So, I am officially four days out from Baby G’s due date, and I thought this would be a great time to give a tribute to all the highly unnecessary commentary every pregnant woman is bound to receive at some point during those long nine months. For those who have been pregnant, or who have been married to a pregnant woman, I hope you appreciate this! And for others, I hope you will listen and take any subtle advice here to heart!

By the way, I know this photo might not seem related, but it's my most recent picture, on the day I rolled over to 39 weeks pregnant! Woo hoo!

By the way, I know this photo might not seem related, but it’s my most recent picture, on the day I rolled over to 39 weeks pregnant! Woo hoo!

First of all, may I state the rule that should be known to all (and yet is violated by so many?)… You should NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant or when her baby is due. I don’t care if you think it is obvious. It is a downright risky move. I have been blown away by how many people willingly throw caution to the wind and ask anyway. I mean, it’s one thing now that I am 9 months and look like I have a watermelon strapped to my belly area. But even then you are taking a risk, I tell you. You never know what a complete stranger’s body type might be. There are some women out there who just look pregnant. And what are you going to do when you ask and she says that she’s not? I have heard plenty of stories of people sticking their foot in their mouth. It’s just not worth the risk! On this note, I will say, I went to a women’s Bible study when I was about six months along. I was new to the group, but was wearing a maternity dress and it was quite clear I was expecting. However, out of this well-trained group of polite Southern girls, not a single person asked if I was pregnant. Not even one. They knew better! I volunteered the information to one of the hostesses at the end of the night, just so word would get out and everyone would be at liberty to talk about it.

But of course, not everyone will follow that rule. So let me give you an example of where that conversation can go. When I was only 17 weeks pregnant (showing, but not a lot–still wearing normal clothes!), Dave and I had this interaction with Mike in hardware at Home Depot back in July:
(First, general questions about certain screws and bolts we needed for a project we were doing)
Mike: So… (looks at me)… are you guys expecting a baby?
Me: (A little caught off guard–this was the first time someone had asked in public) Well, yes, we are! In December!
Mike: (stammering through his awkward reply) Oh great… well I wasn’t sure. Congratulations! I didn’t know if you really were pregnant or if you might just be kind of fat.

Yes, he said that. Awesome. What I wanted to say was, “And see Mike, that’s why you should NEVER ask. What if I was just fat? What would you have said then?”

By the way, it’s never encouraging to tell a pregnant woman that you could have just mistaken her for being fat.

Let’s also talk about the unnecessary “twin” comments. Last month, I checked out at Publix and the lady who bagged my groceries offered to carry them to my car for me, which I accepted. (Let me pause a moment and say that, at this point, yes, I was very obviously pregnant at 35 weeks along. However, I was not even wearing a maternity shirt this particular day. I did not look as pregnant as I could have, honestly.) As we walked out to the car, the lady asked, “So, when’s your baby due?” I replied with excitement, “December 12!” After all, at this point, that was about 5 weeks away–seemed close to me. “December 12?” she asked in surprise, clearly implying that she thought it should be more like November 12, which would be in a few days. “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”

OK, so let’s dissect that comment. How can the implication that you look like you are having twins EVER be taken well? I think the not-so-subtle undertone there is “You look WAY TOO BIG to only be having one baby. It must be two.” So… why would you ever say that to someone? I’m not sure.

Seven months along, out for a hike on our baby moon. Yes, it did appear pretty obvious that I was pregnant at this point...

Seven months along, out for a hike on our baby moon. Yes, it did appear pretty obvious that I was pregnant at this point…

And the comments don’t just come from strangers, you know. I have a good friend who is a few weeks behind me in her own pregnancy. When she made the announcement at work, one of her co-workers was happy to repeatedly say (both to my friend and to others) that at last my friend was going to get fat, and that maybe she would finally get a chest. It seems to me unnecessary to discuss why these comments are inappropriate and generally not encouraging.

And finally, now that I’m full-term, I’m getting the “You look like you’re going to pop!” commentary. That actually doesn’t bother me–I recognize there is much truth in that. However, the other day at Walmart an older man turned around in line and acted surprised when he saw me standing there. (Like who hasn’t ever seen a pregnant woman?) “Wow!” he said. “You look like you’re ready to go any day now!” Well, yes, I explained my due date was in about two weeks. “Well, don’t sneeze! That baby may come right out!” He chuckled and walked away, suggesting that my husband should have his running shoes ready. I chuckled along with him but what I really wanted to say was, “From everything I’ve heard about the childbirth process, I’m pretty sure a sneeze wouldn’t quite do the trick. In fact, I hear of women who push for hours to birth their babies. I only wish it was as easy as a sneeze. But thanks for your advice!”

I probably sound like I’m a bit bitter. I’m really not. In truth, none of the comments I have received have actually offended me at all. I know that by nature of being pregnant, I am a target for such commentary. But I did want to throw these thoughts out there to encourage others to THINK about what they’re saying to pregnant women before they say it!

Let me close with an example of what is OK to say to a pregnant woman. The other night I was at a Christmas function, and a sweet older man in a wheelchair reached out and patted my arm as I walked by. I stopped and he looked me in the eye and said, “I think pregnant women are just so beautiful!” I smiled and thanked him as I went on my way. And I thought… more people could learn from that man! What a kind comment to make to a woman who, at nine months pregnant, feels like she just can’t get much bigger. So, next time you start to say something to an expectant mom, think about that guy, and try to make your comments kind and encouraging!