24 June 2010

a word to the not-so-wise

25 weeks pregnant & feeling fabulous
22 June 2010

I had little idea when I became pregnant just how much having an obviously pregnant belly (to many people, I'm discovering) translates to implicit permission to touch the belly (which I was prepared for, and really don't mind) and to offer uncensored commentary on the size of the belly (which I was not prepared for, and am really starting to mind). Over the past several days, I've heard more than I ever imagined I would about the size of my belly.

That being said, I love my belly. I love the shape and the feel of it, and I love how it looks. But even having this mindset coupled with a good sense of humor, dealing with these comments is getting to be wearing downright irritating.

Perhaps I just have not been around enough pregnant women lately, or maybe I just haven't been noticing. But I've always taken it as a universally understood point of social etiquette that when commenting on a pregnant woman's appearance, stating anything other than "You look great!" should be considered with the same amount of caution with which one would consider jumping off a fifty-story building without a parachute or the guarantee of an appropriately soft landing spot.

Boy, was I wrong! As it turns out, common sense is not so common, and people out there everywhere are throwing caution to the wind and putting themselves in harm's way: straight in the path of the irritated pregnant woman.

I kid you not -- if I had a dime for every time someone told me how huge or ready-to-pop I looked over the past three or four days -- I would have at least a dollar. Quite possibly more (but not quite enough to buy a grande decaf soy coffee frapuccino lite with one pump of sugar-free vanilla). And though perhaps I shouldn't be, I'm surprised.

Here are two things I (and most other people -- I think) know:
1. Nearly all women at some point in their lives are sensitive and/or emotional about size/weight/appearance.
2. Pregnant women have, at any given time, an overwhelming and unfathomable amount of hormones coursing through their bodies, the likes of which tend to amplify or exacerbate any given emotional state.

"You look great" is always an appropriate thing to say to a pregnant woman.

"You're HUGE!" , "You look ready to POP! When are you due?", or alternately "Are you sure you're not having twins?" are good examples of things that definitely should not be said.

Needless to say, I am going to spend my free waking hours and minutes coming up with some witty repartee for these types of comments. Or maybe I'll swing my hips just so, and swing them back with enough velocity so as to whack them with my huge must-contain-twins belly.

What about you?
If you've been pregnant before, have you come across this type of commentary? What did people say? What was your response? If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Or, have you said anything like this to a pregnant woman before (and are brave enough to admit it here)? How did she respond?

P.S. Please keep in mind this is all in good fun. :o)
P.P.S. There's a new post up over at the Team Ewan blog about asking God why. It's not quite as funny as today's post, but I still think there's something to it.


  1. I get this ALL THE TIME. People just don't know when to zip their lips. Its not cool and it certainly doesn't make us feel good about ourselves. I have started to tell people that I have a tumor. Or that I just ate a big lunch. Or stare them blankly in the face when they ask when I'm due. Making them as uncomfortable as they make me seems to work :)

  2. A few suggestions . . . since I happen to think you look GREAT!

    "You're HUGE?"
    "Really? So are you!"

    "You look ready to POP! When are you due?"
    "If you think I'm going to pop, do you really want to be standing so close to me?"

    "Are you sure you're not having twins?"
    "Yup. Just one Pillsbury Doughboy." or "Oh . . . am I supposed to check on that?"

  3. People can be so cruel! I think you look great and not big at all! Who cares what others think...as long as you feel great!!! I hated when people wanted to touch my belly..drove me nuts!

  4. The one that stung me the most was the question of when was I due AFTER the baby(ies) were born! OUCH.

  5. hehe! Cute! :0) Like I said, you look fabulous!

  6. Being pregnant with twins I heard so much of that, but the two most irritating comments I received were:

    "You're done right? You're not going to have anymore?"

    And upon hearing that I also have an 18 month old, "Ooh girl, we gotta get you fixed!" from a random gas station attendant.

    You really do look fantastic!

  7. @KLaw
    I love your solution. I just don't know that I could execute on that with a straight face. But I will try. ;o)

    Nice!! I love the "Well, so are you!" retort. James' version of that was "Well, yeah she's pregnant. What's your excuse?" Great ideas. :o)

    I'm with you, totally -- who cares what others think!! Every woman and every pregnancy is different, so who's to say what's huge or anything else. I'm going to enjoy the belly while I have it. :o)

    All I can say is, with you, "OUCH." That's gotta sting. Open mouth, insert foot.

    Thanks, girl!! :o)

    Yowzas!! I can't believe the things people say. About being "done"? Really? Is that up to them? Oh my goodness, people need to learn to keep their mouths shut sometimes!!

  8. Just sitting here with Esther-Faith getting ready for her nighttime routine. She loves my laptop and always asks to "send an email" or "write a blog." When I pulled up your blog, she covered her mouth, let out a gasp, and said, "WOW! She has that hair?! I love her beautiful shirt!"

    In short, she thinks it is great that you have the "same hair" as her and possibly that you ate a big lunch.

  9. Karin, that is so cute!! I love the way your Esther-Faith thinks!! :o)

  10. Unfortunately I'm discovering with my five week old that the uninhibited STRANGER COMMENTARY AND TOUCHING (my baby's face?!)doesn't stop once you deliver...

  11. Just had a baby 9 weeks ago.... um yeah, I could have decked a few people. Seriously, we've been on the planet for awhile now and pregnant women are nothing new. You'd think people would have already discovered that it's not cool to say those things. I got tired of fake laughing and shot back with "sarcasm" that really was what I felt. :) I'm sneaky.

  12. Ahem. Rule of thumb NUMBER ONE: Never assume someone is pregnant. ALWAYS, always ask "Do you guys have any kids yet?" And then WAIT for her to announce that she's pregnant and then say "I wondered, but I didn't want to assume! Especially since you look so great! When are you due?" And when they say "in 4 months" and they are ENORMOUS you say "How exciting!" and when they say "in a few weeks" and they are REALLY ENORMOUS you say "No way! I thought you had at least a few more months left!" and then they will kiss you and love you forever.

    BTW, you look great. :)