I've made it no secret that I don't really enjoy being pregnant. After trying so long to get pregnant the first time, I thought it would be this wonderful and wonderous thing. It is indeed wonderous, but for me it's not so wonderful. I just don't seem to have easy pregnancies nor get the joy out of the whole thing that I thought I would.
One of the things I don't enjoy is how people seem to forget common manners around pregnant women. It can feel like you are public property and nothing is sacred anymore. In reality, pregnant women tend to be on emotional roller coasters thanks to crazy hormones, and anything can set a pregnant woman off into a crying jag or angry rage. So people should actually be MORE careful in what they do and say around pregnant women.
So as a PSA, I'm going to share a few things that are inappropriate to do or say to a pregnant woman!
Don't Touch the Belly
I understand that there is some magnetic-like force that pulls people's hands to a pregnant belly. I have felt the pull myself, so I know it's there. BUT, it is NOT okay to simply reach out and touch a mama-to-be's baby bump. Is it okay to touch a woman's stomach normally? Heck no! So why do people think it's okay to do so to a pregnant woman? It's still her stomach.
Yes, yes. I know. There is life growing in there, and it's fascinating. We all want to feel that belly and know there is a baby in there. And some women honestly don't mind. But others, don't want to be touched at all. And still others, like me, are okay if you are family or a close friend.
No matter which kind of woman the belly is attached to, you should always ask first. Always. Especially if you are a stranger or coworker of the woman. DO NOT just reach out and touch a stranger's belly. That is inappropriate. I even prefer if my family and friends ask first. I will always tell them yes, but to suddenly have someone (besides my husband) with their hand on my stomach is surprising and uncomfortable. Do not be like the random waitress I had in Florida a few weeks ago who just reached out her hands and put them on my belly (luckily, I had my hands already on my belly and didn't move them, so she just put her hands on my hands on my belly, which was still uncomfortable for me).
Don't Comment on Weight
What woman likes to hear about how big they've gotten? Okay, I'll admit that I find it funny that I get all big and pregnant, so this one doesn't really bothering me. I especially like to hear that I'm "showing," but you should be careful with how you phrase things even with me. Let me share a little story that happened the other day...
I have a coworker who's first language isn't English. He knows I'm pregnant, and we've talked about it before. But I'm really showing now and wearing shirts that make it obvious. He looked at me the other day and said, "You look... [he searched for a word}... heavy." I said, "Oh [coworker's name], you didn't mean to say heavy. You meant to say that I look really pregnant or am really showing. Not heavy."
Luckily, I'm understanding and knew he didn't mean it offensively. But when people say to a pregnant woman things like, "Are you sure it's not twins?" How do you think that makes a woman feel? Not good, that's how.
Don't Comment on the Breasts
Yes, they get bigger. You know why? Because their main function is to provide milk for the coming baby. Are they sexier bigger? Probably. Should you comment on them? Only if you are on close enough terms and know the person well enough to know that they won't mind talking/joking about them.
I've got big breast normally (and they get even bigger in pregnancy) and am pretty comfortable with them in general (can't you tell?). But you know where I don't talk about them ever? Work. Yet last time I was pregnant, a female coworker looked at my breast and said, "Wow. Do you get to keep those?" Um, what? I wouldn't mind my sister or close friends joking about them, but that's inappropriate at work under normal circumstances, and ALSO when a person is pregnant! I said something like, "Well, I've normally got plenty, but who knows?"
Don't Ask If It Was Planned/a Surprise
I spent about 3 years trying to get pregnant with the Pumpkin. It was more than planned--it was stratigized and documented and prayed for and assisted by specialists. And that is not anyone else's business unless I want to share it. This time, the pregnancy happened with only one fertility cycle (thankfully!), but we had no idea how long it would take us this time, so we started right away. Does everyone need to know that? No.
And why do people care if it's planned or a surprise? My sister thinks it's because they really want to know if you are happy about it, but they can't ask that. I say even if it's a surprise and they are upset and even terrified, people around them should be happy and assume they are happy. Let's set the right mood, people. I truly believe that children are a blessing, whether or not they are planned.
This is another one that doesn't truly bother me, because I can brush it off. But I know other people who offended by this. And I can understand why. So it's just nice manners to not ask this line of questions.
Hmmmm. I know I had more, but that's all I can think of for now. If anyone else has any they want to put out there, feel free to let us know! And remember your manners around pregnant women!