Say This, Not That: Pregnancy Edition



If I had a quarter for every time I heard a story from a momma about a comment or veiled insult she received during her pregnancy, I would be a VERY rich woman. I have plenty of my own stories as well! Well-meaning people (and sometimes just jerks) often make such comments to pregnant women, and for a variety of reasons: they're trying in their own way to make conversation, they want to provide sympathy or a listening ear, or they don't know how to respond to something. Maybe, just maybe it was an accident - people are human and I know that I've "put my foot in" or misspoke before. I always try to apologize and I think that most people do, but sometimes it just seems like the world is against you....and they're ready to sound their many opinions!

I got to thinking about these types of situations the other day when I myself encountered one repeatedly as I went about my errands - people commenting over and over on my size. I'm always thinking of quick responses I can make - sometimes ones that aren't super friendly - but honestly being sarcastic or rude doesn't really help if it's a genuine mistake or someone who wasn't intentionally trying to be a jerk. And in this case, at least two of the people I spoke with I could tell were just trying to make conversation or be pleasant. And I thought to myself, somebody needs to write a guide on things you should say to pregnant women instead of what people usually say! So without further ado, here's my "Say This, Not That" Pregnancy Edition:

Example #1: You see a pregnant momma who looks exhausted and worn out.
Instead of saying: "Wow! You look tired!" or "Are you ok? You don't look good!"
Say this: "How are you feeling?" or "How is your pregnancy going?" When you're tired or sick, having people tell you that you look tired or sick generally makes you feel crappier. If you're close to the person, you might even offer assistance or support of some kind.

Example #2: You see a mom who has a BIG baby belly.
Instead of saying: "HOLY CRAP! You're so big! Wow, you're really sticking out there! Are you sure it's not twins? That is going to be one big baby. Your belly is HUGE! Are you having medical problems? Did they check to see if it's twins?!"
Say this: "When are you due?" And when they respond, regardless of whether it's tomorrow or seven months from now: you should smile, say congratulations, and/or ask how she's feeling. Women carry their weight differently depending on their body shape, genetics, and many other variables. I would say that 9 times out of 10 she'd rather you didn't compare her to a massive beached whale. (This situation also applies to mommas that carry small or that carry their weight differently - they get comments too! I have one friend who is small framed and only gets a little beach ball belly. I don't know how many times I've heard people say things to her about how she's not big enough or they hope her baby is doing okay.)

Example #3: You see a pregnant mom who has several other children. She may look tired. She appears to be having a bad day and some of the other children aren't cooperating - maybe there's a tantrum, yelling, or other bad behavior.
Instead of saying: "Sure you're ready to have another one?" or "Well, you certainly have your hands full!"
Say this: Momma knows her hands are full and this isn't one of her stellar moments. The "hands full" comment can be taken a multitude of ways depending on how the person says it and it is probably the one I hear the most often since I have several kiddos. If you've been in that situation, smile and say, "I've been there!" If you haven't, just smile at the momma. If you're really kind, tell her she's doing a good job or compliment her on something else. You will make her day.

Example #4: You see a pregnant mom and ask what number child it is. She says it's her third, fifth, tenth, or seventeenth.
Instead of saying: "WHY?! Don't you know what causes that? Oh dear. Are you done? Is this your last one? I hope you're done!"
Say this: "Congratulations!" Seriously. Nothing else is needed. There are SO MANY REASONS why people have the number of children they do. Some people struggle with fertility issues, others have a "perfect" number (be it 1, 2, 5, or 20) where they felt their family was complete, some families have lost children or suffered miscarriages, some people don't want children, others want to pursue other things before having children, and still others feel led by God or their personal beliefs. I don't think people should have to justify themselves to a stranger in a grocery store or to a family member over Thanksgiving dinner. (This also applies to mommas with just one babe or no babes at all, unless they themselves are discussing it or bring it up. No reason to ask them, "Are you going to try for another? Are you ever going to have kids?")

Example #5: You see a pregnant mom who has other children who are all girls or all boys.
Instead of saying: "I hope that one is a girl!" or "I bet you're praying for a boy!"
Say this: "Congratulations!" or "How great!" Chances are, that momma has already heard from seven hundred other people about how it should be this or that, and as you well know, that is not something she has ANY control over. Be happy for her and don't draw attention to something that may or may not be a sore spot.

In conclusion, just be kind. Don't feel like you HAVE to say something - a simple "congratulations" with a smile goes a long way. Speak to others the way you'd like to be spoken to. And if you do happen to make a mistake or say something unkind, let them know you're genuinely sorry. Pregnant mommas reading this, did I leave anything out? Sound off in the comments!

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