If you thought people could be nosy, rude, and disrespectful before, just wait until you have a pregnant belly for them to comment on. All bets are off as complete strangers (not to mention mothers, mothers-in-law, and friends) decide it is their duty to pass judgment on your stomach, your choices, and every last personal detail of your previously private life.
Laura Warren, a TV news anchor in Augusta, GA, went public last week with a voicemail a viewer left her telling her that she looked “disgusting” and “like you got a watermelon strapped under your too-tight outfits.” (For the record, we think 20-week pregnant Warren looks all kinds of amazing in her body-hugging red dress.) Warren refused to be body-shamed and turned the conversation around by posting on her blog, “I'm going to say as many nice things as I can to as many people as I can, and I'm going to do it in a dress that fits these beautiful new curves with my 'watermelon' stomach showing."
We applaud the positive-thinking news anchor and share these equally rude comments that are the definition of what not to say to a pregnant woman.
“Wow, you are HUGE!”
We’ve heard every possible variation of this one, including, “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”—or in one case, “Are you ready for triplets?” (Really!!) Then there are the people who shout from a passing car, “Hey lady, when are you going to pop!”
One mom remembers telling a colleague that she was expecting, only to hear, “Oh, you’re pregnant? I just thought you were eating too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
Another recalls hearing, just as she entered her sixth month, “So, are you ready to have that baby this week?” (Not sure of someone’s due date? Ask first!)
And then there is the friend with no filter, who blurted out to her yoga-practicing newly pregnant pal, “I’m finally going to be skinnier than you!”
“Gee, you don’t look very good.”
It’s tough enough to deal with the hormones, getting up to pee a dozen times each night, and changes in your skin without having other people share unhelpful comments like, “Gee, you look really tired, you should try to get more sleep,” and “Did you know you have a weird blotch on your face?”
But the best one we’ve heard is this, to a woman near her due date who got all dressed up for a fancy, pre-baby lunch. An old lady stopped by her table and said, “You must be having a girl. I can tell because girls rob your looks.”
“Let me tell you a scary story…”
When you’re pregnant, the last thing you want to hear is about someone else’s epic labor, emergency C-section, or other health scares. But sometimes it seems like that’s all people want to tell you!
“You and your husband are so tall, I’m sure your baby will be massive and you’ll need a C-section.”
If you want to have a natural birth, get ready to hear everyone’s opinion of why that won’t work. “My friend thought she wouldn’t need an epidural, but after 36 hours of painful back labor, she was begging for one!”
This one takes the cake, shared with us by a new mom who called her husband’s grandmother to share the news of her first great-grandchild: “Did you buy life insurance for her? Our neighbor’s baby just died and they couldn’t pay for the funeral.” Thanks, Grandma. I’ll just go sob in the corner for a few hours now.
“Was it planned?”
This one dips far too into the “none of your business” category. There may be months or years of fertility treatments and miscarriages involved, or, sure it might have been a happy accident. Either way, instead of digging for personal details, try for a simple: “How wonderful, congratulations!” Other personal questions and comments to avoid:
“You’re having twins? You must have had IVF, right?”
“Pregnant again so soon? I guess that birth control didn’t work!”
“Oh, you’re having another boy? You’re going to keep trying for a girl, right?”
“You still look pregnant!”
Unfortunately, the rude comments don’t stop after you’ve given birth. One mom came home with her three-day-old baby only to have an older neighbor say, “Huh! You look like you’re still pregnant! When I came home from the hospital with my baby, I was skinnier than before I got pregnant.” Sounds more like a case of faulty memory than helpful advice.
Another arrived at her six-week postpartum checkup asking her doctor about birth control, since her husband was ready to go, and the doctor said, “He is? That’s so sweet that he wants to have sex with you when you look like this!”
But our favorite comeback is from this mom of teenagers, who still sometimes gets asked, “When is the baby due?” Her response: “Fifteen and a half years ago.”