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What not to say to a pregnant lady (or any lady for that matter)

by Karen on October 27, 2010

I’m going to try really hard not to rant. We’ll see how it goes.

I will be 34 weeks pregnant tomorrow. THIRTY FOUR. My mom gave birth to my two older sisters — both perfectly healthy with no preemie complications — around 36 weeks. When I think about that, it kind of blows my mind.

As uncomfortable and huge as I feel, the possibility that I could have this baby in 2-3 weeks sort of makes me panic. I’d be happy if he came in about a month. I’m sure I won’t be any more prepared in an extra two weeks, but right now, that sounds reasonable.

That said, I’m not looking forward to another month or two of pregnancy.

It seems the baby and my belly have undergone a pretty extreme growth spurt in the past few weeks. Suddenly, everyone feels compelled to comment on my size. And can I tell you? NOT COOL.

I’m already lumbering around feeling like I have a 20-pound medicine ball under my shirt. I’m uncomfortable. My mid-section and lower back ache constantly from the strain on my muscles. I’m crabby, and I’m not getting any sleep because I toss and turn trying to find a comfortable position for the aforementioned medicine ball strapped to my stomach.

The number on the scale is way higher than it’s ever been in my life, and my body image is at an all-time low. I think every pregnant woman goes through a period where she sees pictures of herself pre-pregnancy and feels compelled to weep in mourning of her formerly fabulous body (no matter how unhappy she was with her body before pregnancy).

So guess what I DON’T need to hear right now? The following comments:

“Wow. SEVEN weeks left? I don’t believe it. Please tell me there’s more than one baby in there.”

“I don’t think it’s possible for you to get any bigger.”

“You look like you’re ready to pop.”

“THAT looks uncomfortable.”

I have actually heard every single one of those comments in the past few weeks from strangers and even well meaning friends and family.

Depending on my mood, who the commenter is, and my level of crabbiness, I’m usually able to muster a reasonably polite response. The CVS cashier who insisted I must be having twins because I’m WAY too huge to be carrying one baby received a bit of a sassy retort. (“No. So nice of you to say that, though.” *death stare*)

Honestly, though. I know I’m not the first person to say this, but what in the world makes people think it’s okay to comment on a pregnant woman’s size? When is it EVER polite to comment on someone’s size? Answer: never. Never ever ever.

While I’m on the topic, guess what else is not okay? Groping a person’s stomach. Unless you’ve been given direct permission, keep your hands off. It may look like a beach ball, but it is a part of my anatomy, and I’d rather you didn’t man handle me.

The bigger I get, the more personal space I require. Unfortunately, there is an inverse relationship between my size and the amount of personal space the general public is willing to allot to me.

I guess I couldn’t resist the urge to rant a little after all. But seriously. Keep your hands off my belly, and shut your trap about how enormous I look. Thank you.

Photo by cglatz

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{ 14 comments }

1 Jes October 27, 2010 at 9:40 am

Amen and amen again. I gained just as much weight with my girls as I am with this boy, but I never felt this uncomfortable, looked this big or had this many people say things before. I feel ya. :)
Jes´s last blog post ..Potty training

2 Renae October 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

I hear ya! Although right now I’m on the opposite end. I’m 20 weeks, and according to people barely showing. But I feel huge! Do they think that the little bulge in my midsection is me from me eating too much? (I mean, it might be, but there’s also a baby in there).

3 Kacie October 27, 2010 at 9:57 am

I am outraged on your behalf! People are so stupid. You could probably get away with smacking them, you know.

4 Mary @ Tips & Treasures October 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm

So true. Oh so true. Just wait till baby joins the world and every stranger in sight feels the urge to touch him. I’ve gotten feisty on more than one occasion over that issue.
Mary @ Tips & Treasures´s last blog post ..Three FREE issues of Seventeen magazine

5 Amanda October 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I’ve never been pregnant, but I would have to say, I would have a hard time not being completely rude to strangers who made awful comments or *touched* me! Not acceptable. If you are mustering any kind of polite response, you’re a better person than I am. Just stay focused on meeting your little man soon. By the way, the nursery looks absolutely heavenly.

