How to speak to a pregnant woman

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Hello ladies and gentlemen,

We’ve come to the part in our program where Sarah needs to let off some serious steam about the ridiculous things people say to pregnant women in their last trimester. Of course, I’m always gracious in the moment after someone uses the word “huge” or “miserable” or - God forbid - “twins” but here among friends there’s going to be a little less grace and a lot more honesty.

(deep breath)

shut up shut up shut up I do not want to hear what you think about my pregnancy shut up shut up shut up before I kick you in the face for commenting on how giant I am shut up shut up shut up I don’t want to hear some unrelated and unhelpful anecdote about your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin’s baby’s daddy’s niece and her fourteen pound baby shut shut up SHUT UP!!!!!!


I feel better. Don’t you?

Now, let’s take a step back for some take away lessons.

I know I’m huge. I know people see pregnant women as some type of community property that must be touched, smiled at, commented on. I get it. I really do. My belly arrives in the room before I do, so I know it’s hard to ignore. And in all fairness, I had four perfect strangers come up to me in a span of two weeks and exclaim, “You look adorable/so cute/precious!” and it made my day.

I’m not saying never speak to pregnant woman. I’m just saying let’s all agree to some ground rules.

  1. Never use the term “any day.” As in, “you must be due any day!” Well, no, I actually have two months left but thank you so much for inquiring. I think I got my first any day with Griffin when I was six months pregnant. It was awkward. It was unpleasant. So, let’s leave the due date prediction to the professionals and move on.

  2. Don’t reference popping, blowing up, or any other type of explosion. It’s come to my attention that there are some people out there fundamentally confused about how a baby is born. (This is particularly frustrating when it is women who have had children!)  It is exciting but there is no special effects team. I am not going to blow up. My belly is not a balloon and it is not about to pop. If everything goes as planned, the baby will pass through my vagina. I’m sorry if this is disappointing for you. Deal with it.

  3. Leave your assumptions about how I’m feeling at home. I love it when I’m feeling good. Nothing aches or hurts. I’m not tired. I’m bending over with ease. Everything is going as planned until someone looks at me like I’ve just stepped off a Titanic lifeboat and says, “You must be miserable!” Nope, not miserable but now a little pissed you rained on my sunny day. I also hate, “You must be ready to go!” No, I’m not ready. I have a to do list a mile long so he can just stay right there, thank you very much. Not to mention, for my friends who have dealt with pre-term labor, they probably walk around in fear of the exact thing you assume they want most of all.

  4. Take your scary labor stories and shove them where the sun don’t shine. I got this ALL THE TIME with Griffin, particularly when people heard I was planning a home birth. It was like a contest to see who could tell the most frightening details of the birth that never ended/baby who weighed as much as a toddler/tear that started at your throat and went to God only knows where. (Funny how these stories seem to disappear once you’ve delivered one 9 lb 7 oz baby at home with no drugs.) It’s not helpful. It’s not supportive. If you have some issues you need to work out about your labor and delivery, I suggest you see a therapist and not take it out on the nearest pregnant woman.

  5. Treat others as you would want to be treated. This is an easy one. Perhaps you remember it from childhood? Before you speak, put yourself in her very pregnant shoes. Would you want someone commenting on your weight? Would it hurt your feelings if someone assumed you were having twins and you weren’t? Is your comment helpful AT ALL? Just because we are growing a human being doesn’t mean we stopped being a human being. Like anyone else, we just need a little kindness to get through the day. Perhaps instead of commenting, you could just hold the door, offer a helping hand with the groceries, or - I don’t know - buy her a milkshake.

  6. No, seriously, if you live in Paducah and you see me around town, feel free to buy me a milkshake.