The things that people say to pregnant women are almost impossible. Pregnancy, a once normal condition that rarely invited comments, has now become this huge deal that everyone in the outside feels they have to relate somehow and express some kind of opinion, comment or life view.
Googling the most common things that bother pregnant women I did not really find among the most popular reasons anything that offensive or shocking. As a pregnant woman today you should not really take offence easily but rather kindly try to see where every person is coming from. There is such an abundance of judgment around pregnancy out there that If you pay attention to every little thing you will drive yourself crazy or completely neurotic.
Weight gain remarks, unsolicited medical advice or assumptions about your postpartum life challenges (all often joined by uninvited belly touching), are things you should generally learn to shake off easily. We unfortunately live in times where pregnancy is seen as a lifestyle choice, as the Daily Mail “sidebar of shame” would agree. We see a pregnant woman in a voyeuristic gaze and instead of wishing her all the best and going on with our lives we try to spot that hard toll pregnancy has taken on her life, body and mindset.
I personally learnt not to mind weight gain remarks. When I first heard “Now that you grew fat you look like your mother” (Double compliment for me and my mother) by an old relative I did mind for a while, but then I put things in perspective. If it matters to him, it does not matter to me.
I still have to admit there seems to be some secret guilty pleasure some people feel in seeing a person who walked all their lives in skinny jeans now waddling down the street. It is the same guilty pleasure that the Daily Mail sidebar brings to people’s lives.
“So is your weight gain just baby or body fat as well?” Another old relative asked in deep concern.
Funnily enough, I do not care about that either. For one thing, there is people out there who genuinely and in all seriousness have these concerns. Give them a break.
What I do mind is horror stories. Anecdotal stories about miscarriages, birth defects and the like are things that pregnant women do NOT want to hear. You might have a sudden itch to share a horror story with your pregnant friend. Don’t do it. Keep your horror stories to yourself. Don’t even say that horrible word to her, in any sentence or context. It is possible that it might haunt her.
If you have to say something, you don’t even have to pay her a compliment about how good she still looks if you do not feel that is true. (Even though that would give her a secret joy that would make her day).
Just look at her and tell her with certainty: “I am sure that everything is going to be just fine”