It’s bound to happen. You’re pregnant, and suddenly the whole world feels the need to tell you what you should or should not be doing or make some kind of derogatory comment. I’ve been there. As this is my sixth pregnancy, I’ve dealt with more rude comments and more unsolicited advice than most people. (Of course, now I deal more with just the rude comments. Apparently people figure that if I’ve been pregnant six times, I can do without the unsolicited advice, but still feel the need to give their opinion.)
In this post, I’m going to share some of those terrible comments with you, tell you how to respond, and what to say when someone gives you advice that you just don’t want to hear.
- Comments about your size. I have heard them all. “Wow. You look ready to pop!” “Are you sure you’re not having twins?” “Just how much weight have you gained?” “You’re not due for 3 more months? Are you sure?” “Your butt is huge. You must be having a boy.” “I think you need to stay away from the ice cream for awhile.” “I can tell you’re pregnant just by looking at your face.” I’ve even had a complete stranger grab my belly (in the middle of Walmart, mind you!) and exclaim, “My gosh! How many babies are in there?” UGH. People are mean. And just downright stupid. You’re already suffering from hormones in overdrive, and now people feel the need to tell you that you’re humongous? What’s up with that? With my last pregnancy, I was really swollen because of the pre-eclampsia, and it was then that the guy (YES, GUY!) grabbed my stomach and asked how many babies were in there. I was so enraged that I grabbed his belly and said, “And how many are in here?” He walked away, mumbling to his wife about how rude I was, but man, it felt good. If someone makes a comment about your size, weight, or appearance, you have a few options: 1. Shrug it off. Now, I know this isn’t easy. You’re pregnant. You’re hormonal. You want to be perfect. But if you can remember that people are idiots and leave it at that, you are my hero. 2. Be rude back. Much like I was with the touchy-feely guy. If you’ve got the guts, go for it. You’ll make them see that they’re being just as rude by making a comment to you. 3. Burst into tears and make them feel really bad. I’ve actually done this, too. Eventually, you reach your breaking point and you either cry or snap back in anger. Crying can make those idiots feel really, really guilty.
- Comments about the number of children you have. SIGH. When you get married, the day after the wedding, the questions start, “So, when are you planning on having kids?” “You are planning on having kids, right?” And then you start having them. Then, the comments change. “Another baby? Are you crazy?” “Did you plan this baby?” “Did you plan to have so many babies?” “Are they all yours?” “You do know what causes that, right?” To that question, depending on who it was that made it, I’ve come to respond with, “Yep. And apparently my sex life is pretty good. How’s yours?” Now, there are people that I cannot say that to. Church is probably not the place for a comment like that. To those people, I silently nod my head and just change the subject. In today’s world of 2.3 kids, (how does one have .3 of a kid, anyway?), when they see large families (more than 3 kids), they feel the need to question your desire to have a large family. They just don’t get it. And, honestly? I don’t think they ever will. Usually, they can’t control their 1 or 2 kids, and couldn’t imagine having more, so why would someone choose to have lots of kids? Don’t feel the need to defend your decision to have more kids. It’s none of their business, and you have free range to do what you want here with there comments. You can nod and smile, or you can come back with a snappy remark. Just know that you’re not going to change their mind on the number of kids they think you should have, and it’s really not worth the breath it would take to even try.
- Comments about your choice for the baby’s name. Comments of this type are the reason why I will no longer tell anyone the baby’s name until he or she is born. When my husband and I were pregnant with our first baby together, and we discovered that it was a boy, we fought and fought over the perfect boy’s name. After weeks of arguing, we finally found a name that we both loved: Zander. It was trendy, unique, but not off-the-wall. We were so excited that we had finally picked a name that we immediately told everyone we knew. His family didn’t say much. In fact, they really didn’t say anything at all. My family, however, felt the need to let me know exactly how they felt about the name. “Zander? What is that? Is that a name?” “Where did you come up with that?” “Why would you name him that?” “Oh. You like those kind of names.” After hearing comments like that through my entire pregnancy, I vowed that if I ever had any more kids, no one would know the name until after it was on the birth certificate. Of course, it’s not just limited to pregnancy. There are just so many kinds of idiots out there. A few days after Zander was born, hubby and I went to Walmart. He went to pull the car up while I finished checking out. The cashier told me how cute he was and asked what his name was. I proudly declared “Zander.” She looked at me like I had just said “Princess Consuela Banana-hammock.” She then went on to ask me, “What’s his middle name?” I told her it was “William” after my father who had passed away. Her response was, “Thank God you gave him a normal middle name. At least he can go by that when he gets older and not be stuck with a horrible name like Zander.” I kid you not, those were her exact words. I walked away in tears, and hubby threatened to go back in and give her a piece of his mind. Instead, we just left. Again, there’s not much that you can say to these people. They think every baby should be named Jennifer and Micheal. Which, is fine, just not my taste. Just know that if it’s your family that has an issue with the name, they’ll get over it. They’re going to love that baby no matter what you call him or her.
- Comments on what you’re eating. Yes, people really feel the need to chime in over things like this. They’ll see you eating a brownie and condemn you to hell for it. (By the way, did you know that studies have been done, and if mom samples just a taste of chocolate every day of her pregnancy, babies are born happier? Use that comment as a comeback.) Or, they’ll give you their thoughts on eating blue cheese, salty potato chips, honey, lunch meat, hot dogs… the list goes on and on. Talk to your doctor about what’s safe to eat and what’s not, and go from there. And a little brownie now and then isn’t going to hurt a thing. Just don’t eat the entire box, or you may get more comments on your weight. It’s a vicious cycle.
- Comments about the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth. For some reason, seeing a pregnant woman makes other women that have had children have this crazy desire to tell the newly pregnant woman how horrible their pregnancy and childbirth experience was. I have no idea why this is. If someone starts talking about how horrible things were for them, just chime in that you’re sorry they went through that, but you’re hoping for the best. Or, put your hands over your ears and run away screaming. Either option will work.
- Comments about what’s to come. I love (note: sarcasm) the comments like, “If you breastfeed, you’ll burn 500 calories a day.” Yes, but did you also know that by burning those extra 500 calories, you will constantly feel hungry? Breastfeeding is not a magic source for weight loss. I’ve breastfed 5 of my kids, and have struggled each time with losing weight. For some it happens, for others it doesn’t. Don’t let it be the reason you choose to breastfeed or not. Or how about, “Sleep now, because you’ll never sleep again.” SIGH. I’m pregnant, can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in, and get up 10 times a night to pee. How on earth am I supposed to sleep now? Or questions like “You’re not going to co-sleep are you?” “You didn’t put a bumper in baby’s crib, did you?” “Are you only going to feed the baby organic baby food?” “Cloth diapers or disposable?” Everyone has an opinion on everything. What you need to remember is that everything will fall into place. You will find what works for you and your family. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks if it works for you. Just tell these people that you’re “still debating” and leave it at that.
These are just a few of the many, many types of comments pregnant women can expect to hear. I hope you realize that the world is full of idiots, and as pregnant women, we just have to deal with them. Invest now in custom made t-shirts. I’ve found one that says “Hands off!” with an arrow pointing to my belly. I’m also looking for one that says, “Yes, they’re all mine.” And another that says, “No, I’m not having twins.” It’s a subtle way to shut them up before they even start with the comments. Hmm…. maybe I should design a shirt that has every response imaginable all over it. Then I can just point to the proper response before they even start!
Has someone made a comment to you? How did you handle it? Got any more tips or advice you’d like to share? Leave a comment here and encourage those pregnant mamas to stand up for themselves!