My husband suggested that after the Title of this post it should just be blank. Very funny, asshole.
There are about a million posts now about the horrible things people should *never* say to someone who is expecting. And sometimes I will see a comment or two on them that suggest that pregnant women are just way too sensitive and take everything the wrong way or too personally. Well, that may be the case, but unless you want to make someone with child more uncomfortable than she already is, you can do her a favor by not saying something she really doesn’t want to hear, and talk about SOMETHING ELSE. You can’t control her hormones, her stress-level, her perception of the statement, all you can do is control what comes out of your mouth. So, to help you navigate what may feel like a potential mine-field to some or a bizarre foreign land to others, I’ve complied a list of “safe” things to say/talk about when you find yourself in the company of a expectant mother, with help from a friend who was more recently in the game. You are most welcome, pregnant ladies.
1. Try talking about something NOT baby related.
Seems obvious, no? If a pregnant woman simply loves talking about her unborn, she will probably bring it up first. In many circumstances, she’s probably relieved to just talk about something normal, and not be seen for the “vessel” role she’s currently playing. If it’s early in the pregnancy, you might not want to talk about food too much (nausea) and if it’s getting late in the game, you might not want to flaunt your recent diet/workout success, but otherwise, TV shows, movies, the news, the weather… the usual fun things are at your disposal.
2. If you simply must comment on her appearance, you will limit your statements to glowing compliments.
Examples: “you look amazing,” “I love your outfit,” and “what an adorable bump!” Telling her things about her “size” even if you mean well are loaded with all kinds of unintended meanings, if she’s worried about gaining weight at the right rate a well-intentioned “you barely look pregnant” can be hard to take.
3. Ask her about any fun or interesting things she’s done lately to get ready for the baby.
She can bring up, on her own, things like baby showers, putting together a nursery, or prenatal yoga or whatever without feeling like she has to justify why she isn’t having a shower, why she hasn’t gotten around to buying stuff, or why she hasn’t felt like getting off the sofa in months.
4. If you really want to know when she’s due, maybe be creative in how you ask. But only if you really want to know.
If it’s a friend, a co-worker, someone you see often, I can understand why knowing when she’s due is nice. But if you are running into someone in a shop or at an event, and you probably will never see them again, why do you care? I think I was asked when I was due about 20 times a day. It gets old. I imagine it’s akin to being Ryan Gosling and being told how attractive you are or say “hey girl.” At a certain point, you get tired of hearing it from random strangers. If the due date is especially soon, it’s even more troublesome. If you really want to know when someone is due and would like to also enliven the question, ask if they know their unborn’s birthstone, their astrological sign, what famous people they will share potential birth-months… It’s a roundabout way of asking, but it’s less repetitive than “so when are you due?” and the subtle sizing-up of how big you are to see if that makes sense.
5. Tell her about cool parks, playgrounds, activities, or cute stores you may have seen for parents with babies.
Even if she’s not interested, it’s nice to know about these things and it’s hard to keep up with all the information out there.
6. Ask if she needs your help with anything.
Don’t insist she can’t do something, needs to sit down, or force a bottle of water on her (all things I experienced pretty often) but merely offer a general statement of helpfulness and it will be appreciated.
7. Discuss fun and wonderful things about babies.
If you have a baby in your life, you can include what lovely things you’ve done with them. Whatever you do, don’t be negative about babies or the lack of sleep they bring or the messes or the huge life-changes. It’s almost never informative, it’s typically unwelcome. Hearing about nice things involving babies is a much more pleasant conversation.
8. If you are better acquainted, you may ask how the family reacted to the baby news.
If you are friends and know that there are no potentially uncomfortable topics in this area for the mom-to-be (her parents are upset, the father is out of the picture, etc) you can talk more freely about how the relatives have responded to the new baby coming.
9. Ask how she’s feeling but be prepared for the truth.
It might not be great. You can probably guess she’s tired, having all kinds of aches and pains, heartburn, or nausea… When you get the full report, what is your ready response? You might want to think of that in advance. It should be noted that if she responds that she feels great, under no circumstances should you point out that it won’t last.
10. If the lady you’re talking to appears to be very close to her due-date, consider restricting your conversation to #1.
Please refrain from indicating she’s about to “pop” or suggesting that she is failing to do something to get the show on the road. You would not believe how many people do this. Since there is a giant weight on her back, hips, ribcage, reminding her every second of the coming baby, talking about other things is probably best. If she wants to vent, it’s nice to let her, don’t compete with it, just circle back to #1 when you can.