Say What?!

23 weeks/5 months

There is something about the pregnant belly that causes people to lose their filter. As a pretty filter-less person myself, I still manage to pick my cartoon jaw up off the floor every now and again at people’s rudeness commentary.

Most queries are harmless: When are you due? What are you having? What are you naming her?

Other comments, they hurt a pregnant lady right down to her heartburn induced core. As my burgeoning belly is a little slower to show, (all’s fair in love and pregnancy and it will be nice and massive by the end), I, along with a little help from my pregnant friends, recorded a few inappropriate, yet true “observations” many women endure during pregnancy.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I submit as evidence an airtight case of things never to say to a pregnant lady:

  • “You have HOW many weeks left??”
  • “You just look miserable.”
  • “Wow, you could fit two basketballs in there!”
  • “Was that an accident?” (mother of 5)
  • “I hope you’re done now.” (mother of 5)
  • “Are you allowed to drive? Can you even fit behind the steering wheel?”
  • “I don’t know much about having babies, but you are BIG.”
  • “Are you sure there’s only one in there? You look like you must be having twins.”
  • “I thought you couldn’t possibly get any bigger, but you sure did.”
  • With 8 weeks left to go, “WOW, someone’s ready to POP!” or “Any day now.”
  • “You must be having a boy because your nose is so wide…. how much wider would you say it’s gotten?”
  • “Oh you’re pregnant? I just thought you were getting fat.”

People, there are a finite number of appropriate things to say to a pregnant lady. Ever. Commenting on belly size is rarely a good idea. Especially if you’re going to be using the descriptors: uncomfortable, big, huge, massive, enormous, whale, or “large and in charge.”

Whether the pregnant lady you’re “wishing well” is leo-the-late-bloomer and looks like she’s rocking a serious beer belly for the first six months, or she looks six months pregnant the day after conception, it’s not really polite or helpful to point out the obvious regarding a sensitive topic.

Instead of making a lady feel pregnant-er than she already does, please remember any sort of comments made to her should inspire confidence and honor at what the human body can do. Okay, and flattery. Ain’t nothing wrong with stroking a pregnant lady’s ego. I highly recommend the following forms of pregnant flattery, especially if you see me in the next 17 weeks.

  • You look beautiful/stunning/gorgeous (heck, I’d even take your unbelievable use of the word “hot”)
  • You are so tiny (or any synonym for tiny)
  • You’re all belly
  • I can’t believe you’re that far along. I would have never guessed.
  • Bless you my good woman

Or a cat call would suffice.

Image: Baby bump via Blaj Gabriel/Shutterstock

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  1. by Erica

    On October 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    While pregnant with my first child, I was working as a hostess at a local restaurant. I was chatting with a co-worker about reading to my unborn baby (I was about 7.5 mos along.) A guest walked in and listened in on our conversation while waiting for her friend to arrive, staring at me the whole time. Finally, she interjected, “Ummm, aren’t you a little young to have a baby?” #1 I was 26 at the time. #2 I had been with my husband for eight years, married for two by that time. #3 IS IT ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS?!?!?! Never mind the fact she was about 50 years old and was wearing a pink velour track suit. I simply told her, “I don’t recall needing to ask your permission to have a baby with my husband.” And then I walked away…..only so I wouldn’t punch her in the nose. :)

  2. by Rebecca

    On October 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    A former coworker of mine commented to another coworker (who was barely pregnant at the time) that she must be having a girl because baby girls steal their mothers’ beauty!

  3. by Jana

    On October 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I agree that some of that can be brazen like “was it an accident?” (But is it ok if your very best friends ask? I say yes).

    But as for the ‘you look huge!’ remarks, I remember taking them as if they were compliments because I think that’s how they’re intended -similar to how you tell a child they’re a Big Boy! That’s not insulting at all. (though soon it just might be! once two-year-olds start taking our cues.) I believe it’s just meant as an observation that the fetus is sure growing and isn’t that incredible.

    And I bet I’m the .001% that feels that way. HA!

  4. by Amanda @ Not Just Cute

    On October 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve received the “I just thought you were fat” comment before. I think the best part was the fact that it came from a colleague who was in charge of directing social skills programs in our school. Yeah. Social skills. :0)

  5. by Bekka Besich

    On October 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Whoa! I don’t get why people say things like that?! I like to think I’m an optimist but that just doesn’t have a positive spin.

  6. by Bekka Besich

    On October 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I like a good dissenting opinion. I’m sure there’s more of you out there. Close girlfriends are different and the exception. Ask away.
    But I don’t know, I still think some of the word choice “well-wishers” use could be more thoughtful. Huge is just not my favorite descriptor.

