My Heart, Your Home: Things you should never say or do to a pregnant woman   

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Things you should never say or do to a pregnant woman

Pregnant with Evelyn

Before I fell pregnant for the first time, Anthony and I spent a day together driving from Palm Beach all the way back home in Dee Why. Stopping at each beach for a sit, a walk, a beer or a bite to eat. We had been together for only a short while, just over 1 year. But I knew that he was my future and that there was no other man I could ever be with. We were getting comfortable with each other and talking about our future. 

We were stopped at Narrabeen beach and were sitting on the grass with a beer and we were watching families walking by. I so desperately wanted to be our own family. I remember saying to Anthony "I want to be a Mum so badly it hurts". That day we talked about when we would start trying to create our own circle. We had discussed buying our first home and then trying for children in the next 6 to 12 months.

However, fate had other plans and the next month we had a positive pregnancy test. So although the pregnancy was a suprise, it was not unplanned or unwanted or unwelcomed. It was a very pleasant suprise. That pregnancy came earlier than we had prepared ourselves for but we both embraced it with joy and love and excitement. I couldn't wait to share the news with those around us. 

The thing with being pregnant is that it breaks down normal social etiquette and acceptable behaviour and it tricks people into believing that they can now say, or do, whatever they please. Mostly, these things are never said in malice, but rather in a helpful and suggestive tone. Like they are giving you advice. But being the pregnant woman, having to listen to such "advice", sometimes it is so very hard to sit there and smile.

This is now my second pregnancy and all this advice still irks me. So here is my advice on things you should never say or do to a pregnant woman.

Is *insert partners name* happy?
This is one of my absolute hated questions. Through both of my pregnancies I have been asked, on multiple occasion's 'Is Anthony happy?'. The first time I was pregnant and the first time I was asked, I could justify the question. But the second, third and tenth time, in that same pregnancy, by the same person, it became insulting. THEN, when that person asked me this time, knowing that we had been trying for 7 months, that was just plain rude. Why on earth would Anthony NOT be happy? Do you think I have tricked him into a baby? Twice? And do you think that he is now not happy, when he was happy the first time you asked me?

Oh *insert partners name* really is happy, isn't he?
Yup. That happened. When Evelyn was born and the excitement on Anthony's face was clear for all to see, it was pointed out that he actually was happy and excited to be having a child. Perhaps I was lying to myself and everyone around me the whole way through the pregnancy? Perhaps he was too? I am not sure how or why, but it was a shock to see him happy to be a dad!

You are going to have to be careful with your weight
I sat my Mum down to tell her I was pregnant with Evelyn. One of the first things she said to me, before congratulating me, was this very sentence. She went on to say that I have her body figure and that if I am not careful I will put on too much weight and my health will be at risk. Yup. I have no words

Was it planned?
I have been asked this on both occasions. Firstly, it is none of your damn business if it was planned or not. To be pregnant means that you previously had sex and I am not willing to discuss my sex life with you and if my partner and I had discussed our sex life before dancing between the sheets. That is my business, not yours. Secondly, even if it wasn't planned, do I want you knowing? So that when my Daughter grows up you can let it slip that she was a "mistake"?

You are going to have to push a 10cm head through your vagina
This one was not said to me, but to a friend of mine who was pregnant at the same time. In the work place. By a 21 year old. Do I talk to you about what you do with your vagina? Please dont talk to me about a. the circumference of my childs head and b. my vagina

Details on how to check dilation
Before I gave birth to Evelyn I had a very romantic view of child birth. I didn't go to birthing classes so I was not aware of how certain procedures were performed. That was a choice of mine. Luckily this wasn't said to me either, this is my Sister's story. Someone thought it would be ok to say "you know put their whole fist up there to check how dilated you are". Again... please do not talk to me about my vagina and things going in or out of there!

Touching the tummy
Unless I invite you to feel my baby move, do NOT, under any circumstances, rub my tummy. I am not a goddamn budha. I will not bring you good luck. It will not make me feel warm and fuzzy and gooey inside and if you want to go on your way still having a merry day then!

You look so big for only X weeks
Do not, ever, comment on how big a pregnant woman looks! Yes, a big pregnant tummy is the most beautiful and divine thing you could ever see. On someone else! When it is you, being big and pregnant is NOT a good thing. We do NOT appreciate being told how big we look. If you want to do this, just know this, you would have sent that woman home in tears crying to her husband about how she looks like a whale! 

You look so small for only X weeks
On the other hand, most pregnant woman want to look pregnant. So when they are smaller than what is "expected" they feel very conscious and they feel concerned about the growth of their baby. How's this. Just don't comment on the size of a pregnant tummy regardless... big or small.

Its ok, you will get a boy/girl next time
You know, when we chose to have a child, we chose to have a CHILD. Not a son. Not a daughter. Just a child, it can be either. For you to be disappointed on our behalf that we are not having the opposite to what we already have it feels like you a mourning the loss of a child, that is actually still here. Celebrate the CHILD. Not the gender!

