Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Womb With a View: Top Ten Things NOT to Say to a Pregnant Mamma

Recently a great friend of mine who owns the most successful maternity consignment shop in my local area requested I create a list for the My Diaper Diaries blog regarding the Top Ten things people should NOT say to a preggo mommy (PM). This really hit home because if you remember in my post back in December called Meddling Mouths, I had become fed up by my eighth month of people and their unfiltered mouths. Clearly, my bump had an invitation on it that READ: Come make conversation with me because like 2 billion other women right now, I am knocked up.
What is so incredibly dangerous about this escapade is one really does NOT know who they are dealing with when approaching a pregnant mamma (PM).  Hormones are her dominator and hormones are not a force to be reckoned with (men, women and children know this).  Let’s be realistic, some days a PM awakens and feels like praising God, the Universe, her husband or whomever quite frankly, will listen to how grateful she is and how perfect this life is- how although she feels sick in the morning, it’s so amazing to barf over and over and discover ass cheese (aka cellulite). She may be the size of a hot air balloon but feel her utmost sexiest. She may have a face full of acne, hair falling out in clumps and the inability to see her feet (among other body parts) but feel like a sex pot vixen ready to pounce her man.  However, DO NOT BE FOOLED- this same PM may have a set of hormones slam on the brakes the next day and all of the sudden… “Hello Satan.”
It is best to keep in mind, that while you may have felt like a sexy firecracker and enjoyed shinier and thicker hair, perky tits and only 12 lbs. of weight gain (because you were either dying from morning sickness and barfed your pounds away or because you’re a head case and you starve your body and unborn child), that many Pregnant Mammas feel like they have some parasite sucking the energy out of them and they should have a temporary tattoo on the tushy that reads WIDE LOAD.
It is important to let these women take the lead when it comes to discussing their condition. My friend mentioned this blog needed to be written as she had a customer in her maternity consignment store (yes, it’s the best- www.expectingyouconsignment.com) who was nearly brought to tears by something someone said to her.
Now without further ado and in an effort not to sound like Dave Letterman- I present you the “Top Ten Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Mamma (PM)”
1. First things first:  “When are you due?” or “How far along are you?”  That must be confirmed ONLY by the PM admitting she is pregnant.  NEVER ever ask a woman when she is pregnant if she has not told you, not even if she looks 8 months pregnant! Many things to consider are that she could have just delivered and looks pregnant still. She could be a rape victim or in a situation where sexual abuse was the cause of pregnancy. And if PM is tiny but clearly pregnant, she may not have shared her news with anyone or she may have recently had a miscarriage.
2. “Wow! You’re about to pop, that’s a big baby!” (in other words, you look huge). This was a phrase I became very familiar with as I carried rather  large babies and I was just BIG for my frame size. I mean, do you go up to women shopping the Tampax section and say, “Hey wow, you’re getting the Super Flow box… heavy period huh? Big Vag? Good luck with that. 
3. Best to avoid, “Oh my God, are you sure you don’t have twins in there?” Yes, lady, somehow after 7 months of being pregnant, 3 ultrasounds and countless heart rate reading, my doctor, nurses and I all missed that.” So, once again, another way of making you feel … HUMUNGO.  
4. Sticking with the twins/multiples for a moment, “So did you get pregnant with them naturally or IV?”  This in my opinion is taking “Are you a natural blonde” to another extreme. One doesn’t know what this PM went through to become pregnant, whether she had a long road of IVF or if she was just blessed to have a natural occurring multiple pregnancy. What I do  know is that if she wants YOU to know, SHE will tell you.
5. One of my personal favorites, “Is your husband excited?” Possible answer, “No, he isn’t. He is stressed out and has been taking meds for his blood pressure. Yes, that’s right, you have stepped into a big pile of shit. Do not ask if the husband is excited. That is just dumb. Too many men aren’t excited until they actually meet their little bundle of joy- and with that said, you have set yourself up for a disastrous question.
6. “Are you going to breastfeed?” Ummm, this question is double loaded ladies. If you say yes, you’re in for one of two things: You will be praised and told how great it is for your baby, how herSidenote- breastfeeding is an extremely personal decision and one reserved for the mother and father of the baby. I feel very strongly about pushing my personal opinions about breastfeeding on to others because the commitment is not an easy one and a new mom, with hormones, doesn’t need to be judged first day out of the gate on her decisions regarding her child’s nutrition.
