It’s #FBF again here on The Rebel Mama, so I felt it was only appropriate to dive back into the archives and pull something out that I wrote almost exactly 2-years ago, when I was just as pregnant with my son as I am now with his little bro. Unfortunately, over the past 24 months, it seems that pretty much nothing has changed insofar as people’s preggo ettiquette goes, so here we are once again, revisiting the basic rules of human interaction…
(Originally posted 01/24/14)
I think we can all agree that EVERYBODY is bloody pregnant right now. And no, this is not a frequency illusion (Hey I just bought a Honda and now all I see on the road are Hondas); even non-pregnant people are overwhelmed by how many of their friends/colleagues/favourite celebrities are currently with child (I blame the supermoon of early summer 2013… but that’s a whole other blog post).
Anyway, with so many preggos running/waddling around, I feel that it is important to give you all a few tips on how to conduct yourselves around them – since it seems that there is something about a baby belly that makes people lose their fucking minds and forget the basic rules of human interaction. My guess/hope is that you are totally unaware that you’re colouring way outside the lines of normal social boundaries, so I’m going to give you a few friendly tips on what NOT to do/say to a pregnant woman. Please pay attention; after all, the last person you want to piss off is the one with raging hormones who hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in months.
1. Tell us we are glowing, tell us we look amazing, tell us we’re “all belly”… but (and here’s where it gets tricky) DO NOT COMMENT ON BELLY SIZE. If you say, “wow you look so small for 25 weeks,” we automatically go into psycho worry mode and start freaking out that we’ve malnourished our baby. Before you go down the opposite road and say, “25 weeks? Holy shit – you sure you’re not having twins?”, please remember that we are still women and we are well aware of every pound we have gained. We do not want to hear that you think we look as huge as we feel.
2. I know that you think your 2 cents are worth a whole lot more than that, but please, for the love of god, keep them to yourself. Pregnancy these days comes a rule book thicker and more intense than the bible itself. There is some level of risk involved with eating/drinking/doing ANYTHING and each woman has to weigh the consequences and decide what’s right for HER. With that said, if you see me shove a massive piece of brie in my mouth, you can safely assume that I’ve done my research, spoken to my doctor, and decided that the deliciousness of brie > the risk of contracting listeria from it. The same goes for when you see me take a sip of red wine, order my steak medium and drink non-pasteurized fruit juice.
3. Why women like to scare the shit out of pregnant women by sharing with them their friend’s friend’s labour story from hell is totally beyond me. What about the sisterhood? WHAT ABOUT GIRL POWER?? Please feel free to tell us about your neighbour who sneezed and her baby popped out, but your 36 hours of agony stories can be kept to yourself.
4. Don’t tell us to “just wait” until our kid turns into the little monster that is YOUR child. Do I say mean things to you for no reason? It took me a really long time to convince myself that my kid will never be anything like your kid and now you’re ruining that for me. Of course, I know that one day my perfect baby will turn 2 and all hell will break loose but for now, let me fantasize about a sweet little angel… at least while he’s still in utero!
5. Before you spontaneously touch a pregnant woman’s belly, ask yourself if you would be comfortable with her spontaneously touching yours. If you are lovers, family, or close friends, the answer is likely yes, so feel free to go in for the rub. If you are co-workers, acquaintances, or worst of all, the always dreaded total strangers, maybe – just maybe – you should consider asking first or just scrapping the idea all together.
6. If you ask a pregnant woman if she’s having a boy or girl and she says, “oh it’s a girl”, your follow up SHOULD be “that’s lovely – congratulations!”. It SHOULD NOT be “Congrats! Are you happy??”. Uh no, asshole, I’m super disappointed so I think I’m going to exchange her for a boy when she’s born. Come on people! Let’s think before we speak here. And when you don’t know what to say, instead of pulling something totally socially inappropriate out of your ass, you can always throw in either a “wow, how exciting” or “you’re going to make such a great mom”. No matter the context, these always go over well with the preggos.
7. Once a woman has reached the end of her pregnancy and is just playing the waiting game, you probably don’t need to say things like “Still no baby?” No. Still no baby. And believe me, we are far more aware of the fact that there is STILL no baby than you are since WE are the ones who are at full capacity and completely uncomfortable. Why don’t you just sit back, relax and wait for baby’s first Instagram pic?
My final piece of advice is this: The best thing you can possibly do is to continue to act as normal as possible toward your pregnant homegirls. Remind us with your politically incorrect jokes, your profanities and your invitations to the best parties that we are still our old selves and give us some hope that becoming parents won’t turn us into totally boring losers. It’s scary enough knowing that we are fated to become SOMEBODY’S MOTHER – we don’t need your social ineptitude freaking us out too.
*Most honest maternity photos of life via VICE MAGAZINE.