Six months into my pregnancy I started to realize that not only were my raging hormones out of control but also the endless unsolicited comments and advice from strangers about my body. My small 4’11 frame and almost ten-pound baby made me an easy target for body comments and I soon began to feel as if I was in some kind of freak show. As if dealing with indigestion, lack of sleep, shortness of breath and constipation weren’t enough I had to experience adult bullying to a whole different level. On any given day I would receive five to seven comments about my belly or how tired I looked from strangers who never seemed to show interest in me before. It’s crazy how popular pregnancy can make someone become. I soon began to find ways of coping with people who tried to approach me.
As a way of coping, I began to not make eye contact with people who walked passed me in the hallway and I’d pretend I didn’t hear them speaking to me.
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This didn’t work. After a few weeks of this, I felt like walking around with a huge sign that said,” I’m making a human, fuck off!” Instead, I started to walk around with huge bitch face that would make me look unapproachable. This didn’t work either. I would still have people wave me down from across the parking lot at work and say, “OH MY GOD! YOU LOOK HUGE!”
This growing inadequate feeling in me occurred mostly during work.
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It also led me to almost go on maternity leave early.
Instead, I dealt with it and decided to jot down a list of “Eleven Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Person.”
Have a look and be sure to pass on what you learn to others who have a hard time keeping certain things to themselves when it comes to pregnant people.
1. “You look like you’re due now”
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Never pretend like you are a doctor and know just by looking at someone when their baby is due.
Chances are you may be right but there is a huge chance that you may be wrong.
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The person may still have a few months to go. And besides, if she’s not your bestie, your cousin, your sister or your daughter, it really is none of your business when she’s due.
2. “OMG, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?”
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This must have been one of my favorite ones. It was close to my due date and a complete stranger from work came up to me and asked me “When did this happen?” Last time I checked we all knew how babies were conceived. I should have given her a complete rundown of that intimate moment when my daughter was conceived. Instead, I ignored the comment and continued walking to my desk. If I have never spoken to you before chances are I don’t feel like telling you “when this happened.”
3. “I wasn’t as big as you when I got pregnant.”
We all know that comparing ourselves to other people is not the kindest thing to do. Everyone carries babies differently. Some people carry babies higher, lower wider or narrower.
4. “Every time I see you, you get bigger and bigger!”
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This must have been one of the ones that got to me the most. It was the same woman at work that kept telling me this comment. The first few times I would just nod and say yes. Until the last time when my raging hormones were full blast, I basically told her to cut it out. She had this look on her face of complete remorse and regret but I just about had it. The following time she saw me, instead of telling me how big I looked, she asked me if I needed anything from the store since she was on her way.
5. “You look so tired.”
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The times that I was told how tired I looked I had either spent all night awake due to my awake baby moving around all night. I would completely know when I was not feeling like myself and usually when someone told me I looked tired it was something I already knew.
6. “Can you stand up so I can see how big you are?”
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Now, people, pregnant people are not here for our amusement. If it’s not right to ask a non-pregnant person to stand up to see their body, it’s not okay to ask someone who is pregnant to stand up so they can see your body. I refused to stand up to someone who asked me this. I stated that I was not going to stand up because my body was not going to be displayed for judgment.
7. “Once the baby gets here, you will never sleep for the rest of your life. ”
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The fact of the matter is that you do get to sleep, you just have to sleep when the baby sleeps and you have to have a partner that is willing to wake up in the middle of the night to let you have a good night’s sleep…
…I also know parents of four-year-olds who sleep from seven to eight hours at night.
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I remember my mother sleeping endlessly when we were in high school. Once you hit your thirties, like me, you no longer sleep well anyways. Before I had my baby, I would function on four hours of sleep due to just insomnia. The fact of the matter is, no matter what, you will survive and when other people instill fear in you it is a reflection of the things they have to deal with.
8.“I know someone who almost died during labor.”
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For some reason when you are pregnant everyone starts telling you all the tragic birth stories they had and, even if it’s their best friend’s friend’s great aunt who had a tragic birth story, they want to tell you that one too. Chances are this is not going to soothe mama into feeling confident about going into labor. I think we live in such a panic-stricken world that perpetuating these stories is a norm. However, positive stories of birth may be a better way of empowering an expecting mama.
9. “Will you have another baby after this?”
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Chances are pregnant mama is not thinking this far ahead and just trying to overcome this pregnancy. This is a very interesting question that I hear so much. Children require so much time, money and attention. It is a big personal decision to bring a child into the world and an even bigger decision to bring additional children to the world. Only father and mother can decide if they have the tools to make this happen. Usually, it takes time to decide. I feel this can be a very personal topic that can only be genuinely be discussed between close friends and family.
10. “Are you having twins?”
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This is a difficult question to hear especially if you are not having twins. I heard this about five times during my pregnancy. I would always ask myself if I was doing something wrong in what I was eating or how I was nourishing my body. But, the fact of the matter is that everyone carries babies differently.
11. “Man, I can’t picture myself starting all over at your age.”
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The beautiful thing about life is that not everyone walks the same path. Some people get to have children young when they find their life partners at a young age in high school or college. For others, it may take a longer time to realize you want to be a mom or it may take longer to find the partner you can picture yourself having children with. The sooner we realize that and accept each other the sooner these unnecessary comments will happen.
I believe it is inappropriate to make any kind of comment on anyone’s body whether they are pregnant or not.
But next time you decide on making a body comment, or another negative comment to a pregnant person, take into account that her hormones are working extra hard to keep their baby alive. She may already know that she’s gained all the weight you told her she looks like she’s gained and she may have had someone tell her the same exact thing the day before or that same day. Just chill, please.
Next time you plan on making a comment to a pregnant person make sure it is something she might not have heard that day like…
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“You are doing an amazing job!” or “ isn’t it amazing how strong a person’s body is? You should feel so proud of yourself!
Pregnant people don’t get enough recognition for the daily hard work.
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They have to put up with not only make a baby but to also, for some, going to work and or taking care of additional children. This is all while their bodies are working overtime to make and protect a life. Be kind to the pregnant people in your life and please be aware of the things that come out of your mouth.
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