Okay…so maybe it’s because I’m well into my third trimester in the middle of this August heatwave or maybe it’s because I feel like I might tip over with all this added weight, but nevertheless, the timing for this post couldn’t be more appropriate.
When approaching a milestone, both close friends and absolutely strangers have plenty of unsolicited advice to give you. Whether you’re planning a wedding, apartment hunting, or turning 30, people are very willing to offer their experiences as case studies. The same can be said for when you’re having a baby.
Here’s what you shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman:
Don’t ask: “Isn’t that dangerous?” Instead say…”Good for you.”
After finishing an hour long spin class, a woman came up to me and asked, “isn’t it dangerous?” While I am sure she was just curious, her question came off as seeped in judgement. Many women continue the same level of physical activity they had pre pregnancy throughout their pregnancy and make adjustments so that it is safe. I assure you that an expectant mother who is working out understands her body and if you’re not a doctor who has a strong background in maternal health, don’t question whether or not something is safe for a mother and her baby on board.
Don’t ask: “Do you plan on going back to work?” Instead ask…”What can I do to help?”
I am lucky. This year I began building a consultancy practice which allows me to work from home, but I find that I am still answering this question a lot. My husband has yet to be asked whether or not he’ll be trading in his office job to be a stay-at-home-dad. Let’s take the pressure off moms here and instead of asking how she will maintain her career with a baby, offer ways to help in those first few weeks.
Don’t say: “You’re so small/big.” Instead say…”You look great.”
I don’t know how people think commenting on someone’s size is okay. You may think that telling someone that she is so tiny for being 8 months along is a compliment, but it isn’t. For the most part, first time moms have never seen their body change as rapidly as it does when you’re pregnant. When someone tells you, “you’re so tiny,” it makes you question if you should be bigger. For a while there, I was convinced there was something wrong because so many people said I looked much smaller than I should.
Don’t say: “When I/my sister/my friend/my coworker had her baby…” Instead ask…”How are you?”
I’ve heard so many horror stories and very few positive experiences regarding child birth. Everything from unusually long labors, to emergency c-sections, to post delivery hair loss. Listen, I have maternal and child birth education coming out of my ears, and have committed hundreds of research studies to memory at this point. Don’t make me school you. Instead, tell me a positive story or just ask how I’m doing. If we’re close, you can ask me about my birth plan.
Don’t say: “Your life is going to be so different.” Instead say…”I’m so excited for you.”
Before I got pregnant, Matt and I assumed a baby would change nothing. We would continue partying until 3am every weekend and have so much disposable income, we could continue traveling abroad five times a year. If you can’t tell…THAT IS SARCASM. We know our life is going to change. Hell, our life together is already changing. For instance, missing rose season this summer and pairing a basketball sized belly with my Brazilian bikini is not my idea of a great summer. We’ve had to change our apartment to accommodate a baby and all the visitors we’re excited to have when Baby G comes. And we’ve had to really look at our monthly budget to make sure we could still save while taking on new expenses like diapers and childcare. I know people are trying to prepare us for the complete 180 our lives will take, but rest assured, we have been thinking about it for a while now, daily, sometimes hourly.