I have three kids and I'm expecting number four. Time flies, kids grow up but, unfortunately, some adults absolutely refuse to do the same. My three precious children ages 4 - 8 have more tact and manners than some of those adults I had the "pleasure" of speaking with throughout my pregnancy. No day goes by without my kids trying to make me feel better by helping me unload the groceries, cleaning up, making silly projects for me or telling me, "Mommy, you look beautiful!"
On the other hand, some adults that cross my path leave me scratching my head and thinking, "What the heck are you thinking?" I don't easily get mad or down when I hear such comments. I'm a big girl, I'm tough, and I learned that most insensitive comments come not from my imperfections but from their lack of tact.
I put together this guide for the sake of other pregnant and aspiring-to-be pregnant women. I hope it helps. All of it comes from personal experiences.
1. NEVER ask a woman whether she is pregnant. This must be self-explanatory. When time comes, she'll let you know. The last answer you want to get is, “No, I just gained few extra pounds.”
2. DON'T make a confused and baffled expression on your face when a woman with a big and happy smile says that she is pregnant. You have no idea what kinds of reactions I got and get: “What? YOU want ANOTHER baby?” Or: “I thought you are done with having kids...”
3. DON'T say, "Look at you popping!" It makes me feel like a farm animal.
4. DON'T say, "Wow! You are huge!" I am PREGNANT! What do you expect?
5. DON'T say, "Wow! You started showing so soon!" It might be something I'm wearing, or something I ate. Neither invites or justifies the comment.
6. DON'T ask, "Were you that big with you other pregnancies too?" First of all, it's just plain insensitive because I already feel like a penguin. Second, both I and my husband are tall. What kind of a baby do you expect me to have? And even if I gained extra weight because of my cravings, it is not your place to point it out.
7. DON’T ask, “What are you having?” It might come as a surprise to you but I am having a baby! And it’s not a crocodile baby, giraffe baby, or a gorilla baby. It is actually a real human baby! Yay! You will find out whether it’s a boy or a girl soon enough (time tends to fly by when you keep yourself busy with more than other people’s business).
8. DON’T tell me that I am being a selfish mom just because I delivered all my kids with the aid of an epidural, and I am planning to do the same with this one. Parenthood goes far beyond the few hours of delivery; it is years of self-sacrifice, dedication, sleepless nights, and hard work.
9. DON'T tell me to watch my figure or my weight. I have no figure now and my weight is not a priority. My sanity, on the other hand, is!
10. DON'T ask me how I feel every time you see me, unless you are really interested in hearing about my nausea, uncomfortable sleep, cravings, feelings of hugeness, being physically limited, tiredness, emotional turbulence, etc. I cannot say “I'm fine” because I am not fine, but when I start talking to you, you walk away in the middle of my sentence while I am left with my need to share my misery with someone who cares. So if you don't really care, just be satisfied with my "Thank God" answer and don't ask for more details.
11. DON'T ask, "How many kids do you want or plan to have?" It is between God, my husband, and myself. If I need your input on how and how many, I’ll ask for it (don’t keep your hopes up though).
12. DO NOT TOUCH MY BELLY. It is not public property. And I am not Buddha, so rubbing my belly will not bring you luck.
The DOs list is much shorter and easier to follow:
1. DO say "Mazal Tov!” “B'Shaha Tova!” “Congratulations!” “So exciting!” “I am so happy for you!" when you find out the big news.
2. DO offer help (just don't impose it).
3. DO give compliments, even if they are not true. Every bit of encouragement counts. Some nice people told me, “You're carrying so beautifully.” “You look so good/cute, etc.” “You look radiant.” Things like that would make every pregnant woman's day!
In the spirit of Hillel who said, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want others do to you,” translate this into "Think before you speak." How would you like to be the recipient of your own comment?