Monday, May 21, 2007

Lessons from the belly

Things you should not ask a pregnant woman

1) "You're only 5 months? You're kind of big for 5 months, aren't you?"
I've heard this one several times from both men and women of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, people I know well and people I've hardly spoken to before. I don't think they mean to say "Wow, you're fat" but that's how it's coming across. For the record, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be weight- and girth-wise. (trust me. I checked.) I'm trying to come up with an explanation for why people would say something so rude, and this is what I have so far:
For the women: Human nature dictates that we remember ourselves in a flattering light. Mothers who look at me don't remember exactly how big they were at specific points in their pregnancy, so the flattering haze of memory decries that they were much smaller than I am. (in contrast, the midwives who see pregnant women all day long think I'm right on target)
For the men: I'm at a loss. What do they know about pregnancy? Let's see them gain 30 pounds in as many weeks and see how they feel.

2) "Were you planning to have a baby?"
Seriously - do you want to get into a discussion with me about my birth control usage prior to conception? If I've gone through 3 years of fertility treatment do you want to stir that pot?

And the absolute best of them all:
3) "Are you pregnant?"
This simple question is so loaded and so dangerous that warning plaques should be installed in all public venues. If a woman's pregnancy isn't so obvious that you feel compelled to offer a "Congratulations," don't say anything at all. Really, she won't mind if you treat her like a normal human being instead of a pregnant human being.

Things you should say to a pregnant woman

1) "You look great."
We can't get enough of this. Just make sure you say it without surprise in your voice, as in - "Wow, you're super pregnant and I thought you'd look horrific by now, but you don't."


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