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Friday
Jul012011

What People Say to Pregnant Women

A pregnant woman asked, on my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page, if she was the only one that got crazy comments from strangers. Here are the responses she got. They tended to be centered around size, but I’ve certainly heard women share stories of out-of-this-world stupid comments. What’s been said to you?

J: I was told once I looked like a house, thanks. Or there was the one time the couple having twins questioned if I was too since I was bigger than she was.
 
N: I could write a book!
 
M: I am 38 weeks today with #3 and generally don't make eye contact and walk fast. People realize I am busy I suppose. After having 2 kids I still said a stupid, stupid thing to a (non) pregnant woman! And I kept digging a hole deeper and deeper. I swore never to talk to a stranger who I think is pregnant again!
 
T: You're not the first. The worst for me was people grabbed my belly without even asking. Once I told a woman I didn't know who just walked up and laid her hands on me to eff off and she said, "If you don't want your belly to be touched then maybe you should stay home!" Really?! People....
 
K: A woman did that to me once and so I put my hand on her non-pregnant belly. When she gave me a funny look, I looked her straight in the eye and said "awkward isn't it?"
 
K: It's an unwritten law that states that when a woman starts to show her belly becomes public domain, didn't you know that? (complete and total sarcasm).
 
J: I'm 41+3 today... I keep getting asked why I haven't had the baby or if I will ever have the baby. The worst is having every stranger I see say I look like I'm about to pop. 
 
S: On the other side, at 38 weeks, I always got the obnoxious "Oh, I was that size at 10 weeks" comments (ok, not literally, but it felt like it). BTW, if you've ever said something like that or THOUGHT about saying something like that, please don't. It's a great way to make a pregnant mama feel bad about herself. People should really just tell you how beautiful your belly is and leave it at that!!
 
D: NST's at 36 weeks in the hospital and they're telling me I must be close to having that baby and that I probably would have it soon since I looked so far along. These were nurses on L&D. I went 3 more weeks.
 
B: What bugs me most is when people realize you're pregnant and they have to tell you their horror birth story. It usually was something like "I was in labor for 4 days, pushed for 3 hours, ripped my bottom to shreds and my baby was born blue and wouldn't breathe and then I hemorrhaged". Seriously, I think I heard it all!
 
S: I had one of my husband's bosses' wives ask to "rub my belly for luck" at a Christmas party when I was nearly due. I honestly think she would have had more luck getting pregnant by, you know, having sex with her husband.
 
C: HaveYouHadThatBabyYet.com 
 
M: The best part about looking like a total b*tch is that, no one, besides an in-law, has laid any hands on any of my pregnant bellies. I've got a few weeks left to go, but if anyone grabs me, I'll be sure to grab them inappropriately right back... and not on their tummies.
 
W: On the other side after being told I was having a premature cesarean section the next day because of IUGR (IntraUterine Growth Restriction), I was told by one of my mom's volunteers (so I had to be nice) that I didn't even look pregnant at 34 weeks. It crushed me. I just said "that's because things aren't going well." And walked away. I am sure she meant it as a compliment but it just reminded me of another thing that didn't happen with that pregnancy: I didn't show.

S: I had someone tell me the other day that I looked "so small". Ok, not too bad, at least until she started asking me if I had gained enough weight and if my baby was growing well enough. Um... yes!! And if he wasn't, do you really think I would talk about it with you, a virtual stranger?? Geez lady!
 
S: I had an aunt tell me to "stop sucking it in!" in a 32ish week pic. MIL exclaimed upon seeing me for the first time in 3 months "You're SO much bigger than Jonathan made it sound like on the phone!" and an evening cook that I didn't normally work with told me at about 35 weeks that I looked a lot bigger than when I got hired at 19 weeks.
 
A: Gotta find the positive side- I work at the front desk in a medical office and got comments and questions all the time, from my 4th month on up. Since I saw a lot of these patients on a regular basis, I decided to have fun with it and host a baby pool. Everyone that put in a dollar got to pick a due date and sex of the baby. This way, the conversation was on whoever picked that date, rather than all the ins and outs of my size.
 
B: My daughter's preschool teacher said "Well either you swallowed a watermelon, or your pregnant!" um... duh.... who swallows a watermelon. Sorry if this sounds rude, but I always thought to myself "Just because you can tell I am pregnant doesnt make it any of your business."
 
A: People somehow suffer from foot in mouth disease when around a pregnant woman... must be all the hormones. I had a woman ask if the twins were my first. When I mentioned that I had 3 older children, she responded with, "Well, the 2 will probably just fall out." snicker at own rudeness. I was speechless at that moment and just walked away.
 
E: A friend of mine broke her leg as an adult and said she couldn't wait to get the cast off because she was so sick of random strangers making dumb comments. I was like, imagine that for NINE MONTHS! That is being pregnant!
 
A: The one thing I keep getting constantly is people commenting on my eating habits (which are extremely healthy, my midwife said I was so perfect it was scaring her). If someone sees me pick up a (rare) chip or a piece of candy they all jump on me! "Are you supposed to be eating that?", "I hope that's not your dinner pregnant lady!" (I was eating a handful of chips after finishing a nectarine, a tomato, some cucumber spears & a sandwich! I think it's because I'm not showing very much yet so everyone latches onto my eating habits as something to comment on.
 
