- What is it about being pregnant that makes you suddenly become public property?
Everyone has an opinion on your body and they’re not shy about letting you know.
While most people would never imagine commenting on someone’s size, bowel habits or sex life, these topics suddenly become A-OK when you’re carrying another human.
It’s now common knowledge that reaching out and touching a woman’s burgeoning belly is deeply personal and you need to ask before you get handsy. That pause to consider a vulnerable woman’s feelings about personal space needs to extend to personal questions.
So before you say something potentially insensitive/hurtful/frightening, stop and consider how a pregnant woman might take your question.
Hint: If you wouldn’t dream of sayin it to anyone else, it’s a good idea to keep quiet.
1. What kind of birth are you having? Are you going to take drugs?
The competition to see who is a warrior woman and forgo drugs and who succumbs to medical intervention is very real. While you may just be curious and keen to compare it to your experience, a mumma-to-be could take it that she is being judged on her choices before the baby is even born.
2.Who’s your gynaecologist or what hospital are you giving birth in?
Asking this like it’s a status symbol feeds into the idea of birth being a competition. Australia has a fantastic public health system and women shouldn’t feel shamed for using it. For those that choose the private option, it’s not a case of being a snob, you don’t know whether they’ve had a complicated pregnancy and feel reassured by the continuous care of an obstetrician.
3. How much weight have you put on?
Just like we don’t talk openly about money, we don’t tend to talk about our weight with acquaintances. For most women it’s a deeply personal number that involves complex emotions regarding body image. So revealing how much extra you’ve put on at a time when your body is out of your control is confronting.
4.Wow you’re huge! Or you’re so tiny!
Sticking to a theme, her size isn’t up for discussion. While most women gain between 8-20kg, these numbers can vary wildly and the baby can still be perfectly healthy. And, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. It’s not unusual for a pregnant woman to be told both things on the same day, which can really make her head spin.
5. Did you get really horny in the second trimester?
The second trimester is considered the golden period of pregnancy. The morning sickness from the first disappears and the fatigue of the third is yet to hit. For some women, the increase in blood flow to the pelvic region can ramp up their libido. But if you don’t have the kind of relationship where you regularly discussed her sex-life pre bump then you don’t get to ask now.
6. Are you worried you didn’t get morning sickness?
Well no, not until you mentioned it actually. If someone gets to skip one of the more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms then be happy for them. It’s a win rather than a reason to believe something is wrong.
7. It’s not really a baby yet, just a cluster of cells
Keeping quiet about a pregnancy until a woman reaches the safety of the second trimester tends to be the done thing, but if someone is so excited that they can’t wait that long to share the happy news don’t burst their happiness bubble by being an ar*ehole.
8. Get ready for it to make your relationship really hard
Silly her, she thought that having a child would bring her closer to her partner. These days, there is so much information around that she’ll have a fair idea that it’s not all ice cream and roses. But hopefully, all those sleepless nights will be worth it as they bond as a family.
9. You don’t know what tired means yet
Thanks for the pep-talk. Pregnant women getting up five times a night to pee are already having a tough time sleeping and they know the chance of an uninterrupted eight hours in the next year are few and far between. But do you really have to rejoice in it?
10. So what’s your plan for going back to work?
Seeing as she hasn’t had the baby yet, chances are she’s thinking about the rest of her pregnancy, the birth and how to keep this little person she made healthy and happy. The last thing on her mind is work. And even if she has a return-to-work plan, her impending arrival will have other ideas so don’t make her feel like a failure for not having it all figured out yet.