Pregnancy Etiquette Guide

I’ve written before about unhelpful things people shouldn’t say to parents and now I’m moving on to the pre-stage. We all know pregnant people and so, in the manner of a public service information fact sheet, I thought I’d share with you a few little phrases (and the responses they may elicit if the person you’re talking to is unfiltered, grumpy and sarcastic) that you might like to avoid if faced with a ginormous, sallow-faced hulk of woman, ie. a pregnant woman who is clearly not blooming. Or, perhaps more accurately, a woman who already has young children who is now pregnant. Me.

Avoid the blunt physical observations

Ooo, you’re getting fat
Am I? Am I!? Well maybe it’s the need to eat every thirty minutes or I’ll vomit on your shoes that’s doing it. Or perhaps it’s, you know, a baby.

You look pale/weary/tired
Do I? Well yes I know I do. I have mirrors, I have looked in them today…briefly. I am weary and tired…want to look after my toddler so I can nap for two hours?

Your bump is getting bigger
Thank goodness, I believe that’s how this works. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to move on to another entirely vacuous comment…

How many weeks are you? Shouldn’t you be feeling better by now?
Yes I should. Now are you going to write a letter to the morning sickness gods or am I?

 

Avoid gloomy predictions of what the pregnant person probably already knows will be a reality

You’ll have your hands full with two
I’m not planning of holding both at the same time too often.

The first few months with two will be a nightmare
Fear, just fear. What sort of nightmare? The ‘can’t stop swinging round a lamppost’ one? (anyone else get this!? No? Oh ok) or ‘the intruder in the house’ one? Ahhh ‘the intruder in the house’ one. Oh I had that one two and a half years ago – turns out we had invited him in and it didn’t go too badly.

Your house is going to feel small
What do you know that I don’t? Will this next baby be a giant? Am I going to fall down a rabbit hole and drink from small bottles? What!?

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Avoid the insults dressed up in compliments

You were really blooming at this stage of pregnancy last time
Oh you remember that too do you? Well yes, probably because I’d slept for the 30 years leading up to that point.

You look so much better pregnant than not, it really suits you
a) it’s a lie
b) so for 99% of my life I’m not looking as good as I could…I know, I’ll just be permanently pregnant, that’ll sort that out.

 

What you could say instead

I’ve had the most amazing advice and support from people for this second pregnancy so far and that’s going to be a less sarcastic post for another day.

But if you need something light and fluffy to say to a tired, bedraggled (and they know it) pregnant woman whose sole company most of the time is a ‘lively’ two and a half year old, stick safe…you could say something nice about the age gap then try…’I love your top, coat, dress, hat etc…it really suits you’. And then move on.  Unless you’re also offering chocolate, babysitting or hugs…if you’ve got any of those up your sleeve you can stay for longer.

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Diary of an imperfect mum
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54 thoughts on “Pregnancy Etiquette Guide

  1. Ha ha, poor love! I’d bring you chocolate any day! It’s the do you know what it is? That bothered me the most, really, it’s a BABY!! I knew from 20 weeks I was having a boy. I chose not to tell people I didn’t care for! It was great being secretive! 😀

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  2. Here you go, have some chocolate is a winner in my eyes.
    People just lose themselves around pregnant people, it’s like their filters just disappear.
    I often like to call my friends ‘fatty’, that goes down exceptionally well.
    #stayclassy

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  3. Why, why, why would anyone ever tell a pregnant woman that she looked fat/tired? Ugh. I actually hated it when people commented on how tiny my bump was. I think they meant it as a compliment, but I was concerned that the baby was too small, and constantly having that pointed out to me didn’t help. #StayClassy

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    1. Oh yes, I found that with E…I had a very little bump and those comments did really concern me, I remember talking to my midwife about it…shouldn’t I be bigger etc etc. So confusing what bits are meant as compliments and then how they come across. Tired is inevitable isn’t it. To be fair the fat comment is because I’m bony, lanky etc so it’s probably deemed as OK but I still had to bristle and let it go!

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  4. People do say daft things sometimes but then so have I, I am sure. I think sometimes people just want to acknowledge it but don’t know how. I do feel for you. It is a different ball game with your second too. The one that annoyed me was the comments about me ‘Blooming’ when I felt awful.

