…to a pregnant woman. Its almost as if they see that burgeoning belly and they think that its open season to unleash some of the most insulting, rude, insensitive, insert-any-negative-adjective-here comments upon the mother-to-be.
Well, friends, I’m nearly seven months pregnant. I’m puffy. I’m tired. I’m winded. I have what feels like a baby dolphin swimming around violently inside me at all times. Don’t even get me started on how “well” I’ve been sleeping. Suffice to say that I’m on the precipice of UFC-punching the next person to throw a backhanded statement my way.
But I’m not a violent person. And, its Lent. I feel like violence and Lent don’t really mix.
So, reader, I’m going to share some of the real doozies that I’ve heard throughout the past half-year. It will be cathartic for me, and, I hope, amusing for you. Some of them still make me chuckle a bit when I think of how incredibly socially inept the speaker of said comment must be.
Before I begin, in case you’ve never dealt with a pregnant woman before, I’m going to share some of the acceptable phrases/comments that you may say if you encounter one. It doesn’t matter if you really feel this way about a person. Say these things anyway. None of the following should earn you a backhand to the cheek:
Wow, you’re seven months pregnant? I can’t even tell!
You’re all belly – you don’t even look like you gained weight anywhere else!
I didn’t even realize you were pregnant until you turned around!
Want this free brownie sundae?
You don’t look pregnant from the front/back!
…and you can’t go wrong with, “you look great/beautiful/lovely/stunning/model-esque.”
And now I’m going to share with you some of the 100% actual real life really really super I’m not lying to you things that people have said to me. NONE of it has been exaggerated. NONE of it has been embellished. People actually said these things to me.
Now, I’m a nice Catholic girl, so I took all of this in stride. Plus I have some coworkers to whom I often vent about this very topic, and they always reassure me with one of the comments that I’ve outlined above. And although I may have been smiling on the outside… well, you can imagine what I might have preferred to have responded with… I’ll include that as well. A little glimpse into my inner-monologue. Don’t judge me. No one has yet given me that free brownie sundae that I mentioned above and I’m irritable.
“I bet you’re going to get huge!” I was told this before I had even gained an ounce. Why would you say this to someone? Do you WANT me to get huge? Will you, if I’m huge, look smaller if you stand next to me? You know what I want? I want to throw a brick at your head.
“Was the baby planned or was he an accident?” AN ACCIDENT? Can you imagine asking someone this? A woman who I did not even KNOW came up to me at church and asked me this. Perhaps, from a friend, I could understand asking if we had planned it or if it was a “surprise”… but an accident? I hope you get in an accident with an oil tanker later today.
“So, how much weight have you gained?” How much weight have I gained? Go F#*K yourself. That’s how much weight I’ve gained.
“You’re pregnant? I thought maybe you were just getting fat.” Um, a priest said that to me, so I’m going to withhold the snide inner-commentary on that one.
“Oh, you’re X months along? I had a miscarriage when I was X months.” Shame on you for even bringing up the “M” word to an expectant mother.
“Are you upset that you’re not having a girl?” What kind of question is this to ask someone? Am I disappointed? Nope, because obviously my plan is to still pretend he’s a girl, stick him in a pink Easter dress and force him to play with my old Barbies. Idiot.
“You should breastfeed.” Yeah. You know what? Your life choices are your life choices, and my life choices are my life choices. Want to breastfeed? Great! Want to formula feed? Great! Want to buy your own dairy cow and let your infant suck directly from the bovine teat? Hey, its not my business… So, please mind YOUR business when it comes to MY child. Thanks.
…there have been others, but there is one final comment that I’d like to share with you that truly left me speechless. I’m rarely dumfounded and I’m pretty quick on my feet, but I could not believe that someone actually said the following to me. Someone with whom I had NEVER, to that point, even had a single conversation:
“Its selfish of you and your husband to only have one child because someday you’ll both be dead and your child will be all alone in the world.” Yup. Someone SAID that to me. Verbatim. I was four months pregnant at the time and someone informed me that, indeed, someday I would be DEAD, my husband would be DEAD and my unborn child would be a lonely depressed mess all because we only wanted one child. Wow.
And there are so many others that I’m sure you’ve all gotten. A close friend of mine took some very beautiful maternity photos and was asked “how many babies do you have in there?” Can you believe that? And 99% of these comments come from other women. I just hope that we’re all teaching our children – male or female, planned or ACCIDENTAL – the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything all” because it seems as if many of us sure as hell aren’t abiding by it.
Here I am, all huge and fat and crying about my accidental baby boy: