Friday 16 November 2012

What NOT To Say To Pregnant Women

 ~ by Emi

There are several pregnant women in my life right now, and Kendal chief among them. I am a real baby person. I simply love pregnant women. I ask before touching bumps but if given permission, frankly, I could sit there all day squealing and going "There's a baby in there! It's so amazing!". I have to say that Kendal puts up with this beautifully. As does our friend Laura, currently pregnant with her third. My lovely stepmama, on the other hand, whilst pregnant with my little brother kept telling me to chill out and stop harassing her!

I was thinking, earlier this week, about the things I miss about pregnancy, like the kicks and movement, the special feeling of carrying life inside you...

Which inevitably led me to thinking about what I HATED people saying to me whilst I was pregnant.

So my post today is...


1. "Oh my goodness! You're so big!"

For the love of all that is wonderful in this world, when speaking to a pregnant woman, DO NOT use the word 'big' or any derivation thereof to describe her. This point includes (but is not limited to) the following words;


You don't need to tell her that her bump is enormous. SHE KNOWS! She's been living with it every second of every day. It doesn't matter that she's so big that she's doing that 'wheelbarrow' walk. It doesn't matter that she's so big she can rest a cup of tea on her bump. It doesn't matter that she's so big that she has her own gravitational pull and small objects are orbiting her.

Just don't comment on it.

You also don't need to ask her, even jokingly "Are you *sure* you're not having twins?!"

(And if you feel the need to give your pregnant friend a 'cute' nickname, stick with Preggy or something similar that is non-offensive. DO NOT, under any circumstances, come up with a name like... oh, I don't know... 'Preggo The WonderHorse'. And yes, my husband *did* call me this.)

2. "Kiss goodbye to your sex life!"Also known as You'll Never Have Sex Again or the variant You'll Lose Your Sex Drive Whilst You're Pregnant.

These are all lies.

With Pixie's pregnancy, I was simply too tired to have sex. Poor Stephen would look at me with yearning eyes, only to see me fast asleep, snoring away, honking like a walrus with a cold within seconds. With Ru's, I was hornier than a teenage boy who just simultaneously discovered that his parents have gone out shopping and that his internet browser has a private browsing function.

And you will have sex again because sex, frankly, is AWESOME.

And if we didn't, the human race would be doomed. Which is bad.

It might take a few days, a couple of weeks, or months, but it will happen. I have noticed that it seems to be that the general consensus among crunchy parents is that we don't tend to wait as long as non-crunchies after birth.

You never know, you may end up like me after Ru's birth. So hopped up on love for this tiny being that you made with this amazing manandisn'thebrilliantandlookwhatwemadetogetherilovehim

Or something like that.

3. "You won't have a full night of sleep ever again!"Okay, so this one is sort of true. It may well be a while before you have a full 8 hours of sleep in one go, but your pregnant friend will have heard this a thousand times, and if she has kids already, she is likely to be a pro at managing on three hours. It's just not helpful.

4. "You're not having pain relief! *laugh* Just you wait, you'll be begging for an epidural!" aka. 'Birth plan?! HA!'You may be right. She may end up begging for pain relief (me during my labour with Ru). She may breeze through it in 2 hours and 37 minutes from start to finish (me during my labour with Pixie).

Let her write the no-drugs, water-labour birth plan. It's not hurting you.

And if, in the end, you were right, you don't need to mention it. Be smug on the inside!

5. "Babies are so expensive!"This usually goes hand in hand with "You *NEED* this £500 pushchair/£200 cot/£30 babygrow/other over-priced item!".

You know what babies need? Milk, love, cuddles. That's pretty much it.

Kids can be expensive... if you let them be. It's up to you whether you pick Marks and Spencers to do your monthly food shop, or Asda. It's up to you whether you buy a £100 sling or a £500 3-in-1 travel system. It's up to you whether you choose designer baby clothes or charity shop finds.

Make your choice.

6. "Are you getting married before the baby is born?"
This is a personal bug bear for me. By all means, if you feel the need to get married before having children, so be it. But having the same surname as your partner and a piece of paper saying 'Hey! You're married!' *doesn't* automatically make you a better parent. I feel like that's an old-fashioned notion, and on a par with other gems of 'wisdom' like A child needs a mother AND a father.