  7. by Sarah J

    On October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I had wicked morning sickness for 6 months. When my in-laws found I that I started taking Zofran they told me my baby would be born without arms or legs “because that happened all the time in the 60′s”. Umm…thanks guys.

  8. by MJ

    On October 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I’m with Jana (above) – I have never been offended by comments about the size of my baby belly, or the rest of me for that matter, when I’m pregnant. I do indeed get “huge” and there’s really no other description for it. I have big babies who grow to be big healthy men (our 15 yr old is 6ft 3in tall), so I’m more than happy to be as big as the baby needs me to be?

    I’m more offended by women who insist on telling those that are clearly gaining a lot of weight all about how they didn’t put on a pound in their pregnancy or even lost weight… Whilst I’m happy for them, its usually said with a degree of smugness that really irritates a hormonal pregnant woman!

  9. by Simone Green

    On October 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I always hated the Q: What are you having?
    These where my responses: I think a mexican (I was craving mexican food)/ I’m hoping for a baby, but my son’s hoping for a puppy./ An american (I’m from England)/ A girl or a boy
    I have 3 kids and only found out what I was having with the 3rd one, and I wish I hadn’t.

  10. by jessica

    On October 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I adore a huge pregnant round belly which makes the mommy waddle… I always wanted that and after four kids never got… gained a entire person with my first two… third one I was so big you just thought I gained a few pounds not that I was preggers… my fourth I lost the person and a half I gained with having the other 3 and had a tummy tuck…so at 9 months I looked like I was 4/5 months only… yes I was pretty sad… but after I gave birth everyone kept saying well you got your girl now I hope your done and yes it pist me off where I had to put it out on fb that listen im sick of people asking me this… I and my husband the father of all 4 support our kids with out the government or any of your help so stop asking me if im freaking done.

  11. by Megan

    On October 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Yeah. Did not appreciate the “wow you don’t even look pregnant comments”. My body felt different and uncomfortable. I took the comment to mean I must look pregnant all of the time when I am not pregnant…not good for someone whose hormones are off the charts!

  12. by Janna

    On October 20, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I was pregnant with my first, twins, and everyone kept saying “sleep while you can” as if I could bank sleep to use later on.

    The other was similar to Simone”You don’t know what you’re having?” I knew I had two healthy babies. The sex didn’t matter and would force gender constrictions on the kids.

  13. by Fonda

    On October 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I’m currently pregnant with twins and I also have a 20 month old son. The stuff that people say when they find out I’m having twins has been ridiculous and pretty insulting. I’ve gotten way too many “better you than me” comments. Rarely does someone just say “Congratulations!!”. Instead, even strangers have to express their sincere concerns and shock over the thought of having twins and a toddler. I just put a big smile on my face and tell them how excited we are and how we are going to totally rock as parents of multiples!!

  14. by Kristin

    On October 22, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Six weeks left…” Wow! Any day now?” Totally got that one more than once. Extremely frustrating. Spot on article, Bekka.

  15. by Leah

    On October 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I think it’s true that most of these comments come from well intentioned people, but because some women wish their belly was bigger and others wish it was smaller, your best bet as a well wisher is to stick strictly to blanket compliments. Things like, “you are the most beautiful pregnant woman I have ever seen” and “you are absolutely glowing” never offended anyone! Of course, this rule still applies after the babe is born… At my doc visit 2 weeks after Wyatt was born my doctor said, “wow, you don’t even look like you just had a baby!” It was all I could do not to kiss the man. Flattery never fails!

  16. by Mom to Be

    On January 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    I dread walking into my work. People comment and laugh as if they have made a polite comment. It’s like saying ” you are getting uglier by the day!” My belly is huge. Ive asked my closest friends and coworkers to not comment on my belly. My mom comstantly says things that are quite bothersome. I have to excuse myself and leave her house.

  17. by Bekka Besich

    On January 16, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I’m sorry the people do not know how to curb the comments. Pregnancy is beautiful. Tell them that. Don’t let them make you feel otherwise. Then tell them to shut their traps. In a nice way though?

  18. by Kim

    On January 17, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Oddly I get all the rude do-not-give-me-a-good-reason-to-hurt-you comments from my mother. I get rude sounding complements from a friend of my husband and mine, who is a single guy. He`s also the kids godfather so he tries to be polite in front of the kiddos, but knows I`m not going to take things like “How can you be 6 months pregnant and I can`t tell?” The wrong way.

  19. by Courtney

    On January 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I always compliment my pregnant friends that I can’t even tell they are pregnant from behind! That makes them feel good about themselves, like they have a waist.

  20. by Bekka Besich

    On January 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Courtney,

    That is a great compliment. You’re a spectacular friend.