don’t say a word…

April 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm (pieces of me)

“You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.”

– Dave Barry

I’m a pretty easy-going kind of  girl. I don’t generally get irate, I tend to be fairly patient. I try to treat others with respect and kindness. . .

But I’m also pregnant. Very, pregnant. One day until my due-date pregnant. Almost as pregnant as I can possibly be. As such, I can’t help but feel that I have a right to be just a little bit grumpy. . .because I’ve been dealing smilingly with people and their moronic comments for over 9 months now without a cross word. I’ve been a real grin-and-bear-it trooper.  And I’m done. Totally and completely done with being nice through gritted teeth while fending off comments that are stupid, inappropriate, or just plain rude. So here comes a major rant. Consider it belated self-defense. . . or better yet, consider it a public service announcement:

What NOT to say to a pregnant woman if you value your life.

“You haven’t popped yet??!”

No. I have not ‘popped,’ and as a matter of fact, I do not intend to. The word ‘pop,’ to most people, implies a violent explosion of sorts. A bursting. Real horror-show stuff. . . childbirth is painful enough without anything remotely resembling popping, can’t I just give birth the way everyone else does?

“Are you SURE you aren’t having twins?!”
“Wow! You’re HUGE!”

Why is it that people think its okay to make personal comments on the size of a woman ONLY when she’s pregnant? Thanks for the ego-boost, people.  I know I’m big. Believe me, I get it. I’ve been carrying a full-term baby around in my midsection. My clothes don’t fit, I waddle when I walk. . . I’m not happy about it. I wasn’t a supermodel before I got pregnant, and I won’t be one after I deliver. Just be glad you aren’t walking in my shoes. With swollen ankles.

“Make sure you have the baby on X day, *insert random reason here*!”
“DON’T have the baby on X day, *insert random reason here*!”

I’ll put a request in for you, but I can’t make any guarantees, and just so you know, if she decides to come on X day, I have absolutely NO intention of trying to stop her just because you said so!

“Just wait until the baby gets here, you have no idea whats about to hit you!”
“Get your sleep while you can!”

Umm. . . I am the proud owner of a toddler, I have done this before! Additionally, I run a daycare. I am only too aware of what is about to hit me, and believe me – it’ll be easier than my day job! Oh, and just for the record, newborns sleep in longer stretches than my bladder fills now, so things are actually looking up for my night-life.

“You’re going to have a 10 pound baby.”

Yeah. Again. I get it. . . I’m not exactly tiny. But if it makes you feel any better, my midwife has 30 some odd years of experience at labor and delivery, and says that it is very difficult to guess the size of a baby, even with the help of an ultrasound. So what makes you so sure? Do you have a medical degree squirreled away somewhere that I don’t know about?! Her opinion is that this one will be pretty much the same size as the one before her, which is to say NOWHERE NEAR 10 POUNDS! But thanks for your ongoing concern. . .

“Haven’t you figured out what causes that (pregnancy) yet?!”
“You’re pregnant AGAIN?!”

Eating watermelon seeds, right? Oh wait! It was cabbages!! NO! You hafta catch a stork. . .or something. . .Damn. I forgot. You tell me. I obviously don’t know. How are babies made?
These two, and the first in particular, I can’t even wrap my brain around. Rude is an understatement, and I can’t even begin to think about how to answer that question. I also get confused, because it always seems to me as if the implication is that I have, like, 12 kids each 9 months apart. But I only have one, and she’ll be 3 years old in 2 months. Still, regardless of the implication, it’s just flat-out inappropriate and rude.

“When I went into labor . . . *insert horror story here*”

Please! Stop! Tell me the happy parts, the parts about how wonderful it is to finally get to hold your new baby, the part about how happy you were when you saw her face. . . the good bits are what I need to hear. At this point there is no turning back, so I’m begging you – stop trying to scare me! I’m nervous enough about getting this baby out without hearing about how awful labor and delivery can be!

“You’re still here?”

(this is generally a workplace question)
No. I am but a figment of your imagination floating by on wings of gossamer. OF COURSE I’M HERE YOU MORON – did you not just ask me a question?!

T is going to be soooooooo jealous!”
“She’s not going to like sharing her mom!”

She might be jealous. And she might not. But I don’t intend to ignore my number one girl, and you shouldn’t go around assuming that she’s mean-spirited. It isn’t nice, and it makes me sad. T is a super-sweet little girl, and in case you’ve totally forgotten, she’s used to it. We’ve actually had FOUR new babies since her first birthday. Yeah, they go home every evening, and yeah, I know its different, but I still think T deserves some small shred of been-there done-that credit.

“You’re still pregnant?!”

No. I am no longer pregnant. I had the baby months ago, but liked the look so much that I’ve been downing milkshakes and chocolate cake at every meal just to keep the roundness going. Oh! And I even had this special brace made so I can carry around a watermelon under my shirt, to REALLY make it look convincing! Oh? The baby. . . I gave her away. Who wants one of those?!! Anyway, we haven’t even quite made it to my due date yet! Whats your rush?!!

