Warning: This post contains pregnancy hormones, irritability, sarcasm, and general rudeness. Don’t like it? Don’t read it. In fact, if you’re not pregnant and have never been pregnant, maybe you shouldn’t read this.
This is another hormonal pregnant post. So if it comes across as rude, well, I’m sorry. If you’ve said one of these phrases to me, that doesn’t mean this post is directed toward you. Many of the things on this list are perfectly appropriate and polite things to say in general. You had no way of knowing that I hate these phrases when I’m pregnant. And hey, I’m 8.5 months pregnant: I’m allowed to hate whatever I want. And frankly, I’m allowed to be a little rude.
Still with me? Here are ten things I really don’t want you to say to me right now. In case I see you in the next few weeks, or month, or however long it is before this baby comes out already.
1. “How are you?” Yes, I know: this is a perfectly fine thing to say to anyone. In fact, it’s the generic polite phrase that you should use with everyone, friend and stranger alike. It’s the way people say it right now that annoys the heck out of me. I don’t mind when people say this the same way they would say it to anyone. As in, Hi, how are you, what’s up? But a lot of people ask you this when you’re pregnant in a tone of voice that would be appropriate to use with a person who’s lying in a hospital bed dying of cancer. They ask in the tone you use when someone’s best friend just died. In a hushed, nervous voice, as if something is terribly wrong. I’m not broken or sick, okay? I’m just pregnant. Really done being pregnant and ready to get this baby out already. Thanks.
This question also annoys me because quite frankly, I don’t want to answer it. Usually I’m an honest person, and even though the right answer to this question is pretty much always “fine,” I like to mix it up a bit. If I’m having a bad day, I’ll say something like, “Could use some coffee; how about you?” or something along those lines. If I’m not fine, I don’t like to say that I am. And the reality is that when I’m 8.5 months pregnant, I’m never fine. The true answer to “how are you” is that I’ve spent half the morning sitting on the toilet, and I still need to pee, and I feel like a bowling ball is about to fall out between my legs, and my head hurts, and my hips hurt, and I can’t sleep, and I’d really like to eat a spoonful of Jif peanut butter and why the heck do I want peanut butter? I’m tired of peanut butter. But that isn’t really the answer people are looking for. And honestly, I’d rather not share it.
So my usual answer to this question, these days, is “fat.” That’s how I am. Thanks for asking.
2. “Hi, preggers!” I just hate the term “preggers.” Hate. It. It’s impossible to say “preggers” and not sound like you’re hacking up a loogie while at the same time swallowing a frog. It’s a nasty word. I don’t really mind the implication that pregnancy is my identity, because it feels like it is right now, so whatever. I just hate the way it sounds–it grosses me out. And you shouldn’t gross out a pregnant woman. Because morning sickness isn’t just for the first trimester. Nausea could strike at any time, and if you’re calling me names like that, I just might let nausea strike all over your shoes.
3. “You look great.” I realize you’re just trying to be nice. And I realize that this shouldn’t bother me. But I did mention how much I appreciate honesty, right? And the truth is that I don’t look great. I look exactly how I feel: fat. It’s okay, really. I’m almost 9 months pregnant; I’m supposed to be fat. But that doesn’t mean I look great.
And when I answer that I’m fat, please don’t contradict me. You should never contradict a pregnant woman–doesn’t everyone know that? And I am fat. No amount of protest will change that. I will go on a diet (one that’s safe for breastfeeding, of course) after the baby is born, and then I will stop being fat. In the meantime, really, don’t contradict me. Because I can take you down. I weigh more than you do.
4. “You look ready to pop!” Do I need to explain why this is annoying? I’m not a balloon. I’m a pregnant woman. A pregnant woman who is a lot more ready to have this baby than you are, but I may well have to wait another month or more, so please don’t point out how obvious it is that I’m ready to have this baby. Believe it or not, I was actually aware of that before you pointed it out. Thanks anyway.
5. “What are you having?” Obviously, I am having a baby. Not a blob of peanut butter (although my husband keeps joking that that’s what my belly really is, since I’ve been eating so much of it). I know that you mean to ask what gender the baby is, but why can’t you say that? Because 1) my baby is more than its gender, so the implication in that question that gender = identity is kind of annoying, and 2) not everybody finds out the gender. More specifically, I did not find out the gender. So the answer is: a baby. Hopefully not an alien or a velociraptor.
And if you want to ask about the gender, you could ask, “Is it a girl or a boy?” or better yet, “Do you know the gender?” I appreciate the avoidance of assumption in the second question. That’s one I can answer easily: no, I don’t know the gender. Thanks for asking. Want to take a guess? I think it’s a boy. But my daughter thinks it’s a girl. See? That question actually started a nice conversation. With a pregnant woman. That’s a major accomplishment.
6. “When is the baby coming?” Hold on, let me ask my magic 8 ball. Wait, that’s not a yes-or-no question. I’ll call an online psychic and get back to you.
7. “You haven’t had that baby yet?” Yes, actually, I had the baby yesterday, but as you can see, I’m still just as fat as I was the day before, and I left my one-day-old baby at home by himself so I could come here to talk to you. Because I just couldn’t wait to be asked annoying questions like this.
8. “When’s your due date?” Ok, this is another question that most pregnant women have no trouble answering. But it drives me nuts. I don’t believe in due dates. Babies are not like gallons of milk; they don’t have expiration dates. I don’t like to tell people the exact date, because I know from experience that the minute that date arrives, everyone will be hanging by the phone and freaking out every time they hear from me, positive that labor is starting. Whereas in reality, it could be weeks after the due date before the baby decides to show up. And that’s okay. Really. I usually respond to this question with something like, “mid-December,” or “soon.” And then people want to know the exact date. This drives me crazy. I don’t want to tell you the exact date, okay? Because that day is going to be annoying enough for me without you breathing down my neck asking if I’m in labor yet. I’m not.
9. “Are you going to go into labor right now?” Um, no. Wait, that’s a yes-or-no question: the magic 8 ball can answer that one. It says, “My sources say no.”
10. “How late will they let you go?” This may be the most annoying question of all. Let me make something clear: there is no “letting” by anyone else when it comes to anything to do with my pregnancy or birth. I am in charge. My midwife will make recommendations, and I will decide what to do with her recommendations. (And I can tell you right now that her recommendation will be to wait till this baby decides to come out on its own, which could happen tomorrow or six weeks from now.) If I was well past my “due date” and wanted to do something to speed things along, I would decide whether I wanted to try natural induction methods and what I wanted to try. If I were concerned about the health of the baby or the placenta, I would decide whether I wanted to transfer care and be induced medically. No one will have to give me permission to do any of these things.
So how “late” would I let this baby go? As late as it needs to be before it’s good and ready to come out. My body knows what it’s doing. And it’s not even late yet. So stop asking questions.