How to Deal With Rude Questions

Every pregnant woman gets asked rude and invasive questions -- but single moms-to-be get a few extras thrown into the mix. Here's how to answer those wild and weird queries.

When you look as though you're about to pop, it can sometimes feel like there's a big sign pointing to you, saying "Ask me about my belly!" At least, that's how it appears some strangers see it. A pregnant belly definitely attracts attention -- some welcome, and some not so much. Maybe strangers ask your due date, or whether you're having a boy or a girl. They might even have the gall to reach out and touch your tummy to feel the baby kick. When it comes to moms-to-be, onlookers sometimes chuck the concepts of personal space and conversational boundaries right out the window.

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      The invasive inquiries can be even more uncomfortable when the mom is unattached. Women who are single and pregnant have a whole slew of additional questions that come their way. Suddenly, people are wondering, Do you know who the father is? Did you go to a sperm bank? Was it an accident? Louise Sloan, author of Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom, and mom to son Scott, now 7, described one particularly uncomfortable encounter with a nosy acquaintance -- who happened to be her doctor. "He said, 'So, you're single, but you're having a baby. Are you a lesbian?' He could not wrap his head around it," she said.

      So how do you deal with questions that cross the line? First, Sloan suggests trying to determine whether the inquiry was deliberately offensive or annoyingly ignorant. Some questions are flat-out obnoxious, like asking a pregnant single mom if she got busy with a turkey baster. (Blame it on clueless jerkiness, or way too many episodes of Maury.) Even if someone is just curious, those questions are totally inappropriate -- and feel free to snap back with a witty retort, or school someone about his insensitivity!

        happy pregnant woman iStockphoto

        But other times, a question might not come from a malicious place. Case in point: someone who takes note of your baby's length and asks "Is his dad tall, too?" The asker might not deliberately be throwing a jab in your direction -- she might only assume that you're coparenting, because that may be what she's used to. She could have the best of intentions.

        Some questions might feel too personal to entertain, and that's totally fine. But, as Sloan points out, you could also view them as an opportunity to empower yourself -- and other single moms-to-be -- by having a frank conversation about an issue that's often talked about in hushed tones. "I made a special point to be very open," Sloan says. "If you act like it's top secret, you're sending a message that it should be shameful." Plus, responding to these questions with confidence can be useful prep for telling your kid about his birth later on in life. "I would force myself to say in a very matter-of-fact, normal way, "I'm having this son with a donor,' because I wanted to get used to talking about it that way," Sloan says. "I felt that it was going to be really important down the road for my child that I be comfortable with the circumstances of his conception." You don't need an etiquette expert to guide you through the issue -- simply respond to prying questions in a way that makes you feel comfortable, confident, and proud of your mommy status.

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