Now that I’ve embarked on pregnancy number four, I find I have a lot of opinions about pregnancy and people and how people interact with pregnancy.
Lucky you, I’m in a place to share some of my thoughts with you over the next months as I gradually lose sight of my toes because my belly is expanding like one of those sponges that start out in a capsule and end up as a dinosaur.
We’ll start with the top 5 things you never, ever want to say to a pregnant woman.
1. “You’re just upset because you’re pregnant.” Alright, fair is fair, there are some crazy hormones zinging around my body that make me capable of smelling a bratwurst 6 miles away and encourage hair to grow on my chest and chin. But don’t you dare tell me what I’m feeling is not valid, especially if I have a logical explanation for 92.3% of what I’m talking about. Did you know that pregnant women gain 50% more blood in their bodies to nourish the mini-me? That also brings us super-human strength. Tell me I’m a hormone-crazed woman again and I’ll go all Chuck Norris on you. You’ll end up nursing a broken nose, crying for your momma.
2. “How’re you feeling?”, accompanied with a suggestive look to your belly or fixation on the breasts that have suddenly grown into masses worthy of their own zip code. This is a fair question. Except if it’s the only question someone has ever asked you. I mean ever. During one of my pregnancies I started running into the husband of an acquaintance. Every time he’d look at me up and down sympathetically, lean in creepy-close, and ask, “How are you feeling?” Dude… I’m not going to get all chummy and start chatting up lactation, round ligament pain, or the stretch mark appearing across my navel. Get out of my personal space and go ask your wife how she’s feeling. I’m fine.
3. “Do you think you’re up for that project?” In a professional environment I often had to help my supervisors know that my abdomen was compromised, not my brain. Pregnancy is a condition, not a disability. If I was the right person for the project before I became a ripening earth mother, I’m the right person now. So don’t ask if I’m up for it. Trust me to know my limitations and say yes or no accordingly.
4. “My, you have your hands full, don’t you?” It never fails, whether it’s one kiddo or three, when I go to Wal-Mart there’s always some charmer sidling up to the buggy offering condolences on how hectic my life must be. It gets worse the more kids you have and the more pregnant you seem. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a daring elderly man who asks if I know how I got those babies? “Why, yes,” I say in my imagination (a place where I am witty and articulate), “I got pregnant by having sex. It’s shocking, considering the shameful lack of sexual education on tv, newsstands, and casual conversation, but I’ve figured out the birds and the bees. And maybe, just maybe, I believe children are a blessing and I’m glad I have my crazy brood of rodent-children wandering around in my life. I’d have my hands full with one, I’ll have my hands full with four. Such is life. Now excuse me, my kid is licking spilled milkshake off the floor and I need to do something about that.”
5. “Oh, I just need to touch your baby!” Excuse me. That baby you’re touching is a part of my body. Attached. You actually have to rub my belly like a Buddha wish to get to it. I’d prefer you don’t. See, I’m not too fond of strangers touching me (to be truthful, I’m not too fond of friends touching me, particularly when I’m pregnant). Probably similar to how you’d feel if I walked up behind you and exclaimed, “Oh! Your buttocks are so amazing! I simply must rub them!” There’s a decent chance you’d look hard at getting me arrested for assault. So keep your grubby paws off of my bloated midsection unless I offer to let you touch.
Here are just a few of my militant pregnancy thoughts. Do you have any phrases that are known to bring pregnant women to an immediate fury?