Discussing the pain involved in labour
We are well aware that pushing a fully grown baby out from our vagina is going to be damn well painful. Most of us lay awake at night in full blown panic attacks about pending D day and the pain involved. Please do not, ever, remind us of that pain. Let us live this 9 months in peace and a little ignorance as to what is coming. We will deal with the pain when the pain arrives.

Disappointment or judgement of using drugs
Natural birth, birth with gas, birth with an epidural. Any option we wish to take is our own business and is a personal choice of how we wish to bring a child into the world. A lot of woman feel like failures if they do have to rely on drugs to bring their baby into their arms. I know I did. I do not need you to make me feel even worse about it. To anyone who wants to judge me, or any of the other woman, who had to or who chose to have an epidural I have one question for you - will you, or did you, have your wisdom teeth removed without anaesthetic? No? Too painful? You've got nothing on me! Until you can sit through that without assistance then dont say a word to me!

There are so many things that people say and do, these are just a few small examples of bad experiences I have had or heard of and these dont even begin to skim the surface. Yes, looking back it is quite funny to talk about all the inappropriate things people said to you. But when you are in the thick of it, heavily pregnant and irritable, these things are not funny. They are not appropriate. They are not cool.

What is your worst experience?


  1. Oh all these irk me too. Especially the touch stomach part. I'm not at all ok with that... Thankfully I didn't get the happy question! I did get, after announcing we were having a girl, "you can't be, your shape is all boy! I don't believe it." hmmm, so who's the doctor here?? Ha! I can laugh now! Hope you're feeling great Jess! You look sensational x

    1. I hate the touch of the tummy! It feels so forced and so uncomfortable! Not cool.
      Oh right... Sorry I must have misheard! What a silly remark for someone to make to you.
      It is all much funnier the second time around but the first time it was very very insulting

  2. You know I already hate the "was it planned?" question, because seriously, even if it wasn't, you are obviously having the baby and happy about it now.
    As for you look huge....I just had a facebook rant and told my friends/family if it happens again, I will take it upon myself to comment about their weight (which is obviously socially unacceptable but being pregnant means it's ok?).

    1. Thats exactly right... if it wasnt planned and you werent happy then you wouldnt be telling people just yet. Its a silly question! And none of anyones business.

      Good on you for saying that on facebook! It really does affect you being told constantly how big you are. Even if you know they dont mean it in the way it feels, it still upsets you! I hope they stop their comments

  3. Oh gosh Jess I feel terrible now being jealous of you not being in maternity clothes yet, please know It was a compliment and just my own green eyed monster that I was indeed in maternity clothes so quickly and truth be known still trot them out a year later when having a "fat" day. I am so so sorry if I hurt your feelings xxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Oh beth not AT ALL! I honestly hadnt even thought of that when I wrote this and you made me feel quite good with that comment! I was actually going to post a photo for u today as i have put my maternity shorts on! Please dontfeel like this was a reaction to that at all! I was just thinking the other day about how socially inappropriate people can be and I wrote this in jest xxx

  4. My personal hatred is people who talk about the pain factor, which you have so eloquently covered. If you have nothing positive to say then STFU thanks. Great point about the wisdom teeth too. Wish I had that thought of that one with some people...

    Enjoyed reading X

    1. Oh I hear you! I really dont understand why people sit there and tlak to you about pending pain, as though you are unaware? We are very well aware,!

  5. ok so not quite related to pregnancy, but having just had a baby, im really detesting people touching my baby, his face and hands, it really bothers me, germy germy germs!!! if they are not stroking his face they are holding his hands and it bothers me cause he likes to put his hands in his mouth and it is making me a germ phobe!!! :-)i bring him home and wash his tiny hands in the basin, i have two other kids and i was never like this with them??? i just wish they would touch his arm or leg instead. strange but true:-)

    1. Oh I totally understand this too!
      When Evie was about 6 months old, Anthony and I went to a cafe and she was sleeping in the pram. We had her parked next to our table and a woman at the table next to her took it open herself to open up the pram (i had a muslin wrap over the top) and peek inside and start talking to Evie... who is now awake thanks to her!

      SO not cool! I do not going digging through your handbag or touching or person... please do not dig through my pram and touch my child.

  6. Hi, I have 3 boys and after each one was born, I was asked are you going to try for a girl? As if I was somehow cheated or upset by just having if I have control over the sex of the baby. You are right-you are having a child not a girl or a boy. No one can choose the sex.also now we have 3 boys under 5 , every goes "oh another boy? And wrinkle up their nose, they are very disappointed for me? Why? When did boys or men become the enemy? Sorry for the rant-I am going now xlisa

    1. Oh dont apologise Lisa! This whole post is a rant!
      I dont understand why they are so disappointed for you!
      Some people are happy with all of one sex and actually would prefer it that way! I totally understand you hun... its near offensive.

      Three little boys would be gorgeous