Most of the time these comments and questions are well-intended, but poorly phrased.
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Wow! Was your pregnancy planned?
Both my husband and I were surprised by how frequently this question came up after revealing our big news. Neither of us hesitate to share, but it is certainly a personal discussion for most couples. What if they were not planning on it? Are you really prepared to get into that conversation? Or what if they were having fertility issues and it has been an emotional rollercoaster?
Not everyone's answer is going to be simple, and even if it is, why are you asking? Even though we were planning for this baby, I always found it to be an uncomfortable question to answer. Most people just nod and smile after our response, and the awkward silence leads me to wonder if you are doubting our promotion to parenthood.
Try rephrasing in a way that gives more context as to why you are asking such an intimate question. If you don't have good reason to ask other than being nosy, then maybe skip it.
Ex. "Do you mind sharing a bit about your journey to pregnancy? I ask because parenthood is something I've been thinking about lately."
Commenting on our weight rather than our pregnancy.
"You are huge! Are you sure there's not twins in there?" Or, "You are tiny! You just look like you're carrying extra weight, not a baby!" These are equally annoying. The last thing we want to be "complimented" on is what size we are; we all carry differently. I get it, our rounding bellies are adorable to you. You don't mean anything hurtful by this, but instead of commenting on our pregnancy, you're commenting on our general appearance.
Rephrase your words to make it clear that you are referring to the baby bump, not the baby weight. Also, end it with a question to show that you are actually interested in our journeys and that you are not just making fly-by judgments of our bodies.
Ex. "Baby must have grown since the last time I saw you! How far along are you now, and how are you feeling?"
Shutting down baby names like it's a game.
It is a big responsibility to bring a life into this world, and that responsibility starts with choosing a name. It is easy to look at this as the "fun part," but understand that it is way past fun and games for couples on a 9-month deadline. Chances are, the names we are sharing took hours of thought and hold sentimental value.
Sure, your opinion is warranted when we share our ideas, especially with family whose approval means everything in carrying the legacy forward, but there is a way to be honest while still being supportive. It's all too easy for people to shut down couples' ideas with irrelevant stories past of why someone has ruined that name; or disapproval that simply comes with a bout of laughter.
First ask how the couple came to their selection. It'll help you get a que on whether or not they're still in the market for names. If they're undecided, by all means, share your thoughts. If they sound pretty settled, throwing out more names is kind of like a slap in the face.
Ultimately, if you feel strongly about chiming in, then it might be worth the awkward conversation. Just pay attention to how you're coming across, and don't hold any expectations that the couple will change their mind. After all, it is their baby.
Ex. "Tell me more about how you two came to choose those names! And if it's still up for debate, I'd love to share some of my favorites."
What would you add to this list?