If you can’t say something nice…

April 5, 2011 by Carrie Cherry
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Nine months and counting.

  I was going through old pictures recently when I came across some black and whites of me in all my pregnant glory, wearing the only dress I could still fit into. I wanted my husband to take them so I would remember what I looked like when I was doing the important work of growing a human. As if the stretch marks will ever let me forget…

  Ah yes, a glorious time. I gained double the recommended weight, had swollen ankles from seven months on, developed aversions to some of my favorite foods and could never get comfortable. I was not one of those women who glowed.

  So maybe that’s why people said unkind things to me on a regular basis. I expected it from the teenager who worked at the coffee shop. In July, he asked when I was due. I told him October. “Wow, so you’re having twins?” Nope. Just one bun in this oven. Can I get some extra whipped cream on that mocha latte?

  Surprisingly, the three worst things that were said to me, not only came from women, they came from MOTHERS, all former co-workers.

  One looked me up and down, then said, “Bet you can’t wait to get rid of that thing.” Damn those pregnancy hormones for not getting the words “I’d much rather get rid of you” to my mouth fast enough.

  Another time, toward the end of my pregnancy, another woman looked at me, apparently so offended by my belly, and said “My God, Carrie. Do you need me to boil some water?” Only if you’re planning on making me some pasta, I wish I had said.

  And my personal favorite came from a new girl who started working at the paper at about my seventh month. A few weeks later, she felt compelled to tell me “Wow, you look so much bigger this week than last.” I bit my tongue to keep from saying, “Wow, so do you.”

  For the record, I lost all my baby weight and then some. Thank you, Weight Watchers. Take that, mean ladies who made me cry.

  Being around a pregnant woman seems to make people feel like they need to say something, or worse, do something, like touch your stomach. For the most part, people are sincere. I mean, it is pretty amazing, the miracle of life and all. 

  So I put together a few things NEVER to say to a pregnant woman. Please feel free to add to my list and share your own horror stories.

1.      Are you having twins?

2.      Can I rub your belly?

3.      I was in labor for days.

4.      Say goodbye to sleep.

5.      I only gained 15 pounds when I was pregnant.

6.      You must be having a boy. Your nose is enormous.

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9 Responses to “If you can’t say something nice…”

  1. CaraNo Gravatar says:

    Your former co-workers sound like real jack asses.

  2. Karan I.No Gravatar says:

    I like this, but I am suggesting that you add the #1 thing not to say to ANY woman: Are you pregnant?

    (And, no, I’m not. I just don’t wear an empire waist very well. Ok??)

  3. Cara BaileyNo Gravatar says:

    “You’re still here?!” Yeah, I was 18 days overdue, so I heard that one for about… six weeks.

    Or, “Oh honey, you just need to tell your doctor to induce you.” Considering the rate of unnecessary c-sections rises dramatically when Pitocin in introduced, no thank you.

    And, after the baby is born, when you take them out for the first time and he screams his head off, please don’t ask “oh, is that a baby?” No lady, I keep a howling monkey in my bag.

    Love this Carrie!

  4. Rachelle MorrisonNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with the statements you wise women have made. I had a problem pregnancywith my daughter (after trying to get pregnant for 3 years) and endured just about every procedure, test, rupturing membranes, being induced for 2 days, gel in cervix to help progress labor; pre-eclampsia (hospitalized 3 times in 2 months); on horrible medicine to keep blood pressure down; then after being induced and contracting like labor; emergency C-section almost 5 weeks early. I aways congratulate and make small talk. If I am asked how it was, I say,it is all worth it in the end. I would scare the crap out of some young mother. The thing that infurated me with this birth and my son was when folks would say “Do you know what you are having.” I was often times tempted to say puppies or kittens. I think that is a rude question. :-) Ohhh, one more — “Surely you are going to nurse with those.” Was large busted to start with and they hmmm grew. My two cents for what they are worth.

  5. KaraNo Gravatar says:

    A lady who worked a department over one day saw me walking to the fax machine one day around the beginning of my third trimester and spent about 10 minutes making exclamations over how HUGE I was. She just couldn’t get over it. But the thing was, even at my most pregnant, I was maybe the size of her shin because she was beyond morbidly obese. Which obviously I never said a word about because you don’t go around telling people how fat they are, but it was realllllly hard to keep my mouth shut that day.

  6. TriciaNo Gravatar says:

    As I read through this – I wondered, how many times have I offended a pregnant mother?? Geez, I hope not many. There was never an intention. But I likely have. I know for sure that I touched someone’s belly once and then recoiled realizing that she likely didn’t appreciate it. I now ASK first. Because in reality – it’s a miracle I’m witnessing and I just can’t help but want to touch it! Plus I always buy really nice presents to hopefully make up for whatever faux pas I’ve made…..And yes, my story would scare a new mother to death too….so I keep quiet on that unless someone specifically asks. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing – just sometimes with a few scary parts.

  7. JoelleNo Gravatar says:

    I experienced most of these mind-boggling insults as well. Must be the newsroom idiocracy. And the thing that absolutely put me over the top was anyone who tried to touch my tummy. Seriously. Would you touch a woman co-worker’s belly if she wasn’t pregnant. Idiots.

  8. Karen OjedaNo Gravatar says:

    This is such a great article! I was told I was huge on a regular basis, and asked if I was having twins on a regular basis… and I only gained 36 freaking pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, other than my cankles and large belly, I really don’t think I looked ALL THAT bad. Apparently everyone else saw me differently. I really didn’t care, because I was seriously delighted to be pregnant and did my very best to enjoy it… regardless of the ignorant and predictable comments…

    Then my baby was born…

    I had an emergency c-section. I’m sitting at my very crowded obgyn’s office, along with my mommy, my NEWBORN IN HER INFANT CARRIER, and my overly swollen belly. It was first check-up day, so it wasn’t very long after my invasive operation where a doc gutted me and pulled and tugged my little bundle of joy from my guts and stapled me back together. As mentioned before, I only gained 36 pounds during my pregnancy, but I can assure you that after birth, that 36 pounds did not leave. I was a swollen mess, and it took my belly a while to go away. As a matter of fact, my daughter is 3 years old now and I’m still working on that, but back to my point.
    We are waiting to be seen and some idiot woman looks at me and says,
    “You look like you are about to pop, when is your baby due?!”
    Every single person in the waiting room fell completely silent… I can only assume that everyone was as shocked as me.
    In my hormonal head, I actually daydreamed that I walked over to her and stapled her mouth shut, however, in reality, I just looked at her like she was the stupidest human on the planet and explained that I was SWOLLEN from having a c-section earlier in the week. (Hence, the newborn that is crying at my feet in her carrier… )

  9. TinaNo Gravatar says:

    Great article and glad to know I’m not alone. I’m 16 weeks and actually lost weight in the first trimester. I was not fat to begin with and I am not showing very much yet. I’ve had three people who I thought were friends comment on my “birthing hips” and say how my butt will become huge by the time I deliver. Two out of the three of these women have children of their own and should know how sensitive pregnant women are about their physique! Why do people feel the need to make these rude comments?

    For the most part people have said I look great, so I can only guess their insensitivity is either total stupidity or based upon their own insecurities.

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