Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"You're HUGE" & Other Dumb Things Not to Say or Do to a Pregnant Woman

 (Photo: Flickr)

God bless 'em, the jerks who have thought it all in good fun to poke at my ever expanding belly, the same ones who question every bit of food and drink I consume. Even the one who commented on my larger bust line (and this came from a guy... a guy who is NOT my husband). God bless these folks, because I don't want to.

But, I will. I will bless them with some sage advice on how not to address or behave towards an expectant mom, speaking as a sage expectant mom.

  • "You're HUGE!", "You are getting so big!" "Wow, your stomach has really popped out" or any other variant of the bulging belly bump kind. I believe most people are genuinely just amazed at the gestation process when they let exclamations like this slip. The thing is, not too many women, even if they are awaiting a bundle of joy, enjoy being repeatedly told how much weight they've gained. Think about it. We ladies try all kinds of fad diets, hit the treadmill, and wear clothing to try to disguise so much as a two pound gain. Suddenly, we've gained, let's say, twenty, and no amount of scarves or drapey tunics can hide that. We now have to face up to the fact... we're fat. And that's hard. So give us a break. If you MUST make a comment, try referring to the growing baby instead of the growing belly.

  • "That better not be coffee!", "You know there is caffeine in tea" or "That juice is too full of sugar for you and baby!" These comments come from genuine concern, but being a drink monitor to a grown woman is demeaning. I've been cautioned against the evils of coffee, only to inform the person the hot creamy brown liquid I was sipping was cocoa. Most women have heard such warnings already, so if they choose to drink, they most likely are doing so knowing the risk. Now, if you see a momma to be gulping down Captain Morgan's, THAT would be a time to speak up. Similarly, that brings me to my next point. Do not say

  • "You're not eating that are you?", "That snack is full of sodium!", or "More pickles?" Do not cause us preggos to develop eating disorders by constantly commenting on the foods we choose to indulge in. Yes, we should be eating lots and lots and lots of fruits and veggies and getting our calcium through glasses of skim milk. But sometimes we just to eat lots and lots of oreos and get some calcium through a big bowl of Hagen Daaz. Now, I know you're probably thinking, "That's no good for you!" Too much of it, no, definitely not. But an occasional splurge is not the end of the world. But let's say your pregnant friend or sister has diabetes or is overweight... okay, you can speak up, but again, not in a condescending tone or manner. Gently encourage her to choose some lowfat , sugar-free yogurt, and then go a step further and eat it with her. If you really want to support her, you best not condemn while your chowing down on the Carvel.

  • "Your back must be hurting!" or "I know you're feeling exhausted." Don't assume to know how another person is feeling. You might have been miserable (or fantastic!) throughout your pregnancy, but that doesn't mean your co-worker is. Everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different. If you'd like to know how she's feeling, just ask. And for anyone wondering, I'm doing pretty darn well. For reasons unbeknown to my doctors (or me), I'm actually feeling better most days now than before I was pregnant, even on the medication. My doctors have hypothesized it might be the extra vitamins or the flow of hormones (my money is on this). For whatever reason, I'm thankful that my sinuses aren't inflamed, my back isn't aching and while I do feel the extra weight slowing me a bit, I'm not feeling extra pain because of it. Thank God!

  • "You are having a boy since you are carrying out!" or "That has to be a little girl as round as you are!" For us few ladies who opt not to learn our child's sex until birth, there is a constant barrage of declarations as to our babies' sex. I've mainly received, "It's a boy" comments, with a sprinkling of girl pronouncements. While I might be good natured fun to want to guess, these comments usually are tied to opinions on a woman's bulging bump... so more weight and appearance talk. I also find some of it offensive. "Girls take away all their mothers beauty." Think about that... so not only are you passing on a sexist belief, but you're also saying a woman is now... ugly. Augh. 

  • "Your naming him what???" Okay, so your cousin has just told you she is christening Junior with a name so instantly detestable that you know this poor kid has years of bullying ahead at school. And that's just from the teachers. What do you do? Try asking why she's chosen the name. Maybe it has a very special meaning or is her father-in-law's name. Try to find out details before you just come right out and say her son will hate her for life and wind up in counseling for having to go through childhood be referred to by that moniker. Even if you still object, remember that if she hasn't asked your opinion, no need to give one. And that many people happily go by their middle names.

  • Proceeding to rub her belly without so much as asking. Or even asking if this isn't a close friend or family member. Don't do this. As I tweeted yesterday, I am not a Buddha. I do not want you to rub my belly. If you do, you are guaranteed to have bad luck. And as my buddy Shaun pointed out, normally, a stranger touching a woman is usually grounds for a call to the police. This is not acceptable behavior. If she offers, rub away. If not, don't be a creeper. 
 My most recent picture, taken by my boss at work. I've got a big belly and big hair!

Got any more tips? Comment away!


Maria Criss said...

Holy cow!.... also not a thing to say to pregnant woman.... but yes to what I was thinking to ur whole post! I think its hilarious because I couldn't have said it better myself. By the way u look beautiful in the pic... I haven't posted any of myself for the same reasons of feeling different about my growing body.
This is not to say that I'm not glad to know Fernando is in there growing, its just ...holy cow! Each time I see myself on the mirror I can't believe it's my own body.
People do ask a lot at work, I don't mind I really don't but u know me Alisha I'm not one to talk... I'm very private about my things...again this is not to say that I don't want to shout from the roof tops how happy I am...but I know who to talk to and when....and in the same token when to just say politely..."he's doing ok, just growing"
So I've been told I'm not happy bout my pregnancy....hmmmmm... how would u know???? Anywho!! Fernando is growing and so is my belly...n my face n by 5 my feet... but I can't complain just like u I have not one ounce of complaints... we must be somehow connected cuz, I have felt no pain or morning sickness or any other weird stuff that people tell me I should... so waht if once in a while I feel like eating something out of the ordinary (even though hasn't been my case at all) its nobodys business but my own!
Now my dear Alisha how bout posting bout how our husbands are changing right alongside us...c'mon girl I know ur hubbie must be going through what danny do ur fingers do the talking...n hey let's get together sometime... I promise I won't want to rub ur belly.... ;-)

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hi Maria!

As I wrote this I thought, "That's it, I've got to get K to write a matching one!" People have been saying some pretty bone headed things to him, too, and I'd love for him to share his perspective.

"So I've been told I'm not happy bout my pregnancy....hmmmmm... how would u know????" Yes, yes, yes! People have (wrongly) assumed this about me, too, and it's unfair. I'm overjoyed about Z- my weight gain, uh, er, not so much, lol. I also have never been a Chatty Cathy about my private life (really... I'm sure this blog might confuse people). At work, most people didn't even know I had gotten engaged until *after* I was married! Some things are so special- sacred, really- that I don't feel comfortable blabbing about them. As I told K, it's like an emotional equivalent of having my belly physically touched. A person's intention might be good, but unless I am very close to you, it will feel like an invasion of privacy to me.

I don't love that picture, by the way, but some of my FB "friends" still angry over my Lenten fast from it, have taken to texting me, begging for a belly pic. So that should assuage them (hopefully).

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