Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Inappropriate Things to Do/Say to Pregnant Women

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!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Question of the Week - Snow Day

Yesterday, those of us in the DC area--heck, make that the East Coast, at least--got snowed in. We had one okay snow fall earlier this winter, and a few dustings of snow. But this was a major snow fall with more than a half a foot of snow! Schools everywhere were canceled, people couldn't make it in to work, and the world around us slowed down just a bit to enjoy the snow day.

The question of the week is:

What do you like best about snow days?

When I was little, I of course loved having a random day off from school. I loved big snow falls because there was enough good snow to make snow angels, snowmen, snowballs, and occassionally enough to build a snow fort, all of which were done on what should have been a school day!

As an adult, I generally work from home when it snows, so I don't really get a day off. Although working in my sweatpants in my own home is a nice treat. If I do take off the day, say to watch my child because the nanny couldn't make it over and Londo couldn't miss an all day training class (as happened yesterday), I have to take personal time off from work. That would be the personal time I'm trying to accumulate to extend my maternity leave when the baby boy comes. So the equivalent of getting off from school just does not provide me with the same joy.

But this year--yesterday, in fact--I discovered what I like best about snows days now: Playing with the Pumpkin in the snow! She LOVED the snow! She trudged through all the unshoveled snow, the deeper the better. She went down the slide covered in snow and landed in the snow at the bottom. She wiped snow off of just about everything in our back yard (she apparently loves brushing the snow off stuff). She tried to make a snow angel with me. She made snowballs (though not so well, she got the concept). She played with the beach toys the kids next door were playing with and let her use. And she did NOT want to come in for lunch!

It was really so much fun to watch her and play with her. A truly wonderful experience for me during a rough time of year. Exhausting, yes. But worth it.

When I finally got her to relinquish the neighbor's toy, I scooped her up and brought her inside to warm up, though she did protest greatly. We were both soaked and cold, but she still wanted to go back out. I tempted her out of her clothes and into dry, warm ones with the promise of a "special treat." And when we were changed and ready, I made her a little bit of hot chocolate. She. Loved. It. She didn't put the cup down until it was all gone! I didn't give her much, but it was enough to really enjoy and discover for her first cup. And what's better than a cup of hot chocolate after playing out in the snow? It was a great end to our outside play on our snow day.

What about you? Did you get a snow day this year? Did you get to spend special time with you little one(s)? If you didn't have any snow (you CA people!), what do you think you would enjoy about a snow day?