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!?
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.