10 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman
There are certain comments that we’ll never get used to—even if we have learned to laugh them off.
By Jennifer Marino Walters
© Nick Daly/Digital Vision/Thinkstock
As I write this, I am 34 weeks pregnant with fraternal twin boys, and my husband and I couldn’t be more thrilled. But it sometimes seems as if strangers will say anything to try to bring us down from our happy cloud. Sure, we’ve gotten used to people staring at me as if I’m a zoo exhibit when I waddle down the sidewalk. But there are certain comments we hear way too often that we’ll never get used to—even if we have learned to laugh them off.
So, to help ensure that other expecting couples never have to hear these unpleasant comments, I’ve compiled a list of 10 things never to say to a pregnant woman you’ve just met—especially one who’s expecting twins or more!
1. STATEMENT: You look like you’re ready to burst!
TRANSLATION: You look like a beached whale!
I began hearing this gem at about week 32 of my pregnancy, from everyone from waitresses to the salesgirl at Pier 1 Imports. And honestly, it’s the last thing a very pregnant woman needs to hear when her hormones are raging and she can no longer fit into her largest maternity clothes. So please don’t say it. You wouldn’t tell a stranger she looks fat if she wasn’t pregnant, would you?
2. STATEMENT: Twin boys? You’re sure going to have your hands full!
TRANSLATION: Your kids are going to be crying, pooping, hell-raising little terrors.
People just love to point out the negative aspects of having twins—the hard work, the long nights, etc. I’m not sure why. All my husband and I can think about is the joy the babies will bring to our lives—the cuddles, the smiles, etc. Those rewards will far outweigh any of the inconveniences. Double trouble? Sure. But also double the fun!
3. STATEMENT: Get all the sleep you can now.
TRANSLATION: You are never going to sleep again. Ever.
Moms-to-be are well aware of the sleepless nights in our future. We don’t need you to remind us—especially if you are childless and well-rested. (If you are a new parent who is simply trying to commiserate, then maybe we can talk!)
4. STATEMENT: Enjoy (insert activity) while you still can.
TRANSLATION: You will never again have time to (insert activity) once the baby comes. In fact, you’ll never have time to do ANYTHING. You’ll simply be a shell of your former self.
I happen to know plenty of parents who still watch movies, read books, and enjoy dinners at restaurants. I know many working moms with successful careers and happy children. So I’m not buying this whole idea that life suddenly ends when you have a baby. Sure, life changes a lot. Maybe I won’t be going bar-hopping every night. Maybe my new exercise routine will be pushing my babies around the neighborhood in their stroller, and my nights out with my husband will have to be planned instead of spontaneous. But neither of us would have it any other way.
5. QUESTION: You’re planning to breastfeed, right?
TRANSLATION: If you don’t breastfeed, you will be the most horrible mother ever to walk the face of the earth.
I’ve been bombarded with the “breast is best” message practically since the moment the plus sign appeared on my pee stick. I’ve also been completely shocked by how worked up people get over the whole breastfeeding issue. The checkout lady at the grocery store does not need to know whether I plan to give my babies my boob or a bottle. The truth is, the way a mother chooses to feed her child is a very personal decision, and only she knows what is best for her and her baby.
6. STATEMENT: Ooohhh, look! You have (insert pregnancy –related ailment)!
TRANSLATION: Ew, gross! Stinks to be you!
My pedicurist gleefully announced during my 33rd week that I’d developed a few varicose veins. Couldn’t she let me continue to live in my ignorant, can’t-see-my-legs state of bliss? The lesson: If you spot a pregnant woman sporting cankles, chipmunk cheeks, or any other pregnancy-related nuisance, there’s no need to point it out to her! Simply tell her she’s beautiful—because she is.
7. STATEMENT: Wow! You sure were hungry!
TRANSLATION: You just ate enough food to feed the entire U.S. Army, you fat pig.
A note to all food servers: Saying this to anyone—especially to a pregnant woman—is the best way to ensure that you get a lousy tip. I actually had two waitresses tell me this when I was only weeks away from my due date. How on earth could they think this was OK? Please bear in mind that a pregnant woman is always hungry. And that’s a good thing, because expectant moms are generally supposed to consume an extra 300 calories per day for each baby she is carrying—even more than that if she is very active, like me. So I will pig out with pride!
8. STATEMENT: Wow, twin boys/girls! Too bad it wasn’t one of each … you’d be finished.
TRANSLATION: You are a complete failure for being pregnant with two babies of the same sex. You must now try for the boy/girl, or you will never feel whole.
The number of times an expectant mom of same-sex twins will hear this statement throughout her pregnancy is staggering. It’s as if having at least one child of each gender is the only acceptable outcome to starting a family. And it makes no sense to me. My husband and I are over the moon about our two boys, and people should not assume anything different. If we do decide to have a third baby, it will be because we want another child to love—not because we wish one of our boys had been a female.
9. QUESTION: Do twins run in your family?
TRANSLATION: Did you conceive your twins naturally, or with the help of fertility treatments?
The answer is that twins run on my mom’s side of the family. Does that mean my husband and I conceived our twins naturally? Not necessarily. Does it matter? No.
10. STATEMENT: Good luck with your twins! I have a 6-month old baby and couldn’t imagine having two.
TRANSLATION: You are totally screwed.
My response to this is usually a polite smile before I walk away. But what I really want to say is, “Well, I couldn’t imagine having only one.” Because now that I’ve grown to love my unborn babies, it’s true—I couldn’t fathom a life without both of them.