Now topping 200 pounds, I am a pregnant spectacle. I feel eyes following me in amusement, horror or amazement wherever I go. I am now lumbering around my workplace with a giant belly and swollen ankles and I can’t even walk 30 seconds across the room to the printer without people stopping me to comment on my impending labor or my body.
I also have a toddler at home and frankly I’m just exhausted. Every joint hurts and I’m no longer sleeping right. Another fun fact: I peed myself twice before I came to work this morning. I’m wearing freaking Poise pads, people. All I want is to melt into the background and be invisible, but this extra 30 plus pounds all in my midsection and butt makes me pretty hard to ignore.
I know people are curious and are often just making conversation. Others truly care about how I’m doing and I get that. However, some questions and comments are just not welcome.
Here’s the five things I wish you would please stop saying to me or asking me as I hit Week 40— and a few things you should ask.
1. “Girl, you shouldn’t be working.”
I have a major problem with this one. It makes me feel angry and guilty at the same time. Why shouldn’t I be here? My family needs the money and my paid leave is limited. Every day I stay home is another day away from the baby. I know I may look miserable but I need to be here and I still enjoy the work. Please. Just. Stop. It’s none of your business.
2. “Wow, are there two babies in there?”
No, there are not, sir. No there are NOT. Thanks for making me now feel even more enormous, self conscious and unattractive. It’s not a funny joke. My body is not a joke. (Surprising no one, it’s only men who dare say this to me.)
3. “Why haven’t you had that baby yet!?”
Use your head? How could I possibly have the answer to this? I already am feeling an intense amount of pressure to deliver this child and make sure he’s safe. I know a new baby is exciting and everyone is anxious to see them. But please don’t add to the stress. We want to meet him just as much as everyone else does.
4. “Can I please touch?”
I guess I should be grateful you actually asked instead of just reaching forward and groping my now permanently-hard stomach. But honestly, it puts me in a weird spot. I don’t want you to touch me, but I feel weird saying no. Chances are, the pregnant woman you’re asking for all the over-the-clothes belly access feels the same as I do. Likely, they only want their partner or extremely close friends and family to touch them. No one wants to be rubbed down awkwardly by a coworker at the water cooler.
5. “When’s your due date again?/“Are you ready to pop yet?”/Oh my Goodness! I had no idea you were THAT CLOSE! Are you ready?”
These questions are asked constantly of any pregnant woman in her last trimester. They are asked so often by the same coworkers and acquaintances (or strangers) that it’s like Groundhog Day. I know people are just making conversation or are just curious. They probably aren’t being asked to be annoying. But you have no idea how many times we’re approached with those same questions, day after day after day. It’s so old by now. And obviously you aren’t paying attention to my answers because this is now the 17th time you’ve asked in the last month.
So what can you say to or ask us raging, on-edge preggos without incurring wrath? These are a few things I would love to hear as I prepare to deliver!
1. “Do you need anything from me right now? What can I do to make this easier for you?”
Just the offer of help is so nice. Knowing there’s a lifeline out there helps.
2. “I bet you’re probably tired, but you look great.”
I’m swollen and large, but it’s always nice to hear that you look like you’ve got it together. The kind words are so nice.
3. “You’re going to be an amazing mother.”
For first-time moms facing a completely life-changing event, this reassurance that we can actually do it is everything. For second, third and fourth-time mamas, just hearing that you think we can do it and handle this means the world. Being a mom is the most wonderful, yet challenging thing. Hearing that you think we’ve GOT THIS — that’s what we really need as we head into labor and delivery.