A lot of these are going to seem obvious. I know. But bear with me, because either I have heard these or I’ve had friends field these inane questions. If you’re guilty of saying these things to new moms, well, consider this a nudge to do better.
1. Is it twins?
Believe me, if she’s having twins, she’ll tell you. And generally, anything that makes a pregnant woman feel fatter than she should be is a big no-no.
2. Wow. Your butt got so much bigger.
A family member told me this while giggling. Seriously. Don’t do this.
3. Any day now, huh?
Again, what the mom hears is “God, you’re huge!”
4. You haven’t had that baby yet?
Being past your due date can be no fun. You want to meet the baby. You might also be mega uncomfortable, and feeling like a watched pot is just the worst.
5. Hi. Yeah, just “checking in…”
Nope. I see right through you. You want to know if I’ve had the baby. Trust me, I’ll tell you when the baby’s here. And just for you, I will live tweet the birth.
6. Was it planned?
I was a fairly young mom. I heard this one more than you can believe. Thing was, it was insulting because I was married and we were trying. I’m pretty sure people who might be coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy hate this question even more.
7. Who’s the father?
Really? Never okay. Variations on this for same-sex couples are just as insulting.
8. Are you sure?
This is the worst follow-up question to anything. Yes. I’m sure it isn’t twins. Yes, I’m sure I’m only six months along. Yes, it’s really a boy.
9. Did your nose get wider?
Other variations: did you get stretch marks? Are you fingers swollen? You’re probably sensing a theme, best not to remark on appearance, especially when you are pointing out that things are getting bigger.
10. It must be a girl.
Some women want to hear predictions on the sex. But sometimes unwanted guesses are annoying. They also sometimes imply things like “…because she stole your beauty,” or “…because you’re carrying it in the hips.”
11. Why wouldn’t you want to know the sex?/Why would you ruin the surprise of finding out?
You can’t win with this one. People have strong opinions on whether or not you should find out the sex of your baby. It drives people crazy when they want to know the sex of your baby and you don’t. Too bad.
12. You look tiny!
May seem like a compliment, but as someone who took a long time to show, this one really bugged me. I was dying for a baby bump and I didn’t get one until the third trimester. Worse still, it can really make a pregnant woman worry that her baby is too small. Let’s just not add to her worries.
13. You think the first trimester is bad, wait until the third.
Gee, thanks, I can’t wait. But, seriously, every pregnancy is different, you can’t predict how any one is going to feel.
14. Why wouldn’t you want to deliver at home/in a hospital?
This is such a personal decision. It’s also one the family weighed very carefully. Your opinions are moot.
15. Have you peed yourself yet?
I get it. It’s sort of humorous. If you can’t laugh at peeing yourself when you’re pregnant, you might cry. But no woman is looking forward to the experience, nor does everyone pee themselves. (Side note: I totally did. I stood up from the bed one night and despite my desperate kegeling, it just sort of leaked out of me while I yelled “I’m peeing!” over and over on my way to the bathroom.)
16. Wait for those hemorrhoids!
No. No. Let’s not go THERE.
17. You’re pregnant again already?
Yes. My uterus might never recover. I’m probably shortchanging my older child. And I definitely wasn’t planning this. Or maybe I was. Maybe you’re just a judgy jerk for asking.
18. Are you going to circumcise?
Hold up, let me ask you some intimate details over the appearance of your genitalia.
19. Any judgements about names.
So this is hard. An expectant mom may ask your opinion on a name they are considering. They may really want to know. I urge you, do not say anything bad about name they are considering. Because if they end up going with it despite your reservations, you’re gonna feel like a jerk.
20. Commenting on the appearance of the baby, other than to say he’s beautiful.
So, I’ve written extensively about commenting on the mother’s body. But I sort of hate when people make comments about my baby’s appearance. No offense to my husband, but I got really sick of hearing “he’s got his daddy’s nose.”
21. Having a new baby is BLISSFUL/AWFUL!
This isn’t the time to make a judgment call. If a mom is having a hard time, nothing makes her feel worse than being told how happy she should be. This is the time to ask how she’s feeling.
22. Did you tear?
Again, let’s keep the conversation away from other peoples’ genitals.
23. Can you fit back in your jeans yet?
Moms don’t need any more pressure to lose weight after giving birth, they get plenty from the media and from themselves.
24. You look tired.
Just because it’s true does not mean you should say it. Also, only say this if you are offering to take the baby for a couple of hours so she can nap.
This list is hardly exhaustive. If you’re ever unsure if you should say something to an expectant or new mother, ask yourself these questions: Am I talking about genitalia? Am I making a judgment? Am I sharing an unnecessary horror story? Will this in any way be misconstrued as me telling her she’s fat? If someone said this to me, would I punch them?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes: keep it to yourself!
Now I want to know: What awful things did someone say to you as a new or expectant mom?