Monday, March 26, 2012
Am I crazy? (don't answer that!)
I do some days wonder what the heck we're doing. We finally are without diapers and sippy cups and life is getting a lot easier, but when I think of getting old, we decided it would be worth the few years of sacrificing my body and freedom to have 3 kids and their families come home for holidays. And let's face it. There's nothing quite as beautiful as baby giggles.
Last week, a complete stranger pointed out to me that I was pregnant. Yes, with my 3rd, I'm definately showing more than the first time at this same point, but I wasn't showing much more than she was...and she was not pregnant. If I hadn't been with my children, I might have denied it or asked when she was due, but I put on my friendly face and sucked it up. She's lucky, because I don't typically let people get away with stupidity...like the time I was grocery shopping and some ditsy blond teenager told me I was the cutest pregnant woman ever. I glared at her and told her I wasn't, but thank you very much for ruining my day. She'll never make that mistake again...I hope (teens don't seem to be learning much of anything these days).
As I get older and wiser, I've learned what questions and comments to avoid while talking with pregnant women, and I've compiled my top ten offensive things to say to a pregnant woman. I do realize that some of these questions may not be completely off the table for close friends and family and you may feel comfortable enough to ask them, but be careful. Even family can be offensive to an expectant mom.
Q: Are you having twins?
A: No, when are you due?
This tops the list of rude questions. No woman wants to be told she looks gigantic. She already feels it. Tell her she's beautiful or say nothing at all.
Q: Are you hoping for a boy/girl this time? Will you be disappointed if it's not?
A: Are you hoping for a better behaved and less ugly child this time? I'm sure you'll be disappointed too.
Admittedly, I've been guilty of having an opinion about what I thought the mother wanted in the past (though I hope I was a little less directly rude). I've never met a mother who has been disappointed with the birth of her child, even if she has 8 boys or 6 girls. And when the mom announces that she's having her 4th boy, don't react with disappointment and sympathy. Celebrate with her! Even if she's secretly disappointed, your enthusiasm might help her realize that this is something to be excited about. I'm finding myself very annoyed with people when they tell me what they want me to have. It's one thing to "call it" and say you think they're having one or the other, but don't assume that's what they want.
Q: How much weight have you gained?
A: 3 lbs. How much have YOU gained? Is that still from Christmas?
Seriously? The questions people think they can ask a pregant woman are ridiculous. You'd never dream of asking this of someone who had put on a few extra pounds at Christmas. (Unless you're in Turkey...according to my friend who lives over there, they comment on each other's weight all the time)
Q: Are you having a "natural" childbirth?
A: No, I'm hoping for one of those "Men in Black" alien births where the baby reaches its hand out of my belly button and emerges looking like a slimy gray 3-eyed monster.
Aren't all birth's natural? This is not a real question. Instead the asker is telling you her opinion of what's best for you. This is one of those "holier than thou" questions. "Are you going to give birth the way GOD intended you to do it, the RIGHT way and endure the pain GOD wants you to endure? A mother who gives birth GOD's way obviously loves her child more because she's sacrificed herself and her comfort for her child."
Q. You're huge! I can't believe you have 2 months left. (or "When are you going to have that baby already?" is something a good friend of mine was just asked.)
A. Your face is ugly. I can't believe you have to look like that for the rest of your life.
Another variation of the twins question. Tell me I've never looked better, even if you're lying.
Q: Were you TRYING or was this an oops?
A: Are you trying to be rude or was that an oops?
Usually, if the pregnancy is unexpected, the information will be obvious or else offered by the expectant mom, so there's no need to ask. I can understand asking a good friend this question, but be careful, it may not be something she wants to share.
Q. You're going to breastfeed, right?
A. What do you plan to do with YOUR boobs during the next year?
This is such an intensely personal decision that causes great stress on many mothers. The fact is that some mothers simply cannot for a host of various reasons. Most mothers feel great guilt about their decision to not breastfeed or the inability to do it, so having someone give them more "holier than thou" crap by asking about how they intend to provide nutrition to their child just makes them angry. So keep your snit to yourself. This is something the pediatrician may ask and they usually do it nicer than you can.
Q. Should you be eating that?
A. Shouldn't you be drinking less?
Let's make a deal. You keep your dietary comments to yourself and I won't accuse you of being an alcoholic.
Q. You look tired! (or any variation of this: You look sick/green/uncomfortable)
A. Thank you.
No one likes to hear that they look terrible. I've already had someone tell me I looked sick. I didn't feel sick at the time. That was nice.
Q. Who's the father?
A. Your husband.
There is really no other appropriate answer to this question than to be snotty back. Though many do not feel the need to ask this question, because they know the mother is in a committed relationship, many of us know someone who you would want to question. In almost all cases, if you don't know or if the mother doesn't offer the information, it's not your business. However, if it's your teenage daughter, you have all the permission in the world to ask her.
And, as an added extra warning, if you attempt to touch my belly, I'll just touch your boobs...or if you're a guy, worse! Unless you're my friend and I offer to let you feel my baby kick, don't touch me. I don't like being touched, especially when I'm pregnant.
Have a nice day and raise an alcohol-free glass to rude-comment-free pregnancies!