Etiquette Questions, Answered: Tricky Conversations
What Do You Say to a Question About Your Pregnancy...When You’re Not Pregnant?
Q: How should one respond to someone who asks "When is your due date?" or "Are you pregnant?" when you are not pregnant? Why
someone who is not a close friend would consider making such a comment is beyond me, but I am looking for a good retort.
A: I can barely conjure a thoughtful response to such a thoughtless question! But I'll use this opportunity to spread the word far and wide that no matter how pregnant someone appears―even if she looks like she's about to go into labor―do not make any mention of it. The two times I thought it was safe enough to break this rule I suffered bitterly for it. The first was when I was getting my hair cut by a woman I'd never met before, who I suspected might be pregnant. But of course, knowing full well that you never say anything, I kept my trap shut and let her continue cutting my hair...until she mentioned she was pregnant, and how that was going to affect her schedule. I breathed a sigh of relief and said lightly, "Oh, you know I was going to say something, but I wasn't sure!" Ha ha ha. To which she replied, curtly, "Well, I'm only 7 weeks pregnant, I'm not even showing yet." Let's just say I'm lucky I walked out of there with any hair left on my head. The other time I thought it was safe to comment was at the office of my OB, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies; the place is crawling with pregnant women. I was waiting to get my blood drawn, sitting next to a woman who did, in fact, look like she was about to go into labor any day now. And again, I made the mistake of saying, "When are you due?" to which she answered, "I gave birth last Thursday. To twins." Touché. But obviously you, Melissa, are not the one sticking your foot in your mouth; you're the unwitting victim in this scenario, so I give you permission not only to say a firm "No" to the "Are you pregnant?" question, but to add, "For the future, that's never a safe question." Then just laugh like it was the funniest joke you've ever heard and get the hell out of there.
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