Did You Really Just Say That?

-by Ashlee Schaeffer- Is it rude to approach a woman you hardly know and comment on her growing waistline? Should you concern yourself with the personal choices she makes for her body? In most cases, if you value life and limb, you should never discuss such things with any woman, especially if you are only an acquaintance. Now, what if this woman is pregnant?

For reasons unknown, when a woman becomes pregnant, her body and personal choices are up for review by the general public. At no other time would anyone dare speak to a woman of such things. Weight gain, delivery nightmares, and advice for breast-feeding are a few of the possible conversation starters with those who are expecting. During my recent twin pregnancy, I dealt with many unwanted comments and questions. So, for the sake of posterity, let’s take a look at a few of the most common.

Haven’t had that baby yet? You sure there’s not another one in there? Your stomach looks terribly uncomfortable.

These comments came in a plethora of colorful varieties. But, let’s face it, all of these can be broken down to someone commenting on how large I was getting. By the time I was seven months pregnant, I had pushed my driver’s seat back as far as possible to make room for my growing babies. I could barely reach the steering wheel or pedals. Trust me, I knew exactly how big I was and didn’t need the constant reminders.

You better get your sleep now because, once those babies arrive, you won’t get any.

Sleep during the majority of my pregnancy was hard. With restless legs, I felt compelled to move constantly. The twins jumped on my bladder like a moon bounce, keeping me running to the bathroom. Heartburn made me feel like my insides were melting. Then there were leg cramps that forced me to get up and stretch. It was impossible to find any comfortable sleeping position. I wondered what exactly this fabled thing called sleep was, and how could I get some of it.

Are you planning on nursing? Let me give you some advice about it.

I know several women, including myself, who find this an uncomfortable topic with the general public. After all, breastfeeding deals with a private area of a woman’s body. Since I don’t normally disclose information about this area of my body to random folks, why would pregnancy change my mode of operation? Perhaps I am a prude, but I prefer to discuss such things like this only with family, friends, and doctors. Yes, I know it’s a natural thing, but so is having a bowel movement.

I had the worst pregnancy and/or delivery ever so let me tell you all about it.

Telling a pregnant woman such stories might be borderline evil. What purpose could they possibly serve other than to terrify? I endured many horrid tales about heinous things that might happen during pregnancy and delivery. Of course, it was made all better by saying, “I’m sure your delivery will be fine” or “I hope your pregnancy goes well though.” Mine was considered a high risk pregnancy, so I didn’t care to have any extra nightmares on my plate. I would rather have heard those stories after my twins were safely in this world. Then I could share my own stories and laugh at it all.

This only covers a small fraction of questions and comments that pregnant women endure from random interlopers, many of them too inappropriate to write about here. My point is that there might be a better way to talk to a pregnant woman. One might try giving her a compliment, ask how she’s feeling, or how the baby is doing. This is so much better than commenting on her body, her lack of sleep, or telling her about your thirty hour labor. After all, expectant mothers work nonstop to create life. From my experience, they could use a little break.