Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What NOT to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Pregnancy...ah.  The joy and the pain.  The pleasure of feeling your little human move around inside of you, coupled with hormones that occasionally make you feel like a beached whale.

The following is a small collection of quotes that I and other expectant moms I know have experienced.  It's important to note that most of them were said by well-intentioned family members, friends and acquaintances.  I have written what was said, what would be better to say, and what the expectant mom should not respond with (albeit tempting at times).

"Wow, you're getting really big!"
Instead, try asking, "How far along are you?"
Expectant mom, refrain from responding with, "Careful, I might eat you next!"

"Are you having twins?!"
Try, "Do you know the gender of your baby?"
The expectant mom snaps, moves her head around and asks, "Does it look like I'm having twins?!" all the while staring down the person who asked.

" this it?!"
Instead of asking this, try, "So what's next for you (and your spouse)?"
The mama bear wants to say, "Nah...we want at least two more!"

"My doctor gave me the option of having another cesarean with my second born, but I've never been one to take the easy way out."
Why not say, "I wasn't comfortable with the idea of another c-section, so I opted for a VBAC instead."
Mama, try not to answer with, "That's funny.  I've never thought of major surgery as taking the easy way out."

"You already have your perfect pair."
Instead of this, say something like, "You have been blessed with a beautiful boy and girl."
The mother with the perfect pair shouldn't say, "Have I met your limit?"

The day after having the baby:

"I thought you already had a baby..." pats stomach and makes an expression with big eyes.
Instead, ask, "How are you feeling?"
The healing mom might feel like asking something along the lines of, "Do you want me to punch you in the face?!"

"I'm so sorry you had a c-section."
Ask instead, "Is there any way I can help or serve you and your family during this time?"
Recovering mama, look the person straight in the eye and ask, "Why are you sorry?"  Or retort with, "I'm certainly not sorry."

"You remind me of Grimace, or Barney, or the Hamburglar!"
Say, "You look cute pregnant!"  Or take advice from Thumper (cue Bambi here) and don't say anything at all.

"Are you going for a dozen or a half dozen?"
Maybe try, "Do you see yourself having a large family one day?"
The defensive mom is wondering, "I don't see how that's any of your business?"

"You only get one good one."
Perhaps say something like, "You are braver than I am."
Don't respond with, "I'm sorry you only have one good one."

"Suzie had to have a c-section, but that's okay because it's her last one."
Try instead, "I know of other women that have had cesareans.  Sometimes it's what's best for the mother and baby."
Try your best to refrain from saying something snarky.

This is a small sampling of the quotes I have heard from others directed at pregnant women.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt as if I was constantly walking around with a sign hanging around my neck that said, "Please give me your unsolicited advice."  With each pregnancy (this is my third), my skin has become thicker and my confidence has grown.

Bottom line: expectant mothers deserve for you to be gracious with your speech.  Quite frankly, if you knew how much self-control and grace we administer when encountering such situations, you would be amazed.

Now tell me, what is the most absurd thing you (or a friend) have heard while pregnant?!

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