In my opinion, pregnancy is one of the most amazing experiences imaginable. I mean, you are literally growing a human being inside your body. Still, it's not easy. As your body grows, changes, and stretches, it hurts. And that's saying nothing of the often uncomfortable encounters with people (strangers and family alike) around you. So as someone who’s been pregnant three times, it pains me to say that there are more than a few cruel things people do to pregnant women, especially late in the pregnancy game. When you are tired, sore, cranky, and ready to be done being pregnant, is when, in my experience, people are at their worst.
I found that especially in your third trimester of pregnancy, people can be really mean. They ask intrusive questions, violate your personal boundaries, and invade your privacy. I’ve been touched by strangers in the check-out lane, asked when and how I was delivering my baby, and had people shame me for being pregnant "at my age." I've also had people speculate about how much weight I've gained and ask me, repeatedly, if I was "sure I wasn't having twins." I mean, why people? Why?
It seems like people are so overly interested in pregnant people’s bodies, plans, and parenting choices, that they simply can’t keep their mouth shut. The third trimester of pregnancy is hard enough, without people saying and doing things to you that are actually pretty cruel, like the following:
Ask If They Are Having Twins
I can guarantee you non-pregnant people that by their third trimester, most pregnant people know whether or not they are having twins. When you ask this question, please know that it's not funny. Instead, it's an unkind reminder you are analyzing the size of a pregnant woman's baby bump. That's gross, people. Stop.
Ask Their Baby's Gender
I hate when people ask me about my baby's gender. For one, babies don't have a gender. For two, why does it matter? Do you plan to treat me or my baby differently depending on the answer?
I don't like people touching me, regardless of whether or not I'm pregnant. So when strangers think they can touch my pregnant belly without my permission, it totally makes me shudder. It's not OK. Learn some boundaries.
Comment About Their Bellies
It feels like people sometimes reduce pregnant people to the size of their baby bumps, or whether they are carrying high or low. It feels so objectifying to me. I am not "all belly," I am a freaking human being. Pregnancy doesn't change that, you guys.
Make Plans Without Asking Them
One of the hardest parts of the third trimester is not being able to make and keep plans. So, when my friend got angry with me for having the audacity to get pregnant and not be able to go to her wedding, it seriously pissed me off. See also: people who wanted me to travel for the holidays when I was on bed rest. Sorry, people. Pregnancy is unpredictable.
Ask Them About Their Birth Plan
It's honestly no one's business if I plan to give birth vaginally or via C-section, if I want to forego pain medication or want all the drugs, or if I am birthing with an OB-GYN or a midwife. It really bothers me that people feel entitled to this information whenever they see a pregnant person. It's personal.
Ask Them How Much Weight They've Gained
Whenever I am trying to figure out if something I am planning to say to a woman is misogynistic, I imagine saying the same thing to a man. Asking a pregnant person how much weight they've gained does not pass this test. At. All.
Say They Look Like They Are About To Pop
Pregnant people don't "pop," they give birth. Plus, speculating about someone's due date, based on the size of their bump, is freaking rude.
Tell Them Scary Stories About Childbirth Complications.
Childbirth is scary and painful, whether you've done it once or five times. Pregnant people do not need people telling them horror stories about you or someone you know who had a 48-hour labor, almost died during childbirth, or lost their baby. It's insensitive and cruel. Trust women and their capacity to be aware of the potential risks and/or complications they may face. As pregnant women, we know. We definitely don't need you to remind us.
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.