Pregnancy is a roller coaster ride to say the least and is something we all handle differently. Some women love it, some loath it, and others fall somewhere in between. However, one thing that affects us all is how others speak to us during this time. While most things are said without cruel intentions behind them, they don’t come across that way to the mommy to be. Everyone seems to have an opinion, your friends, your family, and even strangers in the grocery aisle. We live in a world today where everyone feels they need to be heard whether it’s wanted or not. For some strange reason, pregnant women seem to be one of the easy targets in the grand scheme of things.
In my life alone I have about 10 currently pregnant friends and we all have heard our fair share of opinions lately. I took a poll on my Facebook to see what most of them have been hearing lately. Here is a list of our DONTS when talking to a pregnant gal.
- “You look so small!” – While to some this may be a compliment but to others who may have struggled with conception, had horrible “morning” sickness, or health issues overall may cause doubt in their mind that they are possibly doing something wrong, or that their babies aren’t healthy. Every woman is different and size doesn’t account for a healthy pregnancy.
- “Goodness, are you having twins?!” – Just because you are larger doesn’t mean there’s more than one baby residing in there. Some women just get bigger than others, or they happen to seem bigger due to their smaller frames. They may also have health issues that cause things like edema and preeclampsia to name a couple. Again, every pregnancy is different, and when you make wide statements without the right questions to go along with them, your words can be hurtful.
- “You’re eating again?!” – Look here folks, making a baby is hard work. Your body undergoes some CRAZY changes and guess what your body needs to keep up? Food. Now, if you’re eating a McDonald’s value meal every two hours, you may want to go about that a different way for many health reasons, but pregnant women are supposed to “graze” as I call it. Your body is in overdrive during pregnancy, your blood volume doubles, your body expands and contorts to make room for that growing baby, and you’re exhausted. Eating throughout the day is what helps get you through. So looking down on a girl for having a snack or two is uncalled for and just rude.
- “You’re expecting multiples? I’m sorry.” – Stop the presses people! Having one baby is a miracle in my eyes, let alone two or more! In all reality, having multiples isn’t something done by choice, it just happens or is a potential outcome when fertility treatments are involved. Telling someone “you’re sorry” about the miracle of life (times two or three or more) just rubs people the wrong way. Trust me when I say mama’s of multiples have a lot more on their plates than the simple fact they are having more than one baby. They are thinking of their health, the health of their babies, financial issues, etc. You saying sorry just isn’t what they want or need to hear.
This is just the tip of the iceberg I’m sure, but these were the most consistent things I heard from my large group of mama friends. Pregnancy is a beautiful, ugly, glorious, hard, magical, uncomfortable thing driven by hormones. We need encouragement, love, and support from those around us. We are creating life and that is awesome. We wake up, go to sleep, and probably dream about the safety and well being of our unborn babies. The last thing we need is the words of someone else that hurt, even if it’s unintentional. With that said, here are some things we’d likely appreciate hearing instead.
- “How are you feeling?” – This might be the most crucial question you could ask the pregnant gal in your life. Our emotions and physical state are a constant battle and having the chance to talk about these things openly can really help a mama out that may be in a slump. There are the obvious things that happen during pregnancy that most people know about, but each person is different and how they handle these emotions is also different. Lend a friend your ear, or shoulder if they need it to cry on. This pregnancy thing isn’t easy.
- “What do you feel like doing today friend?” – Pregnancy can sometimes be a lonely time for some women, especially if they are stay-at-home moms or physically having a hard time leaving the house. Check in with your pregnant friends and see what they need. Go out shopping and have lunch together if they feel up to it, or swing by their house for coffee or a Saturday night binge fest. Just because we’re a walking incubator doesn’t mean we are different people. We still enjoy interaction with our friends and want to be included in your lives. We just have a few limitations at times.
- “What do you need?” – This is also another crucial question you could ask your friends. With everything we’re going through, there are plenty of things we could use some help with. It can be something as simple as asking for prayer, an afternoon out of the house, or help getting a sitter for a date night with our spouses since a tiny human will soon be taking up all that spare time soon. Being there for your pregnant friends in any capacity is an amazing gift and one that won’t go unnoticed.
Pregnancy is an interesting time in someone’s life and having a support system is so very important to those women. We’re big balls of emotions at this time and those feelings and emotions can change on a whim. So feeling like we’re being supported instead of criticized can make or break our entire day. Just so we’re all clear, I’m not saying pregnant women are fragile creatures you have to tiptoe around. I’m just saying pregnancy is a major life event, and like all things in life it comes ups and downs. So as a person looking into the world of a pregnant one use your words to help, not hurt, even if you don’t mean for it to come across that way. Your friends will appreciate it and you could have a chance to really make someones day by spreading a bit of kindness.