Twice this weekend I was told that I looked tired or exhausted (which I was but I definitely didn’t need people calling out my dark circles and unwashed hair). I drove to Charlotte on Friday after working all day, had a baby shower on Saturday and then drove back home Saturday evening. So yes… I was tired – but for the very best reason: getting to celebrate my baby with my friends and family (and spending some quality time with my niece and nephew)! Then I had someone who was surprised when I said I am not due until January. Your shocked face only makes me feel like I’m twice as large as I should be at this stage. Close your mouth before a fly gets in there. So here we go, my top 5 things not to say to a pregnant woman:
- You look tired. Pregnant women ARE tired. Not all the time but definitely in the first and third trimesters. They’re waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, they’re pumping twice the normal amount of blood through their body, and they’re carrying around extra weight to do normal daily activities. Oh, and did I mention – they’re GROWING A HUMAN?!
- You’re going to have that baby any day now. Unless you are her doctor or you know she’s being induced in a few days, then this is better left unsaid. Especially because you might accidentally say it to someone who isn’t due for another 2 months. It’s dangerous to assume you know where someone is in their pregnancy and if she ISN’T giving birth in a few days, you’ll likely hurt her feelings and make her feel very large.
- I didn’t have to wear maternity clothes until…. / I never wore X when I was pregnant. Unless you were pregnant in HER body, then you’re different. Because every one is different. Every pregnancy is different. Also, what’s the point of saying this? Honestly, the second I stopped trying to stuff myself into my regular clothes and embraced maternity pants was one of the greatest moments of my life.
- Look how swollen your feet are. Unless she is blind, she is likely already aware of her swollen feet… and swollen hands, and breasts and cheeks and oh, the rest of her body. She does not need you to point this out to her, especially if she is late in her pregnancy. Also, you don’t need to tell her that her favorite shoes aren’t going to fit for much longer. She’s probably figured this out already and who wants to worry about what shoes they’re going to wear in the last few months of pregnancy? Do I buy new ones that will only fit for these few months or am I going to have to replace ALL of my shoes? Don’t stress her out over that kind of stuff.
- It’s going to take a while to get your body back / It’s not easy to lose the weight / your body will never be the same. Refer to #3 – because again, your bodies are different, you may have done things differently postpartum for losing the weight, and it is likely harder for some than others but no one needs someone to make them worry about that any more than they already were. Sure, maybe her body won’t look exactly like it did before and maybe running a mile will feel like pure torture at first but I’m a firm believer in that you can do anything you put your mind to, so if someone is motivated and dedicated enough to getting their body back, then they’ll do it. Maybe not by 3 months postpartum, but they’ll get there. The only thing you should mention related to this topic is that she WILL get there and maybe not to be too hard on herself.
As a bonus, I’ll add: don’t tell her stories about people who were at her same gestational stage and delivered early, miscarried, found out anything traumatic, developed some rare disease, etc. You are not helping ANYTHING and will only make this poor girl worry unnecessarily and harass her doctors when she fears one of those things is wrong with her/her baby.
Now, I clearly didn’t pull this out of thin air. These are all things that have been said to me in the past 7 months. Most of them I’ve brushed off because I’m almost to a point of not caring but I also know that people aren’t mean spirited, they’re just not thinking. At least no one has pointed out my newly formed double chin that is visible in EVERY picture I take.
What did you hear when you were pregnant that you’d add to this list?