A: People started asking me at 16 weeks if I was pregnant with twins. When I said that I wasn't. They said, "Are you sure?!" Never failed.
 
A: With my second pregnancy, my mom loved saying how the weight wasn't showing on my face like it apparently had with my first. Gee, thanks. Even better was my grandmother who always asked "Are you tired? You look tired." No, of course not. I'm just 8 months pregnant and I've been chasing a three-year old around all day.
 
R: I'm 39 and 5 today... The text messages, emails, 'Facebook pm's, phone calls, random belly jabs, and comments while out are driving me wild. I even have people showing up at my house at random and sitting down... staring at me for an hour as if it will happen on command, and then leaving because there is no action to be seen except for a large woman on her couch. I am so fugging tired of me and my birth and my baby and belly being public domain. This is from friends and family who've had babies themselves. If they aren't laying claim to my belly, it's to early visits!!! We were supposed to have a home birth and certain family members offered to show up and "help". With three midwives, a doula, hubby, and my dogs - my house is a little packed at less than 800 sq feet of upstairs and a very small living room/kitchen. Our home birth is cancelled but I assume the watchers will be coming to the hospital now!! Or knowing that with early discharge we can be home 3 hours after babe and there is no crazy unit clerk at my house to police the visitors, I am tempted to ask to stay in the hospital for a few days and get my meals catered and rent a bunch of movies to avoid people so we can rest and have our privacy. This bothers me; I am a home birth advocate.
 
C: I think if you are generally scary and stare down people who are coming at you, they leave you alone. That is to say I haven't had that problem once out of 3 full term pregnancies, just my folks asking (because they are not afraid) "Isn't it time yet?"
 
L: Nope. You're not the only lucky one. I start to want to avoid Wal-Mart around week 35 (not sure why, but Wal-Mart was the WORST). I have had 2 10lb+ babies and carry way out in front. I think I've heard it all: twin comments, ready to pop comments, waddling comments, you haven't had your baby yet? (starting at 32wks), will your doctor let you go any longer? (at 38wks... due to "big baby"). Men would compare their bellies to mine (at least mine has a better reason, right?), or tell me how miserable I looked (um, I wasn't miserable, last I checked)... it never stopped. I even got called chubby once (didn't help that I was overweight to start with, but, seriously. really?) or told that I was going to have to start working on losing weight.

I was a lot more emotionally prepared for it the second time 'round. What would make me the most mad were the stupid comments from ladies who had had kids before. Were their memories really that faded or did people just not make stupid comments when they were pregnant? I even asked one lady that (who had just said something insensitive) and she just laughed and remembered that yes, she remembered how annoying it was when she was pregnant, too... ?!? Whatever.
 
P: I've got an opposite story - I saw a pregnant woman in the store and she had (in my opinion) one of the most beautifully shaped bellies ever. Of course I'm a bit biased because I'm one of those, all pregnant bodies are beautiful type people......Anyway, I kept smiling at her. Couldn't help myself. She finally snapped at me: "What are you smiling at!?! You have something to say about my belly". Instead of offending me, I just kept smiling and said: "Oh, I just had a baby and I just think pregnancy is wonderful". Boy that was a mistake, she got more pissed and told me to keep my lovey dovey feelings to myself and I should think before I speak..She unloaded. I told her sorry, and me and Simone (my baby) got the hell out of there. Once I was in the car, I couldn't stop laughing. I knew that ass-chewing I got really belong to the other morons who've undoubtedly said far worst things to her and I totally understood. By the time I was driving I was cracking up, thinking I wish I'd unloaded a few times like that on a few choice people.
 
K: I'm not alone! People are just stupid!
 
B: I have to tell my husband all the time that the worst thing you can say to any woman is "you look tired" its awful. People always think they have to acknowledge a womans pregnant state and they say the stupidest things.

My daughter Meghann at 31w2d (due 8/30/11). She gets her share of stupid comments, too. No one's immune!

 

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Reader Comments (14)

First time around I got a lot of "I had no clue you are pregnant" comments, that just made me so upset. I was big, but not so big that you couldn't tell I was hugely pregnant. Second time around, I got a lot of, "This is your last baby, right?" comments, especially from people at work. As if I wasn't allowed to have more than 2 children because it would interfere with work. Whatever. So I started telling people I wanted to be like the Duggars and have as many kids as I could. I even started talking about buying a 15 passenger van to hold all the kids. I really couldn't believe that it was anyone else's concern how many children I have! (I don't want 19 children, but the expression on people's faces was priceless!) Then I got the "What are you having?" and "What's the name?" questions. We got really tired of hearing everyone's opinions of the names we were considering for our first baby, that we vowed to not tell anyone. When people in my family got mad over that, we made up ridiculous sounding names just to have something to tell someone. I think it was "Giuseppi Cho" for a boy, and "Rosalita Sunshine" for a girl. After a while, people figured out that we were messing with them and stopped asking. And they just couldn't understand why we didn't want to know the sex! It just drove people batty! And don't even get me started on the whole natural birth thing! Can't count how many people were asking me if I planned to get the epidural in the parking lot, and the looks of shock on their faces when I told them I didn't want another epidural! Priceless!