7. Many of my friends who are readers know that my first child, 10 years ago, was one out of wedlock and I was at end of completing my Bachelor Degree at GWU and had been accepted to the Law School for the following fall. I continued on through the remainder of my classes, pregnant. I am sure it was a shock for all the students I had been working so hard with in study groups for a couple years  to accept my new bump and decision to complete the only undergrad degree but forgo the JD/MBA degree I was very excited and prepared to work very hard for. This opened up a breed of questions I was just mortified by as a 23 year old woman. Number 7 is in three parts:
a. “Are you going to keep it?”  Let me point out to you, if pregnant mama (PM) is to say , “No, I am not” for example, I do hope the shoes you are wearing are made of fine leather for a good chewing experience." And should PM inform you that she is going to deliver but she is going to have to put him or her up for adoption, you have just opened a can of worms that are poisonous. There are so many variations of “mess” that can come from that question. Don’t ever ask it please.
b. “Babies are expensive, can you afford it?” First of all, no matter the topic, it is classless to ever count other people’s dollars. One should not assume anything when it comes to a mother’s will to “find a way” to afford a baby.
c. As I mentioned, my first baby was out of wedlock so I was often asked, “Who is the baby’s daddy?”  I mean, really people…. Don’t. Just don’t.  You don’t know if it’s someone who was very close to the PM and they just couldn’t agree to get married or if perhaps she wanted to get pregnant so badly that she went recklessly sleeping around in an effort to become pregnant. And while it is sad to consider, women are raped and sexually abused , they do end up pregnant  and some of these amazing women bring these beautiful babies into the world. Regardless of the circumstances, it just isn't a discussion for the produce section at Whole Foods.
8. Then there is that inevitable woman who has to chat about diet. “You must be dying for a glass of wine (or coffee) by now, honey.” Me: “Actually, no, I have wine with dinner and if I really crave a cup of coffee, I splurge. Docs orders say it’s ok.” Just brace yourself for the look of contempt, disagreement and major disappointment. However, if you’re lucky, she has shut the hell up by now and moved on.
9. “Are you having your baby naturally?” “No, I am having him unnaturally.” What IS unnaturally having your baby? People think it’s ok to get into all of your business so give them an answer like that.  Having a vagninal birth in a hospital, home or center with or with or without drugs or having a c-section are all, in my opinion, natural ways to deliver.
10. Number 10 is not something to avoid saying, it is something to avoid doing. I have said it before back in the Meddling Mouths blog in December. DO NOT TOUCH THE GOODS WITHOUT AN INVITE PLEASE. “I am pregnant, not a petting zoo. Please remove your hands from my stomach.”
What I have found is that most people are not just total idiots with diarrhea of the mouth. Clearly, they found their own pregnancy/pregnancies to be one of the greatest events or most traumatic events in their life thus far. It is human nature to want to talk about it and when a woman sees the mommy with the belly, it makes her feel good to have an opportunity to discuss it with a new mommy. This behavior is more about the woman who wants to chat, not about you, the beautiful and vulnerable pregnant woman. In my opinion, people are good and they come from a place of love but while they often wear their rosy-colored love glasses, they also too, forget to wear there mouth filters. Try not to take it personally and remember, human nature says they are more likely interested in talking about themselves than hearing about you. They see you as an opportunity to talk about their experience.
I would love to hear back from you pregnant and previously pregnant mommies who may have some funny filter less comments tossed at you during your pregnancy and postpartum weeks. Please feel free to comment under this blog and share your funniest or most offensive Preggo Punches!


Unknown said...

Love you guys but where the heck are your comments? Stop emailing me and put these awesome thoughts here so everyone can chat! Lol

Anonymous said...

That was truly funny and truer words were never spoken! I've said at least 8 of the 10 things to someone and must have lost my mouth filter before speaking. Great blog--somehow sarcasm and humor speak a lot of truth.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog my accident, that was truly funny and enlightening. I have seen people say and do these things. I'm glad that I never have since I'm all about personal space.

Great job!!! Thanks for the laugh and the education

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