Pregnancy Faux Pas: What NOT to say to pregnant mothers
Updated: Dec 23, 2017
Everybody feels they have the right to comment on a woman's body when she becomes pregnant. If you can't hold your tongue, here is a list of things to NOT say.
There’s something about pregnancy that strips friends, family members, and strangers of their societal niceties. Strangers will ask to touch your belly, friends will compare your belly size to theirs, and family suddenly has more unsolicited advice than you thought was possible. Here are some of the cringe-worthy remarks my friends and I heard during our pregnancies.
“You better sleep now because you won’t sleep again once the baby is born!” While this observation may be true for many new mothers, we hate to be reminded of this likely possibility. Parenthood is frightening enough without the frequent admonition that sleep will forsake us once the baby is born (if it hasn’t already during pregnancy). Plus, we all wistfully hope that our child will miraculously sleep through the night after only a few weeks. Don’t burst that bubble.
“You’re so big/small for X months!” This exclamation, along with the comparable phrase “You are much bigger/smaller than so-and-so was at this stage,” seem like obvious things NOT to say, but most of us have heard something along these lines. Pregnancy is a time of insecurity for many mothers; it’s best not to add to our body image issues.
“You must be having a girl; girls strip all the beauty from their mothers.” I’m not making this up; this was actually said to a friend of mine--a beautiful, thin, pregnant friend of mine. Similarly, I was warned in the early stages of my pregnancy that “You better hope you’re not having a girl because you’re going to carry the weight everywhere.” We have all heard these old wives tales, so even an innocent prediction of a baby girl can send us spiraling into self-loathing. Plus, I am pregnant with my second--a girl this time--and I have actually gained less weight than I did with my first, a boy (although I likely just jinxed that).
“You know, you shouldn’t eat/drink/exercise that way while you’re pregnant.” Pregnancy is emotionally and physically draining, and sometimes we need to indulge to keep our sanity. There are so many common items we renounce during pregnancy, and if we occasionally satisfy a craving for a piece of sushi or a sip of coffee or a rigorous workout, then the last thing we want to hear is condemnation from an observer.
“Are you going to deliver naturally?” This is often a loaded question, depending on who is asking. Some moms judge others for not choosing an epidural ("That's crazy!"), while others imply that women who succumb to medical interventions are weak. Some women are lucky enough to have and closely follow a birth plan; others encounter medical emergencies that negate the best of intentions. I know I personally hate that I had to have a cesarean for medical reasons, and when I feel the judgment of women who went “all natural,” I just lament the process all over again. I should, instead, be focusing on the fact that my son was born healthy and safe...not how he was delivered.
What cringe-worthy comments have you heard? Comment below!