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    1. I think that’s absolutely it…people want to acknowledge and join in a happy time but sometimes the phrasing (most of which is commonly used) just doesn’t work for the pregnant person! I very much doubt you have ever been anything other than thoughtful when saying things but yes, we all say daft things in all sorts of situations. Thank you for commenting, hope you’re well x

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  5. Hahah! Some people just don’t get it do they. For me the worse thing is when people compare you to other pregnant ladies… ohh but she’s Ok to come to the BBQ party… yes.. but SHE doesn’t puke at the smell of cooking meat and isn’t about to pop! Love it #FamilyFun

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  6. Oh don’t you just wish you could tell all those people to go do one! The thing is they think they are being subtle but they know exactly what they are doing! oo get me all fired up about it but I experienced it too much also and sometimes I think it’s because it is the one time that they can say something negative as you normally look so damn fab! very funny read lovely #stayclassy – ha just as I wrote that hashtag – how fitting – you stay classy lovely!

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  7. It never fails to amaze me what some people think is ok to say you! I got the “oh my god you are huge” a lot!! Combined with “are you sure you are not full-term now?!?” Nope, thanks for that, but I think I know when I am due. Then there was the time I returned from maternity leave and was back to my normal size and someone commented “wow you have lost so much weight, you were huge before” No I wasn’t I was pregnant with another human being!!! RUDE!!! Sorry as you can probably tell I can feel your pain. Sending you lots of hugs lovely #stayclassy

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  8. Ah man the stuff people SAY! Insanity. People always told me I was massive, evil. I would love to bring you chocolate and this AMAZING soft drink I discovered when preggo that I drank from champagne flutes; it’s lemon, lime and mint soda (I think) in a posh bottle from M & S. It’s got a shit ton of sugar in but oh well, think of how many calories you’re not consuming when you don’t drink.
    On an unrelated note I hate it when you say that having a baby is hard and people say a) Just wait until you have a second one! or b) This is the easy bit! Wait until they crawl/walk. Then you’ll know what hard work is’ essentially invalidating anybody who is struggling because being a new parent is bloody hard sometimes.

    You’ll be fab! I know lots of people who said that because they were so much more relaxed with the second baby it was easier in a lot of ways. #StayClassy

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    1. Oooo I’ll look it out…I would like something to put in champagne flute! Oh yes that used to bother me so much, it is so belittling. I get it, I get that there’s some truth in it or that people want to share their experiences of what they struggled with or are struggling with but cant we all just support each other without oneupmanship etc.
      Yes I think/hope you’re right, I am quite sure I’ll be a lot more relaxed about a lot of things as it is not all new and scary this time…well it is but in a different way! Thank you xx

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  9. Totally agree with all of this. I’m only 14 weeks and my bump is quite big already, had people say ‘ohh you’re showing so much already’ and I just want to cry because I really am worried I might be having a giant. Also, endless people asking if I want to find out the gender is annoying. Like you I also have a 2 and half year old, I would love it if someone offered to baby sit so I could nap and then woke me up with a box of chocolates and a hug. Congratulations by the way 🙂 xx #familyfun

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    1. Oh no! I’m sure you’re not having a giant! But I know what you mean! Yes the gender question is a bit annoying too isn’t it…I mean there are only two possibilities whether you find out now or later.
      Ooo yes, hope someone gives you a nap and chocolate very soon my dear!

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  10. Oh Lucy! You have a way with words – this should be made into a printable so people have pre warning! I feel bad as I said one of those comments to my best friend earlier this week…in fact maybe more than one. I’ll buy her chocolates tomorrow! #familyfun

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  11. There’s something about a bump that makes people think they can say what they like. Great post again hun. I have definitely heard the you look big one and you’ll have your hands full with two. TY 🌸 for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

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    1. There definitely is, it’s like a sign welcoming personal comments! Just leave me about my pregnant business! The thing is with the hands full one is that I know I will, I mean do they think I haven’t thought about it!! Thanks for hosting #familyfun

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  12. Hahaha this is all SO TRUE!!! This is my 3rd baby so the ‘ooh you’ll have your hands full’ comments are coming thick and fast. Along with ‘bet you’re hoping for a girl’ aaaaargh give me strength!! But my favourite so far has been from my Grandma-in-law, who is 86. She studied me hard then said ‘you’ve put on weight, you look lovely, you don’t look like you’. Delightful!! Pass the chocolates xx PS So pleased to have a blogging pregnancy buddy xx #FamilyFun

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    1. Hahaha…yes a lot of these comments have been from family members…family members of a certain age I have found are worse for the personal comments! My grandma is always saying something like that! But yes pass the chocolates and line up the wine for when our hands are full (I’m assuming we’ll find a spare hand for that!). Me too lovely, hope you’ve had a good weekend x

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    1. Oh yes touching…that’s a big no no. I didn’t get too much of that first time around…I’m hoping my defensive and prickly body language this time will continue to ward of the tummy touchers! Thanks for commenting!

