There are so many blogs and opinions on this, I wasn't going to add to the list. But last week I had a stranger comment to me that she thought I was carrying a girl (we have chosen to not find out and are for the most part enjoying the guesses and hilarious reasonings from our friends and family) because I am carrying 'untidy'. Seriously, I'm not quite sure how my belly can look untidy to anyone but I know that I am offended. I just smiled and ended the conversation, I'm sure she wasn't trying to offend. But it still hurt.
That's the thing though, most comments are well intentioned so we shouldn't really take it to heart. But when you're riding the pregnancy hormones and feeling rather heavy and tired you not only take it to heart you also have to suppress the urge to bop them in the face... with a hammer. So lets look at some of the zingers I have come across and feel free to add your own in the comments at the bottom, I would love to hear some of your stories!
Lets start with that one, I'm still not entirely sure what she meant but just no. Just don't say this to someone.
'Wow you're getting fat!'
Seriously, these are the exact words a friend of mine was greeted with by her father. I think he was trying to be funny because he's one of those 'roll your eyes' dad humour guys and super nice, I couldn't imagine him actually being mean. But I think it was perhaps just a little too blunt for a tired hormonal lady who is also chasing a toddler around and not feeling her best. Word to the wise, sometimes our normal sense of humour is overridden by our hormones/fears/fatigue so when you joke with us we will either laugh or cut you... there is no middle ground, be warned.
'When you walk you look like a penguin'
These exact words were said to me by my doting then-boyfriend-now-husband when we were expecting our first. He then walked next to me down the street humming the Pingu theme tune. Yes he is still breathing, we are even now married and expecting our second. I just swore I would exact my revenge at a later point, which happened to be in the delivery suite a month later when my waters went all over his favourite trainers. Ha!
'Oh I didn't realise you were pregnant!'
Ok, so we have established that pointing out how fat a pregnant lady looks is not a good idea. But this statement roughly translates as 'Oh, I just thought you had packed on a bit of weight but didn't want to say anything.' Personally I would rather look pregnant than just a bit fat. So now I'm worrying that instead of people thinking 'Oh, look at that pregnant lady!' they are actually thinking 'Crikey she's gotten fat!!' Which to me is worse.
'You're not very big'
Not one I have had personally as I show very early and carry big. But I imagine for a lady who is carrying small they are already worrying about development of their precious cargo, don't add fuel to that fire.
'Are you sure you're not having twins?!'
Ok, there is a major theme happening here. Big or small, neat or untidy (I still don't understand this one?!) just don't comment on size!! Please look at your vocabulary and replace the words big, huge, fat, waddling, tired, exhausted, etc. with kind ones like glowing, blooming and gorgeous. Lie to us if you have to. We are emotionally unpredictable at best so tell us we are stunning, even if we know you are lying it will be appreciated more than hideously brutal honesty.
'You're looking Radial'
Ok, this one was funny. A simple slip of the tongue, and a funny one at that. My husband was trying to be nice, but he is as clumsy with his words as he is in person. He meant to tell me that I was radiant but got mixed up and called me radial... as in round... as in fat. So I cried. I was having a sensitive day and didn't see the funny side in the moment. See, emotionally unpredictable.
'Was it planned?'
This is just plain rude. You just don't ask that. Firstly because it doesn't matter and has no bearing on how much that baby will be loved and wanted and secondly because it has nothing to do with you! If the mother confides in you the information around the conception then consider yourself honoured and feel free to discuss. If not, then shut up. Mine were both planned, but I really don't think I would have felt any different about my babies if they were a surprise - and by surprise I mean conceived in spite of contraception, you really can't be that 'surprised' girls if you have unprotected sex and end up with a baby!
'Why are you crying?'
I'm pregnant, I don't need a reason. So don't just stand there gawking, offer me some kind of delicious food item and a cuddle (unless I am crying because you've just said something stupid, in which case leave me the food and get out!).
'Don't worry, you will loose the baby weight after baby comes'
Yes because when I'm up to my eyeballs in nappies and screaming and sleepless nights (add in other children demanding attention if this is not the first) I am going to be in the perfect position to be calmly declining cake. When either my lady parts are in tatters or I'm sporting a huge c-section scar my first thought will not be to be jumping around in lycra at the gym, especially if I have chosen to breast feed, in which case I will also be swollen and chapped. Get stuffed, I'm eating the cake!
'Should you be doing/eating/drinking that?'
I am well aware of the dos and don'ts in pregnancy, so you're not asking, you are judging my parenting skills before the baby is even here. I am not ill I am simply pregnant and if I feel up to moving that box, or riding my motorbike or eating a runny egg then I have weighed up the risks and I am doing it, get in my way and I may just run you over with my motorbike.
'Ugh I feel so fat!'
If we are both pregnant then fair enough, we can compare wobbly bits, complain together then share some cake. If however you do not have a human being growing inside of you then stuff right off and fetch me some cake whilst you're at it!
'So are you planning any more?'
Can I at least get this one out before you ask this?!
'Is the baby here yet?'
Has your news feed been ablaze with picture overload of something resembling a squashed yoda that you must all agree is the cutest thing ever? No? Then the baby isn't here yet. I may well have been stuck in the hospital trying for the last five flaming days but unless I have announced the arrival of said baby then I'm still busy trying to get it out, so unless you are going to come and remove this baby yourself please leave me alone!
So there you have it, there are so many more I could share with you but I fear this post could never end if I listed all of the well meaning but seriously unnecessary comments. These are the ones that we can laugh at afterwards, but there are always a couple that burn very very deep, the ones that show just how hideously hurtful people can be. Sometimes by accident, such as when a dear friend of mine was congratulated recently on her pregnancy when actually she is round because loosing weight isn't her priority after the loss of her baby earlier in the year. It broke my heart when she told me this so I can't imagine how soul destroying she must have found it. Sometimes though it is because they are spiteful, vindictive individuals, like when an older relative of my husband visited me shortly after my emergency section (I was emotionally raw and still beating myself up for 'failing' to give birth - stupid I know but that's how I felt) and she announced that it was not surprising that I couldn't give birth 'properly' because of me being 'such a big girl'. There are so many things wrong with this statement, particularly as she had only ever seen me heavily pregnant and then bloated from major surgery. I am a curvy girl but blaming my size for my 'failure to deliver'? Just heartbreaking. It's ok though, I got over it, I just made sure that her table position at our wedding was suitably awkward for her. I wasn't prepared to be any meaner than that as I won't lower myself.
Please feel free to add your own stories below, I would love to hear them.
Wife, Mummy and illustrator.