6 Rae October 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Yes, on all accounts. As a short woman with no waist, there’s nowhere for my babies to go but out. I got the multiples remarks a lot, too. I’d usually just say that my husband was part viking, or descended from Andre the Giant, but occasionally, I’d just say “hey, thanks. you made my day. who doesn’t love to hear they look like the hindenberg?”

As for the belly rubbing, a few people got a lecture on how inapropriate that was. I figure, it’s okay to go off on them. It is out of line, and they will probably blame it on the baby crazies anyway.

Good luck!
Rae´s last blog post ..halloween at our house

7 Veronica October 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I know it’s hard to stand up to the last weeks of pregnancy but u get to have the next 40 years to luv them and protect them and send them to school and look at report cards and watch them play sports and do stupid sh.. You can get pictures and hugs and kisses and grandkids and in-laws and really fun weddings. The endless possibilities – kids – there’s a reason women do this?

8 M October 28, 2010 at 8:17 am

Don’t panic! Sounds like you have a great support system for when the baby comes. As for insenstive comments — maybe these are teachable moments.. or simply say, “I’m big because there’s a beautiful baby in there waiting to join the world, not because I have no self-control and have been eating twinkies.” People can be idiots, but their stupidity is not a reflection on you. I agree the touching the belly is off-limits. If it happens again, you could simply say, “please, belly is off-limits”.. or ask them if they’d like it if you could touch theirs. You are on the home stretch, be gentle with yourself, relax if you can, into these last moments of non-momhood, because once he arrives, nothing is ever going to be the same. Life as you know it now, will never be this way again. Children change everything in the most extraordinary ways.

9 Bobbi October 28, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I can sympathize totally. People are rude, thats all there is to it. Soon your little man will be here and bring you lots of joy.

10 Tiffany October 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I completely empathize! During my last few weeks of pregnancy 4 people asked if I was having twins! On Easter Sunday I lumbered into church 10 days before I was due. One woman looked at me and just sighed and shook her head. I thought, “Wow! That was helpful!” I will say this though, you can laugh at it on the other side and the baby weight does go away. My son is 6 months now and I feel and look great! Congrats on your upcoming delivery!

11 Karen October 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Thank you all! It’s good to know I’m not the only one enduring rude comments. I was starting to wonder if maybe I really was abnormally huge!

12 Jennifer October 30, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Your body is doing an amazing thing and while yes your belly is probably large (which it should be at this point) it is growing a baby and it will go back to normal after you have the baby. So yes they were rude comments, but no you don’t need to feel upset about your body right now.
Jennifer´s last blog post ..Things I Have Learned During Lunch Duty

13 SJ November 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I don’t know what it is about pregnancy that makes people feel that it’s open for public discussion. Most people mean well and think they are being funny but I sympathize with how obnoxious it can be. I’m pregnant with #2 and the belly is growing much faster than it did with #1 so I can only imagine how ginormous I’ll be in the next few months.

A tip for sleeping that I’ve found helpful – invest in a body pillow. I’m not talking about the $50 (and up) pregnancy pillows at maternity stores. I’m talking about the $8.99 version at Target that uses a pillow case that usually runs $5-10. Because they are pretty squishy and thin, you can sort of stuff it under your belly when laying on your side and then tuck it between your knees. It has been a lifesaver for me since my pre-pregnancy favorite sleep position was on my stomach… obviously not an option these days. It helps to take some of the weight off and also relieves some of the discomfort from all your weight shifting to one side. Hope it helps!

14 Issa November 4, 2010 at 7:09 am

I could not help but smile. I just gave birth to a baby boy 3 months ago and I know exactly how you are feeling. I also got my share of “really??… you’re just 6 months??” that I wanted to punch some people. But when I got my beautiful baby boy out, it is now my turn to stick my tongue out to them… haha… Kidding aside, you are beautiful, you are beautiful, you are beautiful. Let no one tell you otherwise. :)
Issa´s last blog post ..How to Get A VC to Fund You

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