I hated being pregnant. I specifically — and surprisingly — hated the second trimester of my pregnancy. Everyone I knew loved their second trimester, except me. As a result, I felt cheated out of those three, supposedly pleasant, months. Worse, I learned that people feel comfortable doing all sorts of things to a pregnant women in her second trimester that they likely wouldn't do to pretty much anyone else at any other time in their lives. They start commenting about her pregnant body, touching her without her permission, and sharing pregnancy dos and don'ts. It all, frankly, made me want to scream.
The thing is, there are so many kind things you can do to and for a pregnant woman in her second trimester. It's so easy to be kind, people! Just ask a pregnant person how they're feeling, rather than assuming they're doing great or enjoying their second trimester. If you are in line behind her at Starbucks, you can pay for her coffee rather than mentioning the dangers of caffeine and pregnancy. Or, perhaps the kindest thing you can do for a pregnant person, don't bring up the pregnancy at all. Let her decide if she wants to talk about it, because after three months of nausea and vomiting and intense exhaustion, she might not.
When I think about it, I may have had a better time during my second trimester if people had been a little bit kinder. So, I made a list of kind things you can do for a woman in her second trimester, to make her life — and her pregnancy — a little bit more pleasant. You're welcome.
Let Her Be The One To Bring Up Her Pregnancy
I remember reading somewhere that the only time you should actually comment about a person's pregnancy is if they are giving birth in front of you, and even then, you probably shouldn't bring it up before they do. It seems like pretty wise advice. When I started to show in the second trimester, it was fun at first, but quickly led to people only wanting to talk about my pregnancy. I'm a complex, multifaceted, interested human being, people! I can talk about way more than whatever is going on inside my body.
Buy Her Lunch
If a pregnant person you know had morning sickness, and they're finally starting to feel better now that they're in their second trimester, you can always buy them food. Try some fries, a milk shake, or whatever they happen to crave now that they can eat without throwing up. You'll be the real MVP.
Keep Things Gender Neutral
I hate gender reveals. Hate them. I think it's weird to be focused on a fetus's genitals, especially when we all know that gender is a social construct. Other people love gender reveals, and look forward to telling the world the results of their screening ultrasound (and hey, more power to them!) but I'm not one of those people.
My point is this: when you see a pregnant person, you don't know how they feel about their baby's gender or sex. In other words, you probably shouldn't ask about it. Just a thought.
Ask Her How She’s Feeling
I still felt like crap during my second trimester, but no one seemed to care. If they did care, they certainly didn't think to ask. If I brought it up, I almost always ended up minimizing my pain, or allowed the other person change the subject to something baby-related because things felt awkward.
Now that I mention it, it would have been amazing if people had thought to ask me about myself, rather than my still-forming fetus, at least once in a while. After all, I didn't stop being a person when my pregnancy started to show.
Tell Her She’s Doing Great
Once I hit my second trimester, most comments I heard about my pregnancy amounted to unsolicited and unwanted advice about my pregnancy, birth plan, parenting, or what I should or shouldn't do with my own body.
Instead, it would have been nice for someone to give me a high five or tell me I was doing a good job at the whole "growing a human inside my body" thing, at least once in a while.
Remind Her It’s OK To Hate Pregnancy
Even though the second trimester of pregnancy is stereotypically the best of the three, that isn’t always the case. It’s totally OK for moms to be to not like being pregnant, especially if they are sick, in pain, tired, or depressed. Plus, there’s the unescapable fact that they have three to six months left of their pregnancy. It’s natural to not be excited about that prospect. I know it definitely would’ve been nice to hear that I didn’t have to like being pregnant.
And please, for the love of all that is holy, resist the urge to comment about how wonderful you felt during the second trimester, because, I can guarantee the pregnant woman in your life doesn't want to hear it.
Encourage Her To Get A Flu Shot
As much as I hate unsolicited advice, I’m actually glad someone encouraged me to get a flu shot during my last pregnancy. I appreciated knowing I could benefit from some added protection against the flu for me and my baby.
Focus On Her, Not Her Due Date Or The Size Of Her Belly
People thought they were funny when they commented about how huge I was or how I was about to pop. I didn't think these jokes were funny at all, though. I didn’t stop being myself when I got pregnant, but once I hit my second trimester it felt like I was less of a human and more like a ginormous carrying case for a fetus. It would’ve been nice if someone had recognized that I was still in there; that I was still me. I wish people have been able to see past my baby bump and see my pre-pregnancy self. I was having a baby, not a lobotomy.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.