For most of us who are or have been pregnant (and I'm in the latter camp, so let's not start any rumors), it's the only time in our lives when we feel a little like a celebrity. Passersby smile at us. Strangers want to hold the door. And if we really have to, we can cut in line for the bathroom. But just like famous folks have to put up with their share of difficulties (Gwyneth Paltrow told USA Today the Met Ball was soooo hot and crowded this year), pregnant women have to put up with some common annoyances too. Ours come in the form of people.
The Bean Spiller: A Bean Spiller prides herself on having superhero-like abilities to determine when someone in her midst is pregnant. And, she likes to show off this ability to everyone any chance she has. If you're in the early stages of pregnancy and want to keep your pregnancy private, do not go out to dinner with a Bean Spiller. If you forgo wine, ask for your steak well-done, or even sneeze funny, a Bean Spiller's going to demand to know if you're pregnant. And she's going to do it loudly.
The Celebrity Who Shares Your Due Date: You're never going to actually meet this person, but they're still SO ANNOYING when you come into contact with them in the form of photos in magazines. She's the movie star, rock star or supermodel who shares your due date. And because, as a culture, we now worship at the for-some-reason-never-swollen-feet of pregnant celebrities, you are going to see this famous person the whole damn time you're pregnant. Then -- as an added bonus -- you're going to see her in a bikini on a magazine cover about two weeks after you give birth.
The It's Fine-ers: The "It's Fine-ers" want you to relax and just chill out. They don't want you to worry about things like pasteurization, alcohol intake or anything at all when you're pregnant. "Why aren't you drinking? You can have beer! You can totally have a beer right now. I drank beer when I was pregnant and my baby's just fine! And my mom did keg stands and smoked two packs a day during her entire pregnancy and look at me! I'm getting you a beer. I'm getting you two beers. One for you and one for the baby." On the flip side are the friends who memorized every page of What to Expect When You're Expecting. Don't plan to order a cup of coffee and a turkey sandwich around them unless you feel like getting lectured about caffeine and Listeria.
The Belly Rubber: You know this person. She or he just loves to rub a pregnant belly. Stranger? Acquaintance? Frenemy? They just can't get enough of that big, stretched out tummy! They want to fondle some of that overripe uterus! Here are the rules that need to be instituted: If you would not normally hug her when she wasn't pregnant, then you should not ask to touch her belly when she's with child. If you don't know her name, don't ask to feel her baby kick. If you didn't, at the very least, wish her a perfunctory "Happy Birthday" on Facebook, keep your hands to your self.
Debbie Downer: It's been almost a decade since Rachel Dratch first played Debbie Downer on Saturday Night Live, but the name lives on for a reason. "Debbie Downer" perfectly describes the people who like to rain on our parades or, more accurately, tell us it's going to rain on parade day. Debbie Downer can be downright scary to hang around when you're pregnant. She knows some of the worst, most horrifying pregnancy, labor and delivery stories ever and wants to tell you all of them.
The Personal Question Asker: How much weight have you gained? What do you weigh? What did you weigh? Was this an accident? How old are you? How long have you been trying for? How often did you have sex? Are you going to have an epidural? How old were you when you lost your virginity? How many times a day are you going to the bathroom? When was the last time you had sex? Do you plan to breast or bottle-feed? Were you breast or bottle-fed?
The Person Who Asks If You're Sure You're Not Having Twins: If there was a hall of fame for annoying pregnancy questions, "Are you sure those aren't twins in there?" would have been the first inducted. What is it with this question? Why is it so popular? A variation on it is questioning someone's due date. Both are code for telling a pregnant woman that she's impossibly large. Both tend to be asked by older men who mean well and are just trying to be funny. (Ha ha.) Of course, there is one scenario where a pregnant woman doesn't mind this question. There is one scenario where she may actually feel quite flattered when asked if she's sure "those aren't twins in there." And that is when she's pregnant with triplets.
(Some portions of this post previously appeared on my blog, Mammalingo.com. You are all encouraged to go to the website and pour through the archives trying to find them.)