It is not rocket science to know that pregnancy is indeed a sensitive period for a woman. Asides from the very many hormones on rampage, there is the obvious body changes to battle with. The last thing a pregnant woman needs at this time is people running different commentaries on her. This woman has no control over how her bump will shape out, whether she will be nauseous, how much her skin pigmentation will change, and the many more symptoms of pregnancy, so it will be kind for people to keep their unsolicited comments to themselves.
Being recently pregnant myself, I have some first hand experience of some of the tactless statements people throw:
I think you’re having a…
A co-worker “knew” I was definitely having a boy because he knows an age long secret to knowing a baby’s gender: ‘carrying a boy makes a woman glow and look pretty. Carrying a girl makes the woman look tired and ugly.’ While I took the pretty part as a compliment, I left him pondering on how sure he sounded with his theory. Perhaps it was sheer coincidence or his secret was right, I had a beautiful boy.
Are you due anytime from now, you sure look like you are ready to pop?
During my 6 months antenatal appointment, I met another six months pregnant woman who was on the heavier side with a bump twice as big as mine. My point exactly is that the size of a woman’s bump is not a determinant of when she is having her baby.
Are you gaining enough weight?
My cousin asked me to send a recent photo of me when I was pregnant and her follow on comment was ‘You are so small’, ‘I could barely see your belly! Are you sure it’s healthy for the baby? I thought the comment was clearly uncalled for. Although many of the most tactless comments are mainly on gaining weight, but the naturally slender ladies are not immune either. People may think that they are paying a pregnant woman a nice compliment by saying she is small but they may only be stoking her worries about the growth of her baby. Everyone carries pregnancy differently; why not let her doctor worry about her weight gain. If you genuinely want to make her feel good about her appearance, you can simply tell her that she looks great.
Are you sure you are not having twins?
The person might as well say, “Wow, you sure look fat!” when you ask this rude question. Some women’s bellies get huge and some do not. No woman in her would choose to have a big bump over a small one.
You’re hoping for a girl, right?
You know a pregnant woman with two energetic boys already and you just assume that they want the opposite sex this time around, right? Well, wrong! Even if they are, why not just wait for the baby’s arrival and congratulate them duly on their latest arrival. Asking that question may just be presuming that the expectant parents are not satisfied with what they already have.
It’s about time!
Getting pregnant is not always easy breezy for everyone. In fact, sometimes the couple may actually want to wait for a while. The woman may wish to build her career to a certain level. Our people make several comments that are very unnecessary – given that they don’t know what choices the couple have made. A friend once told me of a distant Aunt who said to her ‘I had 3 by the time I was your age.’(For the record, the friend was 29!). People should learn that whenever it happens for a couple is the right time for them.
Can I touch your belly? Do you know what you are having? Have you chosen a name yet?
I find that this sequel of questions is very common in the UK (definitely what my Naija people won’t say). I was at the bus station waiting and some random woman sitting beside me began ‘I bet you are excited about the baby (Is any pregnant woman not?). Then she said, can I touch your belly? (of course not! I would rather keep my bump to myself) ‘Do you know what you are having yet’ (And you really think I will tell you- to this I answered, No, we want a little Christmas surprise) and then, she said ‘have you chosen a name yet’ (I was happy to see the bus arrive just in time to save me from the obviously bored woman)
You can’t eat/drink that!
I drank a cold can of Coke on a very sunny day and got a disapproving look from a woman nearby. I wasn’t perturbed since I know that taking just one can of coke in 9 months is not likely to do the baby any harm. People should resist the urge to tell a pregnant woman what she can and can’t eat. The “bad food and drink” list is one of the first things her OB/GYN has discussed with her.
I am sure there are many more ridiculous questions pregnant women have been asked. I will like to read some of your experiences