Pregnancy is at time when a lot of things are running high—your hormones, your emotions and, if you’re unlucky, your glucose (but that’s another story altogether). The last thing you need is a well-intentioned family member, friend or grocery store cashier giving you unsolicited advice and asking personal questions. Oddly enough, though, that’s often precisely what happens.
It seems like being pregnant is society’s invitation to get all up in your business, as even strangers think it’s acceptable to come touch your belly. (PS—It’s not.) So, society, take it from a former pregnant lady and avoid saying these 10 things next time you encounter a woman who is expecting.
1. So, do you think you’re ready?
Is being ready for a child an actual thing? I’m at this strange meeting point of being afraid of everything and looking forward to everything all at once. My child’s nursery is done and I’ve baby-proofed my kitchen six months in advance. Is that what you mean by ready? And why does it even matter if I think I’m ready? That baby is coming anyway. Actually, the whole question of being ready makes my head spin, so, I’ll just smile and nod my head in the affirmative. For the fifty-third time today.
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2. You’re carrying high. I think it’s a girl.
You’re so talented. Being a physician who also has x-ray vision must be really exhausting. Thank you, though, for notifying me of the gender of my unborn child months before he or she enters the world. I’ll start buying gender-specific onesies and just skip my ultrasound.
3. You’re carrying low. Must be a boy.
4. Can I give you a bit of advice?
No. I don’t want to hear what is working for you or what failed miserably because, undoubtedly, the exact opposite holds true for someone else. I’ve gotten advice from many people, even though I know that I’ll be winging it most of the time when my baby does arrive. So, unless I asked you for it, I’m going to have to politely decline your advice—or impolitely decline it, depending on how long it’s been since my last snack.
5. Are you excited?
Of course not! I’m actually totally bummed.
Yes, genius, I’m excited. And scared. And tired. And swollen. And hungry. Can we talk about how excited I am over brunch?
6. You’ve been nauseous?! Poor thing. I never got sick during my pregnancy.
How wonderful for you. I bet your heartburn was nonexistent and you never even had to wear elastic around your pants to avoid buttoning them over your ever-expanding hips, either. Tell me more about that.
7. Are you allowed to eat that?
Well, I think so. Not eating that particular item wasn’t on any of the pregnancy to-don’t lists the random bank teller gave me when I made my deposit yesterday, so I think I’m good.
8. Are you sure there’s only one baby in there?
There you go with your x-ray vision again. Yes, I’m sure. I’m as sure as the professionally trained ultrasound technician, anyway. I actually think the baby is on the left side of my growing belly, and the right side is just stuffed with those sticky buns they sell at the gas station. That must be it.
9. Are you going to go back to work?
(Or any of the following: Are you going to breastfeed? Are you going to use cloth diapers? Are you going to baby wear? Etc.) All of these questions imply that the alternative to them is the incorrect answer, which is annoying to my easily-annoyed pregnant self.
I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to your invasive question. I can tell you what I intend to do, but that may change when my child actually arrives. I can assure you, though, that whatever choices I make will be the best ones I can. Thank you for your concern.
10. Are you nervous for the delivery?
Oh, that little thing? Of course not. I’m looking forward to the agony, actually. Who doesn’t like a challenge?