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Oops We Did It Again: What NOT to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Pregnancy.

That beautiful time in a woman’s life when perfect strangers feel they can say anything – and everything – they want to you.

Because that’s clearly the ONE time in a woman’s life when our self-confidence is soaring high enough to let all comments roll right off our shoulders, right?? I hope you can hear all the sarcasm dripping off that statement like all the chocolate sauce dripping from my “lunch” all over my 40-week pregnant belly. 

Why do random people off the street see it as their place to touch our growing bellies and in turn touch that deep well of growing insecurities and anger that our hormones just can’t let go of?

Why does everybody think it’s appropriate to ask if we know what we’re having, as if the answer could be a human child or maybe a dinosaur. No one really knows, so why ask?? And yes. Contrary to what must be popular belief, I DO know that I’m big (and probably bigger than a beluga whale), so no, you do NOT need to tell me that. 

My husband was VERY vocal about not having any more kids to anyone and everyone after the birth of our second. Whereas I had a deep desire for one more child, my husband quickly felt overwhelmed by two kids. The one thing I knew was that after previous birth trauma, I did NOT ever want to be pregnant again. And after witnessing adoption-trauma firsthand, he was not receptive to adopt. But our littlest was still very little, and I resolved to resume the conversation about adoption later down the line. We didn’t need to have our family planned out yet. We still had plenty of time. 

Well, fast-forward not many months into the future when we finally arrived to shore duty (can I get a hallelujah for NO MORE DEPLOYMENTS) and I suddenly found out I was pregnant. 

But let’s be honest … If your husband came home after three years of constant back-to-back deployments, you wouldn’t be surprised that you got pregnant either, amiright ladies?? 

But the most surprising part was we found out on my youngest son’s first birthday that he was about to be the middle child. I had a 2-year-old, 1 year old, and about to have a newborn…

HO-LY BISCUITS BATMAN…
I was already questioning my sanity and how the heck I would survive three kids back-to-back, and it probably goes without saying that all those “well-meaning” comments were definitely NOT what I needed to hear. 

I heard all sorts of comments from encouraging congratulations to lectures (yes, lectures).

The worst was from a family member who sounded totally genuine in asking, “Do you know why this keeps happening??” As if I had skipped health class and literally had no idea where babies come from. As a mom who had once had three kids in diapers, she proceeded to tell me just why that was an awful decision, and she would have chosen differently if given the chance.

Well, thanks. If I wasn’t excited before, I certainly am now…

And even when we announced we were pregnant with our second, the first and immediate reaction from another family member was cautiously asking, “Are you excited??” 

Well, just because you did not expect us to get pregnant again so fast does not mean this child was not 100% planned or not wanted … so yes. I am extremely excited, and I wish you would be, too.

And the strangers… People who think they’re being funny or kind have the audacity to say anything and everything.

Wow! You must be due any day! 
Well, I still have six weeks left, so no…

Looks like you have your hands full! 
Are you telling me that I look like I’m struggling to parent my preschooler and toddler amidst my HUGE baby bump? Instead of telling me I look like my hands are overflowing with kids, how about you offer a hand to help??

You’re a personal trainer, right? You should set a good example and lay off the donuts!
Oh, aren’t you just the funny man… wou know full-well I’m 30 weeks pregnant and don’t eat donuts. But now I’m feeling so depressed that I might as well drown myself in a six-pack of fried gooey-ness and prove you right. 

And my most recent favorite…

Excuse me ma’am, I don’t know if you know this, but… (oh my gosh. Do I have a rip in my pants or did I drop something??)... YOU’RE ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!
Oh really?? I had NO idea. Thank you SO much for telling me. Otherwise I’d be having a baby next week and not know it!

I don’t know what it is about a woman’s reproductive choices that illicit the mistaken authority for everyone and their mom to comment without censorship: over-fertility, infertility, birth control, waiting to have kids, having kids right away, having kids close together, having kids spaced out, looking too pregnant, not looking pregnant enough, etc. 

I wished I had the gall to respond with a witty repartee that only Hollywood and Jane Austen can perfect. But alas, my overly kind demeanor only allows me to smile and nod and play along and let fester the response I wished I had said. 

Because let’s be real. The ONLY thing anyone should ever say to a pregnant woman is, “Wow. You look so beautiful!” or “Pregnancy looks so good on you!” Anything else that could be said are thoughts we’re probably already thinking and trying not to dwell on, making those comments not only counterproductive, but also emotionally destructive. 

So mama, let this be your sounding board for your best WORST comments you’ve received while pregnant (or any part of your reproductive choices), and let us commiserate together the responses we wish we would have said! 


Need a fire lit under your belly on the audacity of strangers, friends, and family? Enjoy the above comments our contributors have actually received while pregnant! 

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