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  13. I honestly don’t know how anyone manages to look after a toddler whilst pregnant. Hats off to you. Hope you’re feeling better now (I mean, as in sickness, as it sounds from this post as though you may not be). I would definitely come round with chocolate if I lived nearby! Thanks for linking up to #StayClassy

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  14. Haha I love this! All of those things used to wind me up so badly when I was pregnant. It didn’t help being a hormonal cow either! I hated how everyone would comment on my bump “your huge” made me feel fat and “your tiny” made me feel like I was being an inadequate pregnant woman.

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    1. Yes I got the tiny one a lot last time…it’s not helpful! Well neither is like you say! remember asking my midwife whether everything was alright and the size was normal…why I didn’t just ignore everyone I don’t know!
      Bump comments should be banned unless the pregnant person initiates the bump conversation!
      Thank you for commenting Clare x

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  15. OMG YES. I love the way you have written this, I have a list of what people said to me when I was pregnant and looking back now I was kind of shocked how rude they can be. They should just say, ‘you look lovely in that hat,” perfect! hahah Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy!

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  16. I really don’t know why anyone would even consider saying half the things they come out with. I have to admit that I always avoided any physical type comments because I was one of those weird/annoying people who didn’t really show much (though to mitigate how irritating that is, I did spend a lot of time having scans, fetal heart monitoring, consultant appointments & threats of early induction (which I’m sure would have improved my babies’ chances of not being born too small!) as a result), but I did get the shouldn’t you feel better by now thing a lot. It was good to know that other people felt throwing up all day, every day for 8 months was excessive too! I thought it was just me but, no, other people also thought I should be okay. & the hands full, first few years will be hell, etc was very common, particularly when people realised how small the age gap was going to be. Perhaps the correct response to such things is to say, ‘Oh my god, you’re right! Here: take this one! Just take him! I clearly won’t be able to cope! He’s yours. He likes bananas.’ That’d probably make them think twice. xx #fridayfrolics

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    1. Haha! Yes I’m definitely going to try that next time…I may give them a choice to be honest!
      And yes lovely to have a bit of outrage on your sickness behalf, how very helpful.
      I got a lot of small comments last time…not sure if small or big is better or worse. I banned all personal comments at work last time, like the crazy pregnant lady in the corner…everyone went quiet…happy days!

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  17. I was diabetic with my second; consequently, I looked amazing…because I couldn’t eat anything for the entire third trimester. With my first, however, I gained 45 pounds. I was told twice (by women) that I looked large. The first was a woman at a coffee shop who ended up royally messing up my order that I didn’t notice until I returned to work…Maybe if she focused more on my drink than my belly, she would have gotten it right… The second was some random woman waiting in line with me. She asked how far along I was…almost at the end, but not almost enough…Then she said I looked large. I’m still baffled by that one. What was I expected to say, “Gee, thanks?” As a woman isn’t it a given that there is absolutely no context where looking large is heard as a good thing? That actually might be an overstatement. I think there is one African country that worships rotund women.

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    1. Haa! Oh wow, people are so obtuse. I do think when it comes to pregnancy people just want to say SOMETHING…anything! There’s no consistency I’m finding…one person will say I look huge and another tiny. In fact a few weeks ago two people had a conversation between themselves about whether I was huge or tiny. I mean, really!? Random people and coffee shop people though…really not just about looking large but about any observational personal comment should not happen! And the annoying thing is, it wouldn’t happen at any other time. Sometimes it feels like pregnant women are slightly public property. Ooo it seems I could still go on about this! I’ll stop. Thank you for your comment x

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  18. Pregnancy/children=poor boundaries… Have you had people look at you and proclaim the gender of your offspring yet? I was experiencing four days of early labor, and in a REALLY bad mood because it wasn’t progressing. Some random guy at a shoe store says, “It’s a girl.” He coincidentally was correct, but 50/50 odds aren’t all that bad. I must have been feeling a bit better in the moment because I didn’t respond with, “I’m not pregnant.”

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