Stares and odd-ball comments that just make you shake your head. That’s what happens when you’re pregnant. April the giraffe knows what I’m talking about! I’m sure she is humming, “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me”. People look at your belly and then at you, with a look of shock and awe, and dare I say horror?
Then if you’re really lucky, the comments begin.
“Oh my gosh, you’re huge!”
“When are you going to have that baby?”
“Are you sure it isn’t twins?”
“Why isn’t your doctor inducing you?”
“How far dilated are you?”
“I’d be bustin’ out the epidural now if I were you!”
Do people really think before they speak?
After the dizziness goes away from shaking my head so much, I wonder about these comments. Do people really think before they speak? Do they say these things because they think they really deserve an answer about your private self? Do they mean to insinuate you look like the broad side of a barn? And is this supposed to make you feel good about yourself?
Perhaps people are truly in awe of the pregnant body, and “you’re huge” is a comment of awe and wonder, in a good sense.
In general, choosing your words carefully and not letting your eyeballs pop out of your head might be a wiser direction to go. Here are a few reminders for those of you that speak before you think, or need a lesson in how to address a pregnant person.
- AVOID COMMENTS ABOUT SIZE. Trust me, we know how big our bellies are, we have to find clothes every day, we own mirrors, and we might not be able to see our toes. A comment about my size will not endear you to me, and is generally unwanted. Instead, how about a compliment “you are looking fabulous today” or “you make pregnant look good”.
- AVOID QUESTIONS ABOUT MY CERVIX. Do you really want me to share details about my cervix with you? About what is happening in my vagina? Don’t get me started because there’s a hell of a lot going on down there. I’m just not sure your question doesn’t cross a personal line. Kind of like me asking you about various orifices on your body. And point of education, cervical dilation is only one component of labor, sometimes it happens steadily, sometimes it waits until the end.
- DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR ME. Comments about induction, epidurals, home birth vs hospital birth, midwife vs doctor, and how I might want to choose what you feel is best are called unsolicited advice. If you know me, and you want to buy me a cup of tea, and maybe rub my feet, then maybe you could ask me what my thoughts are on these subjects. But besides that, just no. I am a thinking person, capable of making choices, and I even know how to ask questions and how to “Google”. What worked best for you, may not be the best choice for me. If I want to know what you feel is best, I will ask.
- DO OFFER TO MAKE THINGS A LITTLE EASIER FOR ME. Open a door for me, leave a close parking space for me, offer me a glass of water or a snack, get a pedicure with me, organize a postpartum meal train for me, or better yet – giftcard me a labor doula and a postpartum doula for the baby shower that you throw me.
Think before you speak and stare. April the giraffe and pregnant people everywhere thank you!