At 32 weeks pregnant with my second child I've finally gained some perspective and a thicker skin about the surprising and insensitive things that people say to woman in one of her most fragile times -- pregnancy.
While most women spend their entire lives trying to lose or maintain their weight, pregnancy can be a troubling time considering that no matter what you do, no matter what your pregnancy craving is (kale in my case), the number on the scale is only going to go up for 9 months.
Although we realize that we're selflessly giving our bodies for the creation of a new life and all that, it seems that the general public doesn't remember that there's still a real woman in there, behind the baby -- a real woman with real feelings about her body.
Since it seems that many people have no idea what is appropriate to say to a pregnant woman, I've written a few guidelines based on the comments that sent me home crying over my last two pregnancies. You should never say to a pregnant woman:
1. Are you sure there's only one in there?
2. Are you sure that your due date is correct? You look like you're going to have this baby tomorrow.
3. You're so lucky that you can eat anything you want when you're pregnant.
4. You must be having a big baby.
5. You're carrying all out front so it must be a boy.
6. Girls really spread you out. You know what they say, girls steal their mother's beauty.
7. You popped right away, didn't you?
8. Were you that big with your first?
9. How much weight have you gained?
10. I think you're going to have that baby early.
11. You're probably going to need a C-section to get that baby out.
12. You really are eating for two.
13. Is your husband a big guy?
14. You must have wicked stretch marks.
15. Don't worry, you'll lose all the baby weight if you breastfeed.
You might be thinking these are things a reasonable person would never say to a pregnant woman about her body, but I've heard them all nonetheless. I'm sure that women who don't show until later in the pregnancy have to deal with just as many comments questioning their size and the health of their baby. At 5 feet tall with a first child that weighed in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. at birth, I never got to have that experience.
So the next time you see a pregnant woman and start to judge the size of her belly, big or small, instead just say, "Congratulations on the baby. You look beautiful."