Today I thought I'd do a mini (okay, full-sized) rant about how the public treat pregnant people.
Let's talk about some rules.
This includes what TO do and NOT to do around someone who's pregnant. Feel free to share with your friends.
RULE 1: The ONLY thing that is EVER ENTIRELY SAFE to say to a pregnant lady is:
"You look GORGEOUS! May I carry that?"
RULE 2: NO COMMENTING.
"Wow you are so ____ (big/small/basketball shaped/football shaped/insert silly adjective here)___."
I don't know why it is, but it seems that people's brains go to a strange and boundary-less place whenever they see an expecting woman.
RULE 3: UNSOLICITED TOUCHING.
Would you walk up to a strange dog that you didn't know and rub it's belly without asking it's human counterpart for permission? If you would, you run the risk of violating trust and being bitten.
Please control yourselves. I know you feel the need to touch inappropriately: rubbing, petting, patting, etc.
You should only touch someone if they have previously given you explicit permission to do so, and you know what? ASK again. Today might NOT be a good idea to rub that belly. You may be growled at, bitten or intentionally injured for your transgression.
RULE 4: KEEP your HORROR stories to YOURSELF.
Horror stories about your birth or pregnancy or someone else's that you "heard," about or "witnessed," are not for sharing in the supermarket check out line.
WHY would you share this with someone who hasn't had her baby yet? Are you TRYING to make her cry or freak her out? It's likely that she's already on a rollercoaster with a side of freakshow, so just shut the heck up.
Unless you are at a birth trauma forum, DO NOT say ANYTHING about ANYTHING relating to birthing a baby unless she specifically ASKS for your opinion.
RULE 5: ASKING QUESTIONS is OKAY, COMMENTING is NOT.
Asking questions and vomiting an opinion is NOT okay.
"How far along are you?"
"About ___ months/weeks."
"OH! You're ___showing/not showing/big/small/insert idiotic comment here___ for being that far along. You'll never make it to your due date." (SEE RULES 1 & 2).
NO. Again, simply NO. How would you like to be told that you need to go have a poop right now? Or that you need to practice holding things inside your orifices indefinitely? No one should comment on what a person's timeline is for any bodily function. This goes for pregnancy too.
RULE SIX: NO ADVICE pertaining to WHAT she's putting in her mouth.
Noticing what the pregnant person is eating, and passing judgement, whether positively or negatively is unacceptable.
"Oh, you know, caffeine is really bad for the baby."
"You only need an extra 300 calories a day; should you be eating that chocolate?"
"You shouldn't eat sushi, you could give the baby mercury poisoning."
"Good for you for having that green smoothie."
She doesn't need your opinion. That smoothy could have vodka in it for all you know.
A preggo's cravings or nutritional needs vary from SECOND to second. You don't know what she's dealing with; you're not IN her body after all.
Maybe she has a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (vomiting throughout pregnancy-- NOT morning sickness people) and NEEDS her calories wherever she can get them -- maybe caffeine helps her NOT to have a headache.
MAYBE IT DOESN'T MATTER if she has any condition at all besides WANTING TO STUFF HER FACE, it's NOT your baby, your body or your BUSINESS.
RULE SEVEN: STOP BLATHERING about CRACKERS and GINGER.
If upon asking about how she's feeling and her mentioning her nausea, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT start going on about the merits of ginger, gingerale and goddamn soda crackers. SHE's HEARD IT, and unless she ASKS YOU expressly for advice, just SHUT UP and nod in sympathy. NOD with your LIPS CLOSED.
RULE EIGHT: HOW MANY KIDS SHE HAS IS IRRELEVANT.
"Oh, is this your first?"
"Aw, how wonderful! It's amazing."
"Oh, is this your first?"
"No, it's our ____ (second/third/17th)___."
"Oh. Well, you know what to do."
THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS ASSHOLE! Let me tell you something; EVERY pregnancy is different, just as every human being is different. Just because someone has kids, or is having an additional pregnancy doesn't mean that things are easier this time around. Things may be MORE difficult, or a walk in the park: you don't know, you're not the one pregnant and dealing with life, so STOP JUDGING.
RULE NINE: OFFERING HELP is a NICE thing to do.
I don't care if you see a NON pregnant person struggling in the store; help them out with whatever they're struggling with, or ask someone else to. Pregnant or not, life is hard sometimes.
RULE TEN: SHUT UP about how SLEEPING NOW is important, because after the baby arrives, she'll never sleep again.
It's entirely possible that heartburn, frequent trips to pee every 20 minutes, or something else are keeping her up at night.
This goes for any partners too -- it may be a sleepless frigging household. You SHUT UP about "sleeping when the baby sleeps," too. She'll do whatever is best for her and her family.
RULE ELEVEN: What she's HAVING is a TINY HUMAN, so no GENDER comments.
"Aw, do you know what you're having?"
"Yes, a sparkly unicorn."
"Oh, do you know what you're having?"
"Yes, a __boy/girl___."
"Oh, and is that what you wanted first?" --- THIS. THIS is STUPID. Why would you say this? It doesn't matter whether or not parents have a gender preference for the first/second/umpteenth child. They're having what they're having. Are you really emotionally invested about whether she wanted one of each or all one gender or one before the other? Will you be offering long-term emotional support if she doesn't get her want? Okay then. Don't bring it up.
RULE TWELVE: COMMENTING about DIAPER DUTY.
"Enjoy any help you get now, because with the next one, people are less likely to help change diapers."
THIS IS RIDICULOUS! Do you KNOW her family, village or support system? No. You don't. Shut up about things that don't concern you and that you have no idea about.
RULE THIRTEEN: EXERCISE SUGGESTIONS.
"You know, prenatal yoga can really help ease of delivery."
That may be true, but she may be too tired to do anything except drive to the store for cookies. Don't suggest or comment about her exercise habits or lack thereof. You don't know how she feels at the moment.
This list of rules is in it's early stages... feel free to add any insights in the comments section. We're only scratching the surface people.