Stephen and I didn't get married until Ru was a year old. I like to think we've done ok as parents. We didn't magically become SuperMum and SuperDad the day after the ceremony. In fact, I remember my dad being very clear about the fact that he'd have preferred us to be be married before Ru was born. Stephen's parents even offered to pay for a wedding for us whilst I was pregnant. (We politely declined.)

Make no bones about it, I LOVE being married, but really, it is much the same as before our wedding day, only now I have a dress I'm unlikely to wear ever again in my wardrobe.

7. "Wow, you look rough."You are only allowed to tell pregnant women that they look beautiful and glowing and gorgeous and oh-doesn't-pregnancy-suit-you and so on.

Do not tell her she looks rough.

Do not tell her she looks exhausted and tired.

Definitely don't tell her she has cankles from water retention.

Best not to mention varicose veins.

Oh, or stretchmarks.

If you MUST comment on her physical appearance, tell her that her boobs look cracking. Comment on how healthy her hair or skin looks. Or, my personal favourite "Oh my god! You can't even tell you're pregnant from behind!".

She might be stood there sweating like an overweight man in a cake shop (or my husband after consuming an enormous steak) but lie through your teeth. She'll probably respond to your "You're positively glowing!" with "Nope, that would be sweat." but it's better than telling her something negative and having her look at you like this...

8. "I/my friend/my sister/my aunty's friend's third cousin once removed had *insert scary birth story here*"I have been known to respond to people who say this to me with a polite 'Fuuuuuuuck you.'.

This is the BIGGIE. Your pregnant friend does NOT want or need to hear your negative birth story.

I'll say it again because it is so important.

Your pregnant friend does NOT want or need to hear your negative birth story.

She doesn't need to hear that you were in labour for 75 hours, that you had to have 18 stitches because you tore so badly, that you had an episiotomy or ceasarean or whatever. Keep it to yourself. I'm truly sorry if you had a rubbish experience during your own labour, but your scary story isn't going to help right now.

The amazing woman who ran the pregnancy yoga class I attended explained that often, when women share their traumatic birth story, it's because they've not completely dealt with it themselves. This is often very true, and if you need to deal with the fallout from a less-than-perfect labour, and/or seek a sympathetic ear then I urge you to do so... but NOT to pregnant women.

Positive birth stories ONLY please.

(And every time you do hear a negative one, head over here for an antidote.)

In the end, pregnancy is truly a miracle. And yes, by the end of it, we women are enormous, sweaty, shambling, wheelbarrow-walking creatures whose natural enemies are flights of staircases and shoes that require tying up. But don't say that.

Just smile sweetly, and hand your pregnant friend some more cake.

We'd love to hear what some of the most ridiculous and hilarious things you've been told whilst pregnant are!


  1. My particular bugbears are variations of "your life will be materially worsened by becoming a parent/you'll never manage a natural birth/breast feeding is hard and you'll have to give up after about 5 minutes. And well, R is 18 months old now, and so far I've managed to do all of them!

    1. You rock, Sam! 5 points to Gryffindor.

      Seriously though, well done, Mama. E, x

  2. I must own up to the first one which I definitely said to Kendal when she was expecting Ava. I'm so very sorry.

    Also, just wanted to say thanks to Emi for the previous 2 crafty tutorial posts - they were excellent. I don't have a child but I will be making the salt dough and possibly the candle holders sometime soon. Thanks, guys!

  3. It's okay Tree, I was HUGE. People stared. People told me (didn't even ask) that I was having twins. It got annoying. My biggest pet peeve was actually people telling me that there was no way I had 2 months, 1 month etc left and that clearly the due date was wrong.

    14 days overdue I wanted to punch all those people in the face :)
    Kendal Xx

  4. When I was pregnant with my youngest I had hyperemasis (cue being informed by numerous individuals that it must be twins. It was originally but I lost one so really not helpful). Then by the end of the pregnancy due to the sickness I was lighter than when I had conceived, and so received lots of comments along the lines of are you sure your pregnant? are you sure your due date is right you don't look 7/8/9 month pregnant.

    I would never dream of telling a pregnant woman how bad my pregnancy and labour was last time. I wouldn't lie, but certainly wouldn't go into details and I always follow it up with 'if it was that horrendous I wouldn't be trying for number 3.'

  5. I love your articles! One of my friends said to me when I was pregnant: "Oh, you've got boobs now - you didn't have any before!" I took offence to that especially because being a C cup pre-pregnancy I thought I was alright in that department! Jen :)

  6. This should be given to all men when they find out their wife is pregnant. It would be really helpful to know what we can't say!