7 Motherhood Terms That Make Me Crazy



At 37, I was a little late to the whole mothering gig. During my first ultrasound, the OB, whilst checking my lady credentials, used the term elderly primagravida. “Did he say ‘elderly’? What exactly is going on down there?” I wondered. Was my uterus sprouting chin hairs? Did my vagina mail him $5 for Christmas? Then the OB gently explained that “elderly primigravida” refers to a pregnant woman over the age of 34. Great, so my crotchal region is one chip short of “BINGO!”

Needless to say, I’ve had strong feelings about what I call “mom lingo” ever since. Here’s a short list of motherhood terms and phrases that need to go to hell and die:

1. Baby Bump.  I’m not really sure what was wrong with “belly” or “stomach,” but someone somewhere decided that pregnancy didn’t sound close enough to a to a jungle disease. “Aww, look at your baby bump! You should probably treat that with a little benzoyl peroxide or something.” or “Her baby bump is totes the cutest.” Please. Just. Stop it.

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2. Pump and Dump. I am actually guilty of using this phrase, but I was strongly influenced by a fishbowl-sized mojito. Look, I get that this term isn’t just cutesy; it’s also accurate. Had a few drinks? Pump your breast milk and then toss that White Russian down the drain. The problem is that every time I hear “pump and dump,” I imagine some poor mom hooked up to a breast pump as she squats on a toilet. And now you do too. Let’s come up with some other phrase, shall we? Maybe “saving the baby’s liver” or “absolving myself of guilt about drinking a fishbowl-sized mojito”?

3. Push Present. Okay, first, when did this become a thing? A gift for having a baby? I agree that labor and delivery are, well, laborious, but it’s not like moms are doing dads a favor. Once pregnant, that baby’s gotta come out. True fact, ladies.

But beyond my beef with the very idea of giving a woman a necklace or a fancy handbag to say, “Thanks for birthing,” I take issue with the term. Like “pump and dump,” a very particular image comes to mind when I hear “push present.”

Picture it: A woman in stirrups, seized by contractions. She howls. She grunts. She bears down. “I can see it!” shouts the doctor. A cheery burst of confetti shoots from the woman’s hooha. And then, joy of joys, out pops a neatly wrapped box containing a blouse from Ann Taylor LOFT and a comfy pair of linen capris. Congratulations! It’s a new outfit. Sorry, no returns.

This is so stupid that I can’t even . . .

4. DD, DS and DH. Are you kidding me with this? Dear son, dear daughter, and dear husband? How about “son,” “daughter,” and “husband”? Too many letters? How about “kids” and “spouse”? How about “family”? How about we not make our loved ones sound like government agencies? How about you don’t force me to refer to my family members as “dear”? I always love my family. However, I do not always like my family. In all fairness, my family does not always like me. Sure, sometimes I’m my husband’s DW, but a lot of the time I’m his “OMGWR?” (Oh my god, woman, really?) or even just his long, defeated sigh, which kind of defies an acronym.

No more. This is dumb.

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5. Mucus Plug. Not slang, I know. But this is just way, way, way too accurate. I’m actually lobbying to come up with some euphemism to replace this one. “Baby stopper” has a certain appeal. “Stork cork” maybe? I’m open to suggestions.

6. Effaced. Again, this is not slang, but this term is misleading. Effacement is when your cervix thins or “ripens” before delivery. Until I took an actual birthing class, I thought being effaced meant that the baby was, well, see the picture below? Then you get the idea.

effacement (1)

I’m not sure why we can’t just say “thinning” instead of “effacement.” When you’re 9 months pregnant, it would be really nice to hear that something is getting thinner, even if that something is a delicate little pad of skin that’s about to be massacred by your precious miracle.

7. Fur Baby. Look, folks, I know you love your pets. I love my pet too. She’s a member of our family. We feed her better than we feed ourselves. We let her musk up all the couches and beds. We make peace with the tumbleweed-sized fur balls blowing through our home. But a “fur baby” she is not.

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First of all, unlike my actual baby, the dog has the decency to crap outside in the grass. And unlike my actual baby, the dog is content to sleep most of the day and night. And unlike my actual baby, the dog did not suckle from my bosom and thus turn that bosom into a deflated heap of chest flesh. However, both my son and my dog do enjoy chewing on a good stick. But really, the similarities end there. Unless you’re nursing an Ewok, no more “fur baby,”

And that’s it. That’s my list. If you’ve used one of the above terms, I’ve thought less of you.

(But, for what it’s worth, I just ate a slice of American cheese and a handful of Tostitos for breakfast.)

Related post: 13 Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents


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  1. 1

    Lizzy says

    When I first started reading parenting forums I was so confused by the whole DH, DD, DS thing. I kept thinking…”designated driver?” When I found out what they meant, it drove me insane! I would roll my eyes every time I read a comments section. But it really helps when you have character limitations like in the confessional.
    I still like to say “baby bump” though, lol!

