There are a lot of amazing things about being pregnant: Baby kicks; the best hair days of your life; the surreal feeling of growing a human person.
There are also some not-so-amazing things. The top of this list for me is all of the comments.
Nothing invites family, coworkers, friends, even complete strangers, to comment on all aspects of a woman’s lifestyle, body, and family planning decisions – or to voice their unsolicited opinions – quite like pregnancy.
Most of the time this was all well and good. Becoming a parent is an exciting thing! It would be weird not to talk about it.
But there were definitely some comments and questions that ran the gamut from making me uncomfortable to being objectively rude to making me want to punch someone in the face.
Here is my definitive ranking of the things I least liked hearing.
(It’s probably worth noting that I was pregnant for 41 weeks and two days with my son. It would likely have been (much) longer had a team of medical professionals not intervened. After a fairly uneventful pregnancy, I got SUPER uncomfortable in the last month and a half. I also worked my then-desk job past my due date. A lot of the items listed stem from that. If you delivered earlier, you may have dodged some of these comments, but likely got some just as cringe-inducing!)
15 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman:
15. “You’re huge!”
I will admit, I found this hilarious and endearing from friends I hadn’t seen in a while, or from single male coworkers who were genuinely concerned that I was like maybe 11 months pregnant. I will also tell you that I have totally said this to pregnant friends before (or a, “you look so pregnant!”).
I think this one is fine if you’re saying it in a great-job-growing-a-human! way, but if you’re saying it in a wow-you-look-a-lot-fatter-than-the-last-time-I-saw-you way, STOP AND TURN AROUND.
14. “Babies are easier to take care of when they’re in than when they’re out.”
I got this one a few times once I had passed my due date. I know it was meant to be encouraging, which I really did appreciate. But I felt like it minimized the fact that I was SO uncomfortable and couldn’t sleep and a lot of strategic maneuvering was required to get close enough to the sink to brush my teeth. None of late pregnancy was “easy” for me.
13. “Are you planning on breastfeeding?”
I was confused by the interest level in this. Yes, stranger in the grocery store, buy why do you care?
12. “You’re eating for two now!”
One of my favorite things about pregnancy was feeling totally justified indulging in cravings. (Chick-fil-a lemonade and jalapeño chips were my go-to’s.) But this comment gets old really quickly. Like, yeah, I do need to eat more to grow a baby. But you don’t have to say this every time you see me eating something.
11. “Were you trying?”
We got this one (and its closely related cousin “was this planned?”) a lot. And I know people were genuinely curious because of the timing. I guess most people don’t typically plan for a baby right after they finish grad school and while they’re gearing up to take the bar and most likely move. But honestly, I never figured out how to answer. A “yes” is -eep!- way too personal for a small-talk sesh. And how uncomfortable is it when someone answers, “no”? So, avoid this question unless you’re majorly in the inner circle.
10. “Should you be eating/drinking that?”
I think it’s hard to say this in a way that doesn’t make it sound like the pregnant woman doesn’t care about her baby. I was VERY aware of my dietary restrictions while pregnant, and never liked feeling that I needed to justify what I was eating or drinking.
9. *Insert any sort of medical advice*
This comes in lots of shapes and sizes: “you’re probably going to need a c-section,” “you should try unmedicated,” “you NEED to get the epidural.” Steer clear of giving any sort of medical input unless specifically asked, or unless you are a medical doctor at a doctor’s appointment.
8. “You have never looked more beautiful.”
This one has the potential to be nice depending on context and who it’s coming from. I was never a fan of hearing it, personally. I found it patronizing and it seemed like people were laying it on a liiiiiittle too thick when they’d say it. Or I’d think, “if my most beautiful is swollen and waddling and needing to do an 8-point turn to get out of bed, I’m doing something wrong.”
7. “I TOLD YOU it was going to be a *insert gender here*.”
You have a 50/50 chance. So… yeah, you know my child better than I do.
6. “You think you’re tired now? Wait until the baby comes!”
NOPE. Just no. I’ve now been pregnant and lived with a newborn and can say from experience that pregnancy fatigue stands alone among levels of tiredness. Don’t trivialize this for people. There’s the insomnia and waking up in the middle of the night coupled with your body doing a marathon-esque task of housing and growing a person. Given the choice between pregnancy fatigue, and accommodating a newborn’s sleep schedule, I would choose a newborn’s sleep schedule every time. I was way more tired when I was pregnant than as a new mom.
5. “Are you dialated at all?”
HARD PASS on this one. People ask this so casually. Like they’re asking about weekend plans or something. BUT LIKE HOW PERSONAL IS THIS?? I flat out refused to answer this question, unless the person asking was a really close friend or my mom (though she would never ask!).
4. Calling me “mommy.”
This one came up WAY more than I expected it would. I can’t think of a time I’ve been more uncomfortable than when grown men called me “mommy.” I get it. It’s an exciting new title change. But I also didn’t like the feeling of this new role taking over all identities I’ve had in all of my life. It’s also hard to call someone “mommy” without sounding totally creepy. As a general rule, don’t call anyone “mommy” unless – wait for it – they’re actually your mom.
3. “Your feet are so swollen they’re making me uncomfortable.”
This is just a mean thing to say to a poor, swollen pregnant lady.
My internal response to this was, “I know my feet are swollen. I know this because I’m the one who stuffed them like sausages into my shoes this morning. I can guarantee these gambs are making me more uncomfortable than you right now.” I could never think of anything nice to say in response to this, so I would just pretend I didn’t hear it.
Really, no swollen pregnant woman in the history of ever has ever been unaware that her feet are ballooning up. There’s no need to point it out. And definitely never complain to someone about an uncomfortable physical condition that they have zero control over making you uncomfortable. Not nice at all!
2. “You’re still here?”
Oy. I got this one a lot once I passed my due date and was still going about my daily activities. “Yes, I know I’m still here. I would rather not be here. I would like to be in the hospital holding a squishy newborn.” How about a, “I’m happy to see you!” So much better.
1. “No baby yet?”
I started getting this at 36 weeks pregnant. Which seemed… early to me. I didn’t grow to like this question during the subsequent 5 weeks of my pregnancy. It is by far my least-favorite of all the comments listed here because, I mean, the person asking clearly already knows the answer. People would ask me this in person and I would think, “you know there is 100% still a baby living in my insides. I am very, very tired. Please don’t make me expend my limited energy to answer questions like this.” (But instead I smiled and said “not yet!”)
Before experiencing pregnancy, I said more things from this list than I would like to admit, without even realizing they could be rude or obnoxious.
BUT, I also got lots of comments and questions that I loved hearing! I will definitely use these in the future instead of any of the things from the above list.
7 Things You Definitely Should Say to a Pregnant Woman:
- You’re going to be such a great mom!
- How is your pregnancy going so far?
- I’m so excited for you!
- Is there anything I can do for you?
- You have the best pregnancy style.
- Are you doing okay? I’ve noticed you’re kind of quiet.
- I hope you have a very uneventful pregnancy and delivery!
I would love to hear if you have anything to add to these lists!
Comments/questions that you’ve either loved or hated; things you’ve said that was a total foot in the mouth, etc.!