As I enter my doctor’s door, he cheerfully blurts out “So, do I see a little bump there?”
No. No. No, for the love of God, do not ever ask. Don’t ask anyone if they’re pregnant. Don’t ask if they’re trying. Don’t even ask if they’re thinking about it.
Even women that appear to be pregnant, just to be safe, don’t ask.
People still ask this question in the 21st century, when body shaming is at its worst and everyone should be more empathetic about pregnancy issues. Some continue to embarrass themselves by continuing with the conversation.
This happened with a coworker after asking me if I was pregnant. The woman who asked continued to embarrass me by saying “Oh, I thought you were, but maybe you just weren’t standing up straight,” while staring directly at my stomach.
Thanks, honey. You made my day.
Another coworker asked me a couple of days ago when I was due, and after embarrassingly telling her that I wasn’t pregnant, she said, “Oh, I think I thought you were someone else.” Lady, if you don’t know me, just don’t take your chances!
It is the inevitable faux pas that has been used forever by disconnected, socially awkward people. This isn’t the first time it has happened to me, and sadly it probably won’t be the last, because some people just don’t get it.
Unfortunately, I am a little apprehensive to speak up to these people in person, so why not do it in the next best way: passive-aggressively through writing?
Being asked if you’re pregnant is offensive and emotionally draining. These are the reasons why no one, and I mean no one should ask if a person is expecting:
1. They may have experienced a loss.
As someone who has experienced a miscarriage, asking if I am pregnant at the wrong time can ruin me. It has taken me years to heal from such an emotionally draining experience, and a simple reminder can make all the memories come back instantly.
According to the March of Dimes, about 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, and 10-15% of those are recognized. It is more common than most people think, and some people don’t even talk about it after it happens.
I started to be more open about my miscarriage, and I have found that many people have experienced them, even people I am around on a regular basis.
2. They may be experiencing infertility.
According to Women’s Health.gov, 10% of women have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. So, they could be trying, and not succeeding. I have fortunately not had experience with infertility, but knowing friends who have, it can be exhausting. Someone asking them if they are pregnant or when they are going to be can be very insulting and may put them over the edge.
This also includes women who already have children. Don’t ask them when the next one is coming. They may be experiencing issues. Plus, it’s none of your business.
3. They may not want kids.
I never understood this because I always knew I wanted children, but some people just don’t, and that’s okay.
4. It might just be their body type.
Hey, I admit it: I am not the thinnest person. I am not one of those moms who gained only 20 pounds when pregnant and then instantly lost it when after giving birth. (Those moms also seem to be the ones whose babies sleep through the night after two days out of the hospital.)
I have flab. It’s in my genetics, and it’s probably partly caused by the “It’s Friday, I can have a doughnut … cookie … and a couple of drinks” epidemic that has been consuming my life since I became a mother.
It has been estimated that nearly 80% of women say they are unhappy about their appearances, and Americans spend billions of dollars a year on cosmetics, beauty supplies, and perfume stores. So I’m not the only one that isn’t perfect.
I don’t need another reminder that I am not 125 pounds, thanks. My doctor already does that.
5. It’s embarrassing for me and you.
I try to not let it get to me, but when someone asks if I am pregnant, I get really down on myself. It looms in my brain for quite some time. I think to myself, should I start working out more? Should I not eat that dessert a coworker brought in? Should I start avoiding people in general?
But then I just try and take a deep breath and start to feel sorry for them. Because they someday too will be asked if they are pregnant, and they will feel the same embarrassment as I did.
So don’t ask someone if they’re pregnant.
Because being wrong does far more damage than keeping your mouth shut.
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