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    • 2

      Kay says

      Yes, yes, yes!! I absolutely hate those terms. The only time i give in to them is when I’m writing a scary mommy confession .sometimes it is hard to get all my bitching into the word limit!

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    • 3

      Jamie-Lynn says

      HATE the acronyms too! Makes it so much harder to read./understand even though I know what they mean. In the beginning I thought they meant Dumb Husband… and when someone told me it was Dear I didn’t really believe it or thought it was sarcastic. Either way, Hate it!

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    • 4

      rachel says

      I have to admit that until reading this, those acronyms annoyed me because I didn’t know what they meant and I saw them everywhere. Now that I know, they’re even more annoying because they’re stupid.

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      • 5

        Love says

        They’re also scarily accurate sometimes. See also Dick Head, Damn Husband, etc…

        LOL Seriously, it’s much better than the gag-inducing “hubs”

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  2. 9


    This is HILARIOUS! But I will fight you on push present because I blew out my vagina twice and while a new baby is the most amazing present ever, my shiny jewelry helped eased the pain of my blown out vagina. You are a hoot , lady!

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      • 11

        Jen says

        Probably the same as what I had.. The wall between the birthing canal and rectum tears open because there was too much pressure during birth. Yeah.. no fun.. It’s literally like being ripped a new one. That was my joke to keep me sane through the process.. I also have a shiny little dragon made of silver that my kid’s father got me.. but I agree that the term for that does suck..

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        • 12

          Sarah M says

          I received a 3rd degree perineal tear when my son was delivered. THat’s where you literally rip open from your vagina hole to your butthole. IT HURTS LIKE THE WORST THING YOU COULD IMAGINE! I think I had about 150 stitches after and went through 3 bottles of Percocet before I could finally tolerate the pain again. HORRIBLE. With my daughter 6 years later they did an episiotome instead so, no tearing but when I pushed I pushed so hard (because, she was stubborn) that I literally clenched so hard to get her out I got the worst hemorroids AND I broke blood vessels all over my face. My eyes puffed out, my cheeks..BOTH times I literally ‘blowed out’. So…I could see how a “Push Present” would be a nice gesture for someone who went through so much…I didn’t get one but hey. (Gets angry all over again). I can understand the annoyance with the term ‘Push Present’. Can’t we just say gift?

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    • 15

      Dana says

      I absolutely FREAKED at my fertility doctor for her staff calling me and using that term. “we need to check the viability of the embryo.’ Every time I heard it I felt dead and cold inside. As it turned out I lost the baby. I told her at my next appointment to change the damn terminology. It was incredibly stressful.

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  3. 20

    Pattie says

    WHY? WTF? Push present? I hate that idea so very much. It goes hand in hand with the staged portraits in the labor room of the father (presumably father) kissing the forehead of the laboring woman as she fakes a smile/grimace. Gah! you entitled people need to stop with all the airbrushing of your lives.

    Anyway, Jess, I am with you on all of these.

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    • 21

      KRS says

      I have one of those pictures but I wasn’t faking and my husband wasn’t either. I actually enjoyed my labor. Despite what everyone insisted, it is possible to have a great labor/birth. I also have some pictures of me deeply concentrating and I love those, too. People want to look back fondly at big life events-if that picture makes them happy then that’s good enough for me!

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      • 22

        christine k says

        I was cracking jokes all through my active/late labour. Who says the smile is staged? (and no I had no pain meds… labour really didn’t hurt like people claimed it would)

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        • 23

          Sarah M says

          That’s great, dear Christine, but for most of us it’s an agonizing, gut-wrenching, horrendous, excruciating experience. Hell 4 years later things STILL hurt. If I even think about getting pregnant again my uterus screams at me with a big nasty cramp. “Don’t you remember how bad that hurt? Here’s a reminder!” Heck I have nightmares. So…I can understand how the photo would be a bit annoying…because dammit I wish I could have had a more easy-going experience. Just another reminder that it’s not and wasn’t for me and perhaps I’m just a big ol’ freak. And I don’t think the photos need to stop but we just all need to keep in mind EVERYONE’S labor is different..and be real about it. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine. ;)

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          • 24

            Lysa says

            My second labor wasn’t as bad as my first, and I didn’t get any meds, but I still think that if my husband had tried to kiss my forehead I would have bitten his face. No one needs to be near my face while I’m in labor.

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        • 25

          Amanda H says

          lies! i joked until i was 6 cm and the contractions were 5sec between ,granted had a 2nd degree tear and a 17 hr labor.it hurt alot!! lets just say i’d rather get me jaw kicked out of place again than give birth anytime soon… i did all natural too btw

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    • 26

      Evie says

      Push presents… so dumb. I didn’t get one from my husband, nor did I want one. My sister, meanwhile, talked about push presents for MONTHS before delivering…. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

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