And no, I'm not referring to the pregnant women. I'm referring to everyone else.
Pregnancy is the one time in a woman's life- in most cases- where people find it completely socially acceptable to comment on her appearance, weight, stature, or other bodily functions. Many people also feel it appropriate to touch pregnant women without asking first, even if they are a stranger to that woman.
I mean, really. When would you ever walk up to a middle aged gentleman at the grocery store buying boxed cereal with his wife and rub his belly, telling him how he is "ready to pop any day now!"
You just wouldn't.
But for some reason, people find things like this to be completely acceptable to say or do to a pregnant woman.
Let me preface this by saying, I am very obviously 100% thankful that I am carrying this child. It IS a spectacular, amazing, miraculous process, and I am gosh-darned lucky to be in this situation, I really am. However, that doesn't mean I lose all value of personal space because I am flowing in the beautiful pregnant goddess river, willing to let everyone rub my tummy like I'm a Buddha.
Most pregnant women, whether they love pregnancy or not, are dealing with many personal/bodily issues while pregnant.
I LOVE being pregnant.
But that doesn't mean I'm not walking around in my chest-high compression stockings with sausages for feet and needing to run to the bathroom every five minutes to relieve my bladder. When I'm uncomfortable, I want people to touch me even less than I do normally.
Thankfully, I've only been touched this pregnancy a handful (no pun intended) of times. But goodness- some of the comments I've heard! I figured that many of my readers (since a huge number of you are currently pregnant or have been pregnant recently!) could commiserate, so I'll share them here.
- Are you having twins? (I respond with a polite but short no) Are you sure?
- Shouldn't you be having your baby in the hospital today and not working at the hospital today? (Said to me weekly by a patient, starting around 32 weeks pregnant.)
- You don't even look all that pregnant! (Great. Soooo, I just look fat?)
- Wait, you're still breastfeeding your son? What? I didn't know that was possible! (Yep, because as soon as I became pregnant again, my boobs closed down shop. They recognize that I should only be providing one child with nutrients/hydration/nutrition, you know.)
- You shouldn't be carrying your son. That's not right to do while pregnant- you could cause strain to your body. (Okay. I give on this one. How about you come live with me and do all diaper changes, baths, lifting my son in and out of his high chair for each meal and snack every day, etc. If I can't lift him, someone will have to!)
- You know, in my day, women didn't wear such body-hugging clothing. We were respectably dressed in maternity gowns that we made ourselves at home. It didn't accent our stomachs. You should consider making your own maternity gown so your clothing wouldn't fit so snugly. (This was while at work, where I was wearing scrub pants and a long-sleeved black fitted t-shirt, after my scrub tops would no longer fit. Super inappropriate, I am. I'll get right on making my own "gowns" to wear to work. Yep, I'd fit right in there.)
- You're due when? (I give my due date) Really? (This one always gets me, because you never know if they think you're huge or teeny at that point. Also, at some point in a pregnancy, when someone asks 'Really?', I'm going to say no and give them a different due date, lol.)
- That's going to be one big baby, for sure!
- Still pregnant, eh? (Yes, because I'd be here sporting my belly, working my happy heart away with a newborn at home...)
- How much weight have you gained? (Um, no. We're not going there.)
Basically, if you have read ANY article/blog/opinion column on appropriate discussions with pregnant women, you'll hear the same thing. That there is only ONE appropriate thing to say to a pregnant woman:
You look beautiful/great/amazing!
That's it. Unless you are a really close friend/family member- and by that I mean said pregnant friend or family member will confide in you about personal stories like bowel habits or deodorant routines- it probably isn't appropriate to say anything further unless your pregnant friend offers more information to you.
And, holy goodness, please don't rub their belly.
What are some comments you heard during your pregnancy that took you off guard?