Either Eat Nothing Or Everything Around You
If you catch a pregnant person in an early trimester, they might never eat a single thing around you. In fact, they might randomly run to puke in a bathroom whenever you’re around. It’s not you, it’s the fetus doing weird things to their gastrointestinal system.
As we become “more pregnant," you’ll notice we end up ordering a lot more food. So, if you want, maybe don’t volunteer to pick up the tab for a person in their third trimester (unless you can afford it, in which case by all means).
We’re Not Going To Get Mad At Or Cry At Everything...
It can be really frustrating to pregnant persons to have people constantly walking on eggshells around them. Yes, our hormones make us feel much more strongly about all sorts of thing. No, that doesn’t mean we’re going to flip out at any moment.
So, you know, just be cool.
...But If We Do Cry, Could You Please Not Be A Jerk About It?
All that said, we may have moments where we cry for no real reason (like, say, after watching a commercial about car insurance but there’s a character that reminds us of our grandmother who we haven’t seen in over a decade and really miss). Or we may have legitimate cause to cry, and rather than hold it back like many of us are trained to do, we’ll simply let the tears flow. We are pregnant, so are you really going to judge?
We’re Sorry We’re So Gassy (Really, Really Sorry)
When you’re pregnant, your body is full of this stuff called progesterone (a hormone), and it slows down your digestion (don’t ask me why, that’s all I know). Anyway, that ends up giving your body extra time to develop more gas, thus, farts and burps galore. We haven’t all of a sudden lost our manners, we just can’t help it.
We Don’t Always Want To Talk About Our Pregnancy And Future Motherhood...
One thing I noticed about hanging out with my non-mom/non-pregnant friends while I was expecting, was that they all seemed to want to chat babies. I really couldn’t tell if they were genuinely interested, or didn’t know what else to discuss, or thought that’s all I cared to chat about.
Honestly, I was mostly dying to just hear about everyone else’s day and adventures. So basically, don’t be afraid to bring up other topics because chances are we’d welcome the change of pace.
...But If We Do Talk About It And You Rather Not, Feel Free To Gently Steer The Convo Elsewhere
Have you noticed this list tends to flip-flop a bit? Yeah, well, pregnant life doesn’t exactly follow a straight line. While it doesn’t have to be the center of every conversation, we might (at times) actually want to bring up our future offspring.
However, it's not all that uncommon to get a little carried away and, once we do, it’s cool to try to move the conversation in a different direction. We promise we (probably) won’t cry (unless a sad commercial about polar bears comes on the radio).
Don’t Ask Us Questions About Our Birth And Parenting Plans That Aren’t Really Pertinent To Your Life (Unless You’re Absolutely Sure You Won’t Judge)
Judgement of mothers begins while the fetus is still in utero. Will we be having a medicated or unmedicated birth? Will we be breastfeeding exclusively? Cloth or disposable diapers? The list goes on.
Unfortunately every answer is often followed with, “Well if it were my baby I’d...” Stop. Right. There. It’s not your baby, so just hush.
We’re Cool With A Little Advice, But Tread Carefully
All that said, it’s OK to offer some light advice, especially if you’ve already been there. For example, when someone tells me they’re having a boy, I usually mention they should put a baby wipe over their penis during diaper changes to avoid getting sprayed in the face. This is good advice whether you’re circumcising your baby or not, right? That’s what I’m talking about.
We Have To Pee A Lot So We Need To Be Near A Bathroom At All Times
We need y’all to understand that our bladders are currently being stomped upon by a little alien invader in a water balloon. It’s pretty awful because you really can’t hold it for more than a few minutes without starting to leak. Do be a dear and let us sit or stand as close to a restroom as possible. Always.
If We Yawn, It’s Not You, It’s The Vampire In Our Bellies Zapping Our Energy
We aren’t trying to be rude by yawning while you discuss your latest spat with Melissa in accounts. We aren’t bored of hearing about your trip to the adult store with your boyfriend. Our bodies are just seriously lacking in energy because this thing growing inside us is kind of a vampiric jerk.
We Probably Won’t Want To Go Anyplace Where We Have To Walk Or Stand For A Long Time
Thank you so much for the invite to do that one thing at that one place with you in August, even though I’m due in September. You have to understand, though, that by then I will feel about 1,000 pounds and I'll be exhausted just from walking to the car.
We hope you understand, cause we’re way more bummed about missing it than you’ll ever know.
We’re Going To Flake Out On You On Occasion (But We Swear It’s Not Personal)
When you’re pregnant, it’s not hard to flake on plans. You might be tired. You might have an ultrasound appointment. You might have gotten some unpleasant test results and aren’t feeling up to company. You might be on bed rest. You might be puking. The list goes on.
There Might Be Moments When We Can’t Handle Talking (Because Something’s Up With Our Pregnancy)
As someone who’s been through a high-risk pregnancy, I can tell you that sometimes I just didn’t want to deal with anyone at all. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault, but I was severely stressed and often depressed. I feared for my baby's safety, wondered if he would be born premature and how long he would have to stay in the NICU, and had panic attacks that I'd lose him like I lost his older sister. It made socializing hard. It was even more difficult when I had an emergency cerclage placed.
We Still Need You In Our Lives
At the end of the day (and the end of the pregnancy), we still want our friends and family around us. Even if we’ve become mothers, that doesn’t mean we’re all of a sudden so independent we don’t need anyone else. If anything, we need you even more. We need you to understand we can’t always be there, that we are doing our best to keep it together, that we still want to be there for you as much as possible, and that we love you.