“It’s a boy, I can tell because. . .”
“It’s a girl, I can tell because. . .”

Please stop guessing. I don’t care WHAT your brother’s sister’s wife or your second-cousin Franny said. As a matter of fact, it does not matter if the baby is high or low, or where the extra weight accumulates. It doesn’t matter what the heartbeat was – during ANY of my exams, or if I look radiant as opposed to terrible, or if my abdomen looks like a watermelon or a basketball. If I crave sour or sweet or salty (or all of the above), what color my pee is, what a needle or wedding ring does when suspended from a piece of hair either over my belly or my hand, I don’t care and it doesn’t matter! You will always have a 50% chance of guessing the gender correctly or not – regardless of Great aunt Nancy’s proven method. . .

“You don’t even look pregnant!”

On the flip-side of all the hugeness comments we find this. I know that this is meant as a compliment, and I’m sorry, but yes – I take it the wrong way. If I don’t look pregnant, do I just look fat? Or like I have some kind of horrible cancer growing in my stomach? Why can’t anyone just say “You look GOOD!??” THAT would make my heart feel super-happy!

“You must be/you look MISERABLE!

Really? I do? I was cheerful and smiling until you came along with that comment. I don’t FEEL miserable. SHOULD I feel miserable? Is something wrong with me because I DON’T feel miserable enough? Should I call my midwife. . .?

“Are you dilated yet?”

Really? Did you just ASK me that?! Is nothing sacred?!! First of all, you’re taking the phrase ‘personal question’ to the next level. You’re asking me a question about my CERVIX. MY CERVIX!!! I certainly can’t imagine what it has to do with you, anyway. Oh! And while we’re on the subject, how’s your vagina feeling today?

“T’s such a good girl, you’re in trouble with this one, she’s gonna be BAD!

Why would you say something like that?! Babies are babies! T is good about some things, and she’s bad about others. She’s a normal toddler, and she was a normal infant – just like any other person that I have ever met. Please don’t apply your bizarre negative ideals onto my as-of-yet unborn child! It isn’t very nice, and it makes me feel sad.

ANOTHER girl?!”
“Too bad you didn’t get your boy!”

Why do people just assume that I will be somehow less happy with one gender over the other. It’s a terrible and mean way to think, and it just isn’t true. I will be equally as happy with a boy as I will with a girl, to suggest otherwise is pretty rude, and I think its mean-spirited.

“You’re almost as wide as you are tall!

*sigh* I am not. I suspect that to be a physical impossibility.

“You should name her X, instead.”
“I don’t like that name.”
“That name would be okay for a boy/girl but not for a girl/boy.”

When you squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of your whoo-hole, you can feel free to name it whatever you damn-well please and I won’t have a word to say about it – unless you actually asked me for my opinion. Until then, get over it.

“ARE YOU IN LABOR????!”

This one is driving me crazy! If I dare to pick up my phone and make a call, this is the very first thing that the person on the other end says. And they don’t just say it, they shout it. Desperately. . . Alternatively, if someone calls me at a time when I am unable to answer the phone, pure panic ensues. I suppose they think that I’ve just had the baby here in my living room, all alone aside from the brigade of infants and toddlers that surround my every waking moment, and just didn’t have the presence of mind to call and let anyone know. They then proceed to call right back. Several times. While leaving increasingly frantic messages on my answering machine. . . If I still don’t answer my phone, they start calling my husband at work. *bangs head on wall* People, calm down. Being pregnant in no way has caused me to forget how to use a telephone. If I need you I will call you, for now maybe you should assume that I’m changing a diaper or fixing lunch for my current miniature minions!

. . .WHILE I’M RANTING. . .

I’d like to add just a couple more things, if you don’t mind. . .

KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE BELLY!

Unless you put the baby in there, are going to help me get her out, or spent 9 months of your life living inside of it, you don’t need to be touching me! I really think it odd that people feel it to be their God-given right to paw all over my abdomen just because I’m pregnant. . . The very least you could do is ask.

LOOK INTO MY EYES!

I think its pretty creepy that people look at my stomach when they talk to me these days. It’s worse than when I hit puberty and the boys had entire conversations with my boobs. . . Of course, this time around its nearly all women who are looking at the wrong places. And yes, when I am asked if I plan to breastfeed, they do it while staring at my boobs. Weird. . . the eyes are STILL up HERE, people!

DISCLAIMER:
Everything posted above is true, and based on my actual experience as a pregnant person. I do feel, however, that I should acknowledge the fact that most of the above comments were not meant by the speaker to be abrasive or rude. Quite the opposite, in fact. The vast majority of people whom I have come into contact with have been nothing but supportive, they just have a very funny way of showing it sometimes. Many thanks to all of you who have kept me laughing (and rolling my eyes) throughout this grand adventure. I know how impatient you all are to meet this new babe, and believe me – I can’t wait to get the attention off of my stomach and onto the child where it belongs!
A huge thank-you to Cathy Thorne, the writer and artist behind Everyday People comics, for permission to use her oh-so-perfect drawings on my blog! Go check her stuff out at
EverydayPeopleCartoons.com

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