Deciding when to announce your pregnancy is a big deal. Many women wait until the 12-week mark, when risk of miscarriage drops. Others don't disclose for fear of discrimination at work, or because they're just plain not ready. As time goes on, though, it can get tricky to hide it. People may notice your belly is growing, or that you're exhausted or forgoing a glass of wine. Plus, you want to share your excitement! Considering how personal it is for each woman, it's shocking when you hear the infuriating questions people will after you announce your pregnancy.
I got pregnant approximately 2.5 seconds after I got married. I didn't intend to tell anyone but my partner, but my sister texted me three days after my positive test to say that she had received a message from my uterus and felt strongly that I was pregnant. Creepy sister ESP. I was determined no one else would find out. I remember visiting a friend and her newborn in the hospital that weekend and her husband saying, "I thought you'd be pregnant by now." A co-worker saw me eating chips and said I'd better keep that up if I wanted to have enough body fat to conceive.
I ended up telling my mom and teaching team members around eight weeks so I could get some damn sympathy for my nausea and fatigue. My husband and I ended up waiting until we were clear of the first trimester to tell the rest of our friends, co-workers, and family. We did the whole social media announcement thing (which, by the way, is not obligatory) with a cute pic of some baby booties in our hands. Cue the congratulations, but also all the questions.
Pregnancy feels like such a personal, private experience but, for some reason, that growing belly makes it very public. I guess people want to share in the phenomenon. Maybe they're curious about what it's like or want to reminisce about having their own children. Whatever it is, it leads people to ask some seriously inappropriate questions.
"Are You Going To Go Back To Work?"
This is an incredibly difficult decision for any mom-to-be. But, seriously, you just found out she's pregnant! Don't rain on her parade. She's going to need time to consider if she'll return to work after maternity leave or not. Maybe you have thoughts about daycare or pumping or workplace discrimination. Save it for if and when she asks you.
I hated this question so much that I was just brutally honest. "No, I'm quitting forever and never coming back." That usually shut down the next question before it got asked, "Are you sure you won't be bored as a stay-at-home mom?"
"Was It Planned?"
Wait. For real? Do you really think I'm going to be like, "Nope. This baby is the direct result of a bottle of rum and a broken condom" or, "Turns out Plan B isn't 100 percent effective!"
Whether this baby was deliberate or not is irrelevant; if a woman has announced her pregnancy, assume that pregnancy is wanted. My mom got pregnant with me four months after she had my sister, but I was never an accident. A surprise, perhaps, but not an accident.
"Are You Going To Find Out What It Is?"
Pretty sure it's a baby in there. I mean, I'd be pretty surprised if a hamster crawled out of my vagina.
The whole gender reveal thing really chaps my ass. The only thing you can figure out from an ultrasound is the sex of the baby. Gender is an inner sense of oneself as male, female, both, or neither. You can't tell that from a sonogram. So, really, these people are asking about your baby's genitals. Hellooooooo, none of your business.
"Are You Planning To Breastfeed?"
So. Freaking. Rude. I understand that people have strong opinions about breastfeeding, and I agree that breast is best. However, I also know that nursing isn't easy or even possible for all women. This question puts unnecessary pressure on an expectant mother when what she needs to be focusing on is self-care.
"Have You Picked A Name?"
Yes! And I can't wait to share it with you so you can tell me how much you hate it. Or worse — steal it. Oh, and I might change my mind. My brother and his girlfriend were planning to name their kid Lilian. They even put her name on a Christmas stocking. My mom was so upset when they changed it that my sister had to remind her that a stocking wasn't a legally binding document.
"Why So Soon?"
Because I'm in my 30s and I'm worried only tumbleweeds are being released from my ovaries, b*tch.
OK, so my daughter was born nine months and a day from my wedding date. I guess people were taken aback that we were so Johnny-on-the-spot, but we'd already been trying since we got engaged. (No, I'm not sad that I didn't have time as just a married couple, thank you very much.) I suppose it's a good thing the timing worked out the way it did so no one asked me if I got married because of the pregnancy.
"How Much Weight Have You Gained?"
I am one of the lucky ones who was born with the metabolism of a gazelle. I've always been rail thin. A co-worker of mine actually said these words to me: "I can't wait until you get pregnant and fat and your tattoo isn't cute anymore." Nice.
People have always assumed that it's acceptable to ask me how much I weigh, and pregnancy just made that worse. How about we just stop talking about each other's bodies, mmmmkay?
"How Long Did You Have To Try?"
Oh. My. God. Pleeeeeeease stop asking me about my sex life, because you know what? I might just tell you all the details of our copulation. It would serve you right.
Honestly, a lot of women struggle with trying to conceive. Whether she got pregnant "the old fashioned way," via a sperm donor, with fertility drugs, or in vitro fertilization, really isn't anyone's concern but hers.