I was warned. I was told from the very beginning that it would be like this by my friends who had already been through the battlefield that is the constant barrage of pregnancy questioning from random-ass people. I didn’t listen. I shrugged it off. Surely, it couldn’t be that bad. People are supposed to be nice to pregnant women. How terrible could it be?
In fact, the absolute first time a stranger mentioned my pregnancy, I was all smiles. Finally, someone could tell I was pregnant and not just a little bit paunchy. It was a joyous milestone. Surely my friends were just being overly dramatic.
Then, as I grew bigger, it began. The constant interference from strangers, co-workers, and acquaintances, all armed with their unsolicited comments about my body, my pregnancy, and their concerns for my unborn baby. As a waitress, I have to smile and nod through the bullshit instead of throwing a tray of clam chowder into these people’s faces and storming off the way I’d like to. Anyone who’s been knocked up while working a customer service-oriented job knows this pain all too well. We’re helpless prisoners who must remain subservient while strangers peel away their dignity much like they peel the layers of their blooming onion.
The following is just a dip of the toe into the toxic waters of crap that people like to throw at pregnant women. Are you guilty of one of them?
Are you having twins? Are you due, like, tomorrow?
Stop right there. Anything you say that implies the woman is too big is a super-huge jerk move. First off, you have no right to talk about a woman’s body — ever. Pregnancy is not a hall pass to suddenly comment on a woman’s figure. Secondly, don’t mention her size whatsoever. Pregnant women have enough to worry about when it comes to gaining weight, like not gaining it too fast or too slow.
And guessing when she’s due? Are you out of your mind?! Have some common sense and some common decency and shut the fuck up about her size. Also, she knows her boobs are freakishly large, but only her husband and her BFF can talk about how big they are. Not you, the bar-regular drinking the Long Island iced tea.
You’re going to quit your job right?
Not unless the baby is coming out of my vagina with a trust fund and deed to a house. What century are you living in, people? To imply that a woman should quit her job when the baby comes is asinine. Have you seen the current housing costs? Do you think that because a woman is pregnant that her spouse suddenly gets their salary doubled? You do realize that having a baby would make someone’s living expenses go up, not down, right? So why this question? It’s a loaded question with lots of bullshit attached to it, implying that the mom isn’t a good mom if she can’t stay home full-time with the baby, or that if she was planning on getting knocked up, she should be wealthy enough to afford not to work. Seriously, if you’re asking this question to a woman, you are a douchebag.
Who’s going to watch the baby?
This question is typically asked right after a woman answers “no” to the previous deranged question. It leaves me tempted to say that my Shih Tzu makes for an excellent nanny, and with a little prayer and some positive thinking, we believe the baby will be just fine home alone all day while we work. Come on, people! Do you think that someone toting around a coconut-sized load in her front hasn’t thought about who’s going to watch the baby when she returns to work? She’s thought of it. She’s lost sleep over it; she’s agonized about it. But she’s got a plan or she’s working on one — and regardless of what it is, it’s none of your fucking business.
What does your husband do for a living?
This little nugget pops up for women like myself who have less-than-desirable jobs. As a waitress, people (also known as nosy customers) think that I must be poor. They are really concerned for the welfare of my baby (just not enough to leave a decent tip or avoid running my ass to their table five thousand times). They are really hoping that I’ll say that my husband has a decent job, because clearly, I have screwed up my life royally and waiting tables is no way to support a child. This question’s subtext is so transparent and so disgustingly rude. It implies that the woman in question is in trouble, and hopefully there is a man out there who can save her. You ask this question, and you’re automatically an asshole. Also, I make a lot of money in half the time of people with desk jobs, so suck it.
Were you happy when you found out it was going to be a boy/girl?
No, we were devastated. Is that what you want to hear? Seriously, what kind of a question is this? What answer could you possibly want from this question? Oh, you’re just trying to make polite conversation. Well, try again because this question is just plain dumb. Parents don’t need a million Captain Obviouses to ask them this ridiculous question. Also, gender disappointment is a real thing, and it’s not something to discuss around the water cooler at work or with complete strangers. So stop asking this senseless question and Google some better icebreakers.
Are you going to be one of those people who don’t tell anyone the name?
Yes, Sharon! You bet your ass I am. Don’t ask expecting parents this or any other version of this in hopes of guilting them into telling you their baby name. The reason more and more people are keeping their baby names on the DL is because of people like you who always have something to say. All it takes is one micro expression of disapproval to dash the baby name dreams of an expecting parent. That, or a person saying, “Oh yeah, that is the name of that ax murderer in Dallas.” Or “My niece, you know the one who’s doing time, that’s her name.” If an expecting parent wants to share, they’ll share. Otherwise, butt out.
Was it an oopsie, or did you plan this?
Yes, people actually asked this: I’m talking co-workers and random strangers. WTF?! This is none of anyone’s business. It’s incredibly rude and invasive. Not okay, folks! For those who did plan it, it’s a little irksome that total strangers are implying that maybe it wasn’t planned, meaning: Why on earth would you plan this? And for those who didn’t plan their pregnancies, they have enough to deal with.
Okay, so that’s a lot of venting and a lot of negativity. I’m sure some of you are now muttering about how overly sensitive pregnant women are. Well, yeah, we are overly sensitive — it’s our hormones going out of control, but that doesn’t excuse your bad manners.
Some of you may be scratching your heads and wondering, well then what can I say to a pregnant lady? How about you just treat her like she’s a normal person and talk to her about literally anything else? Seriously, she’d probably like to take a break from onesies and Lamaze chat to hear about a good podcast. And if she wants to talk to you about her pregnancy, she will bring it up because it comes up, literally, almost every day along with her breakfast. Let her guide the conversation, and if she wants your input, she’ll ask for it.
Still feel the need to butt in and bring up that baby bump?
Fine, I’ll leave you with this. The only three things you should ever say to a pregnant woman.
1. You look beautiful.
2. Would you like to sit down?
3. Where are you registered?