In a society where privacy is ever so quickly dwindling 140 characters at a time and the list of taboo topics are sparse now that twerking has been added to the dictionary, you will find throughout your pregnancy that nothing is off-limits. Suddenly your growing waistline is everyone's business. Not just your mother-in-law and nosy coworkers but the strangers you encounter every day will become suddenly and disturbingly concerned about your mothering endeavors. The first, "how far along?" will bring a proud smile to your face but by the fifteenth "Can I touch your belly?" you might finally be ready to take your own mother's advice: Don't talk to strangers.
1. I bet you're ready to pop any day, huh? Excitedly asked by a woman with small hips and perky breasts. Likely this is said months before your actual due date. This question has been known to be followed up by "How much have you gained?" Don't answer that, no one will make you. A quick glare and "What are you? My doctor?" should do the trick. Also, babies do not pop -- that is not how this works.
2. Is it a boy or girl? This question is not ridiculous when asked by the child's father or a future doting grandparents but when asked by a stranger -- who cares? I will never see you again and my son/daughter will not be able to identify you in a lineup. This is only obnoxious because no matter what answer you give, they will likely respond with their gut feeling, based on absolutely no logical factor, that your baby is a boy when it is actually a girl or a girl when it is in fact a boy. Just let them have that moment of faux accuracy.
3. Are you planning on breastfeeding? Do you ask strangers what their future plans are for their breasts? No. Not only is this already a controversial topic but also what difference does it make to a stranger what type of nutrients your baby will be getting or for how long? I like to respond with a smile and a "my baby is gluten, soy, lactose intolerant." Let them wrap their minds around that.
4. Is he the father? This will be asked in a whisper, accompanied by a point, about any man that happens to be walking with you, enjoying a meal with you or standing just close enough to give the impression that he could have at one point impregnated you. They may as well have flat-out asked you "Did you guys have sex?" Just say yes and keep walking because I promise they won't hold you accountable for the answer you give.
5. Are you going to deliver naturally? Why people need a visual of what is or isn't coming out of your vagina is beyond me. There is no right answer to this, if you say no or if you say yes the response will be the same, "Oh" followed by a look of perplexity, because even they don't know where they thought that conversation was going to go.
6. Can I touch your belly? This is immediately offensive because no one refers to a stomach as a belly unless they are referring to Santa Claus. Aside from that, in what other situation is it acceptable to caress a stranger? Never. It is never acceptable. Yet the only possible response to this question is to say yes because what kind of heartless monster would deprive another human being from experiencing the creation of life?
7. Was it planned? Unless you are a tween or a homeschooled Lutheran, you know where babies come from and how to stop them. If you are having unprotected or lazy-protected sex, your baby was planned. If you aren't sure by whom, check with the depths of your soul.
8. Will he be circumcised? My immediate response is, "Why? Are you planning on sleeping with him?" It is not important whether this is asked by a man or woman, that response will silence them long enough for you to get away. It is no one's business what you choose to do or not to do with your babies' penis. Well... that's not entirely true. This is America; we have laws.
9. How do you feel? I'm a pregnant woman -- how do you think I feel? I have barely enough energy to throw up all of the bizarre food combinations that I chose to eat, there is a gnome tap dancing on my bladder and I haven't seen my vagina, let alone USED it in weeks! Better to just say "blessed" and keep walking because the reality is that no one wants to hear about your problems.
10. Where are you going to deliver? Seriously, guy with terrifying facial hair and white wash jeans, why do you care? Are you going to send me a gift? Are you going to cut the cord? Or you going to personally show up to my birthing suite and hold my hand? You don't care about this answer so why are you asking it? I suggest bending over in fake pain while grunting out the words, "right here."
The only thing pregnant women hate more than forced temporary sobriety is forced small talk with strangers, but it seems that as long as there are pregnancies, there will be strangers demanding to know all about them.