There’s something about being around a pregnant woman that makes some people lose all sense of proper manners, including (and sometimes especially) strangers. Maybe it’s the pregnancy pheromones wafting through the air….I don’t know. But it’s uncanny, and it only gets worse as the pregnancy continues.
Being only 15 weeks along myself, my level of make-people-rude-pheromones hasn’t gotten high enough to start experiencing major reactions quite yet, but I expect it to kick in any day now.
But, based on my conversations with other pregnant Mommas and past experience, I thought I would write a quick guide, for all of us, of proper etiquette around pregnant women.
If, when around a PW, you start to feel that dizzying feeling of pheromonal attack and feel the need to say completely inappropriate things, just remember this post. Recite the rules. Breathe deeply. And bite your tongue. As hard as possible.
1. Rule of Response to Baby Names: Lie.
Many PW are opting for the “secret baby name” these days. The reason: They’re afraid.
Because people seem to have forgotten the unbelievably important Rule of Response to Baby Names: PW do not, in any way, shape, or form, really want to know what you actually think of their future baby’s name.
All they want to hear is this: “Oh, that’s a great name! I love it!”
If it’s true, awesome. If it’s not true, say it anyway.
I’ve heard of all too many pregnant Mommies that have been tortured – nay – AGONIZED, over the things that people have said about the names that they worked so hard to come up with….
“You’re going to name your kid THAT??”
“Do you not know what rhymes with that name?”
“Oh, my Great Uncle who killed my Great Aunt’s Mother-In-Law was named that. It’s a bad name.”
Or the more subtle… “That’s….an interesting name. It must be a family name?”
People, this is unacceptable.
So let’s practice. You ready?
“I’m going to name my baby Beelzebub if it’s a boy, and Gomer if it’s a girl. They’re both biblical names!”
Now you insert here: “Oh! Those are beautiful names! I’ve always had a fondness for boys named Beelzebub!! And Gomer…that just brings back wonderful Mayberry memories!!”
2. The Just-Because-She’s-Pregnant-Doesn’t-Mean-Her-Personal-Space-Disappeared Rule.
In fact, the PW may desire more of it.
Unwarned and unpermissioned belly rubbing or touching is completely uncalled for. Especially if she doesn’t know your name, or you do a sneak attack where she all of a sudden feels strange hands touching her abdomen before she can associate a face with said hands.
Not cool. It kinda feels like you’re a baby-snatcher-wanna-be.
3. The No One Wants to Be Told They’re Fat Rule.
First of all, there seems to be a phenomenon where everyone’s memory is erased as to how big a belly actually gets at 40 weeks, and so they start asking a PW if she’s “going to pop” or “swallowed a basketball” or “11 months pregnant” at around 25 weeks.
She isn’t, didn’t, and will never be.
Also. PW don’t mysteriously morph into non-female creatures who don’t mind their weight gain or hugeness pointed out.
PREGNANT WOMEN ARE STILL WOMEN.
Before you say anything regarding size, shape, weight gains, or any sort of reference to a whale, an elephant, or a mountain sticking out of her abdomen to a pregnant woman, ask yourself this question: “Would I say that same statement to a non-pregnant woman?”
Because underneath that gargantuan belly is a non-pregnant woman’s heart mixed with a pregnant woman’s emotions. A mixture which eerily resembles nitroglycerin.
And finally, a few last guidelines.
4. Don’t comment on how much a PW eats. She knows it.
5. No need to tell her she’s sweating like a pig. She feels it.
6. Yes, pregnancy can, in fact, make you waddle like a duck. Pretend you didn’t notice.
7. What? There’s food all over her shirt? There’s a biscuit sitting atop her belly? That’s because pregnancy makes you clumsy. No need to point it out.
8. No PW in the WORLD wants to hear about your nightmarishly painful birth story. Or your third cousin’s horrifying delivery. Or anything with “trauma” and “birth” in the same story. Save those stories for post-menopausal women only.
9. If I’ve left you no safe topics of conversation with PW, then I suggest phrases such as “you are just glowing”, “you look magnificent”, “You don’t even look pregnant!!”, “You don’t have an ounce of weight on you that isn’t baby!”, or “Wow, pregnancy just suits you so well!”
So there you have it. Breathe deeply, Bite your Tongue, and remember The Rules..
Because that huge belly you’re commenting on? She can and will use that thing for a weapon, if need be.