A Pregnant Woman! What Should I Say?
This is my wife and her pregnant belly. She’s 8 months along and looks amazing.
“You look amazing!” That’s something human beings like to hear, especially when they are carrying a baby around inside their bodies. Women are, by nature, emotional human beings. While pregnant, all emotions are amplified and most become self conscious. This is because a woman has to watch as her body, out of her control, changes, stretches, and grows to accommodate new human life.
Many of you are probably thinking “duh, of course.” Of course she’s sensitive. Of course I need to be careful about what I say. Of course positivity is better than negativity. And yet, despite you thinking all that, there are still some who really struggle with what to say to a pregnant woman.
Let’s take a look at a list of things (many said as early as 3 or 4 months pregnant) both strangers and acquaintances have said to Hattie during her current pregnancy:
- “Any day now!?”
- “You’ve gotta have twins in there, right?”
- “You’re huge!”
- “Are you sure you’re not further along than you say you are? I’ve seen a lot of pregnant women and you look huge.”
- “You shouldn’t be hiking.”
- “Our daughter looked just like you when she was pregnant and over due. Have you gone over your date too?”
- “Oh wow, it looks like your belly has dropped.”
- “You carry low, don’t you?”
- “You look like you’re about to pop.”
- “I’m not going to deliver your baby at girl’s camp, so you better be sure you aren’t about to deliver.”
The list goes on. It’s all quite cringe worthy. Hattie has learned to laugh most of the comments off, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still make her feel uncomfortable and self conscious in the moment. Although a lot of these comments make it sound like people are jerks, I actually don’t think that’s their intention. I think two things happen.
1)People speak the first thing that comes to their minds, without first running it through the “Should I say this?” filter. For more examples of unfiltered speech, listen to anything Donald Trump has said over the past 20 years.
2)People want to recognize her, congratulate her, and in attempting to do so, botch it entirely.
So, without any further ado, here’s some advice (from my wife) on what to do when you see a pregnant woman:
- Do nothing. Allison Krauss put it best when she sang, “You say it best, when you say nothing at all.” That should be easy enough ESPECIALLY if you aren’t 100% sure they are pregnant. After Ivy was born, someone asked her when she was due. AFTER. So yeah, don’t do that.
Once you’ve confirmed she’s pregnant, you can:
- Ask the mother-to-be how she’s feeling.
- Ask her when she’s due.
- Tell her she looks amazing!
- Tell her she’s beautiful.
- Tell her she’s glowing.
- Say the words “Congratulations.”
- Be positive.*
All of you reading this know someone who has been, is, or will be pregnant. A friend, sister, mother, coworker, classmate, aunt, cousin, neighbor, etc. They will undoubtedly be on the receiving end of some inappropriate comments during their pregnancy. Do them a favor and share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter. By doing so, you just may spare them a “You’re huge!” comment, and for that, they’ll be very grateful.
*Some women are told, “You are so tiny!” You might think this is you being positive, that there’s nothing wrong with it as a comment since you consider it a compliment. But there is something wrong with it. Some women are nervous that their body isn’t fit for pregnancy. Others worry their baby isn’t healthy enough or growing fast enough. So if you tell them they are “tiny”, it may only serve to amplify their fears and worries. Best rule of thumb: Don’t comment on SIZE at all.