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen B

re: the watched pot syndrome....don't tell people your due date. add 2 weeks and people will leave you alone for longer.

if people are still being rude, change your voicemail message to something very sweet yet firm: "thanks for thinking of us, we'll be sure to let you know when we have news" and then screen your calls.

similarly, it's YOUR birth and you don't have to tell people when you are in labor. set some boundaries, even if it's a silent agreement with yourself that you will call your midwife/doula/partner and that's it. nobody can crash a party if they don't know when it's happening.

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

"are you having a boy or a girl?"

~"yes."

cue confused look.

July 1, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternolabarb

I got a lot of comments like "there's no way you'll make it to your due date" or " maybe you are having twins." As long as I liked the person in general I found it didn't bother me. I was bothered by one comment, but I think that was more because of who said it than what she said. I also was huge - measuring 40-41cm from about 36/37 weeks. And I did make it to my due date. And my daughter was 8.5 lbs. Not that big.

July 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I am 31 weeks today, and I have started snapping, "Don't touch!" at people. Luckily, my family gets it and doesn't touch me. I have an EXTREMELY sensitive belly button, and have had random strangers poke it. How horrible is that?!?!? I would never touch someone else's belly button, why do they touch mine?!?!?

Kate
idreamloudly.com

July 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

What, no other skinny ladies have gotten this one? "There's no way that baby's coming out naturally through those hips." Folks, just don't talk unless you know what the heck you are talking about.

July 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle

I have relatively easy pregnancies, and enjoy being pregnant. I tend to carry out in front, and am relatively short waisted, so I look pretty pregnant pretty early, and got pretty huge by the end. With my last baby (#4, who we were sure would be our last) people drove me insane the last month. "Are you STILL pregnant?" started around 36 weeks. Um, yeah - cuz I'm not due for a month. By the last week, it was actually interfering with my enjoyment of the end of pregnancy. I wanted to stay home and lie on my couch and enjoy my belly in peace, knowing I wouldn't be pregnant ever again in just a few short days. The last few days I was really cranky - not with the pregnancy itself, but all the idiots who were sure I was miserable and humongous. Every one who said "Are you STILL pregnant?" to me got a crabby earful: "No, I not still pregnant. I had the baby, and left it at home, and stuffed a basketball under my shirt and came to work anyway so I could listen to all these stupid comments." Word spread around the hospital and folks stopped making comments and started looking at me warily and backing away instead.

July 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdoctorjen

I never got comments or belly rubs from strangers. Never. Maybe it's a Canadian thing to keep our hands off strangers? My mom did tell me, 3 weeks PP, to stop wearing the maternity clothes, LOL. I did get some comments about my size...the first time I was small, the next two I was showing early and quite a bit but by the end I was looking small again...but people weren't rude, they were just interested/small talk.

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTracyKM

I just wacked a lady's hand at the grocery store with the tabloid I was reading while waiting for the check out. She snuck under the magazine and I was shocked at being touched. Then she got all indignant because I hit her. I told her she scared me, and I could call the police to have her charged with simple assault if she would rather.

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendyLou

Wowie zowie! Some people have serious nerve, eh?

July 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

The WORST comments I get are from my family..."You MUST be having twins!"
It happened with my last baby....after 4 ultrasounds CONFIRMING that there were no twins, they still told me I was so huge and I must be having twins. Low and behold, only one baby came out.

Shocking. :/

July 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

I am pregnant with my 4th, 22 weeks and almost daily I hear stupid comments...the best was 3 weeks ago when i went to the store to buy travel sized shampoo's and stuff and the woman scanning me out gave me the 101 on where I was going and for how long and then finally she came out with it and said are you sure you should be traveling in your condition and asked back whats wrong with my condition, she replied well you must be due any day - I am not due for 4 more months!

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

I'm sorry - I'm a bit behind the ball here but I just found your blog and I have a six week old (my second). I just cant help adding my own gems.

When I was about 37 weeks I had woman comment on how ohmagawd I looked ready to burst (uh, thanks) and then state (not a question, but a statement) that this is my first. When I told her no, in fact a had a two year old at home I was rewarded with "Ohmagawd! How OLD are you?" Um, apparently old enough to be embarrassed by the question shouted at me in a crowded coffee shop!

Also talking with our UPS driver - "You're pregnant? Well how old is the other one? Oh, two and a half -- well that's ok then." Oh thank goodness you approve. Now we don't have to worry about you withholding our packages for improper child spacing! Whew!

I made the mistake of telling people I was due on Christmas (stupid stupid stupid). All through Christmas dinner: "Better eat fast because you're running out of time! Hurry, hurry!" "Why haven't you had that baby yet?" I was actually do adgitated that I had to leave for a while.

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBergen

My breasts grew from size A to C during my pregnancy. When my cousin hugged me at six months, she exclaimed, "Whoa, girl, you got some mommy-knockers!" I had to laugh!

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAubrey

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