Wednesday, 14 January 2015

What Not To Say To An Expectant Mother...

I've had this post brewing in me for a while... if I'm honest... a "while" probably doesn't cut it... let's say 4 years... I remember when I first fell pregnant with Ava and we were over-the-moon delighted. And no-one really could say anything to bother me or upset me... we were just so thrilled and thankful. And we still are. So very thrilled. And so very thankful. For each precious little one the Lord has given us. And yet, when your body has been pregnant for 23 months (that's almost two years!) of the past 4 years, there are certain comments and phrases that start to get a little wearing.

So here you have it folks... things NOT to say to a pregnant woman...

I have had every one of these phrases said to me countless times, so if you realise with shame and horror you have said one of the following to me, please don't get all worried. I seriously am holding nothing against anyone... mainly because I'm pretty sure I've said most of these phrases at some point to a pregnant lady somewhere out there. And if that person was you... I'm so very sorry...

But I'm writing this post so that we're all a little the wiser for next time... and maybe I'm hyper-sensitive, and maybe over-analytical... but its worth remembering that words stick. Once they're out, they're out... and kindness really doesn't cost anything...

Phrases that bother me during pregnancy...

1. "Must be going for the boy!"
We have two beautiful daughters. We would love another daughter. Or a son. It amazes me how many people comment on the fact that we, and particularly Dave, must be desperate for this one to be a boy. We want THIS baby...regardless of whether its a boy or girl. Both Dave and I. Neither of us could care less. We will love it utterly and completely because it is ours.

2. "Wow! Look how big you are!"
I am not fat. I am expecting. And yes... that means my tummy will get bigger, and generally I'll just look a little rounder. And chances are, I'm feeling a little bit self-conscious about that...I think generally this one is just conversation making... but honestly, you wouldn't say it to someone not pregnant... trust me... I feel as big as a house and I really don't need reminding

3. "Gosh, you're only 20 weeks?!"
I know I look more like 30 weeks than 20 weeks, but I'm never quite sure what people are trying to achieve by telling me that? I carry big. I get stretched out beyond belief. And my post-pregnancy body tells that story. By suggesting I look further along than I am, my mind is racing through not only the fact that you think I look enormous, but also the fact that perhaps my body will be even more wrecked this time than last... These comments only make me look at other pregnant women's bodies and wish I could carry just SLIGHTLY smaller like them... and then I feel guilty, because I love this precious life growing within me and every mark I'm left with is a battle scar I'm honoured to have.

4. "As long as its healthy..."
I don't think this one ever used to bother me... in fact, I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of having said it myself during my pregnancies with both girls. The difference is that now we have a child with a health complication, and I would not change her for the world. She is our beautiful ray of sunshine, bubbling with character, darling little girl and I've come to see this empty phrase for what it is. If this next baby is not "healthy", if it has a disability or a missing chromosome, or, as happened last time, if it develops a disease in the first few months of life, that will change nothing about the fierce and protective love we will feel towards this child...

So all I'm asking is this... please, when you're talking to that lady whose carrying that little life... be kind. We're hormonal anyway, so kind words, and gentle comments would be very well received!!

34 weeks pregnant with Ava... still six weeks to go and feeling like a house!

23 comments:

  1. The 'look how big you are' one always got to me. They think they're saying 'you look so lovely and pregnant!', but I heard 'you're SO FAT!'

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    1. I think you're so right... but sometimes its about wording... some people have said to me "Oh! Look at your lovely bump!" That one never upsets me... its just positive and draws attention to the fact its your tummy that is expanding... not you!

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  2. My worse comment was from the cashier lady at sainsburys when buying a pregnancy test. She looked at Samuel in the buggy and said - he is young for you to be expecting - let's hope it is a false alarm!!!!

    Even random strangers like to air their opinions!

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    1. Shocking! I think people mean well and are often just trying to make conversation... We've had lots of comments about the closeness in age of all three of ours... I'm glad they've been so close together :-)

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  3. Mine weren't words but I had a horrified look from a girl I hadn't seen for ages just before my due date. I know I was huge, I know I didn't wear the right underwear, but still, Keep your faces straight dears! I'm only pregnant xo

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    1. Yes! Facial expressions can be crueler than words!!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Even well intentioned comments I had like 'my, you're small for xx weeks' worried me - little did they know we were having extra scans to check on Molly as she was measuring small. You just never know the full picture with other people eh!

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    1. We had similar but opposite with Heidi., Esther.. She was measuring big and I was scanned regularly throughout pregnancy. In the end she was 8lb 5 which is big but not very. You're right about not knowing the bigger picture...

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  5. I only ever use 3 words, and 3 words only... 'You look great!' And if they look rough, I keep my mouth shut!!

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  6. Helen Brocklehurst14 January 2015 at 12:35

    Withith my first I often got are you sure your only ...... Weeks? As I was huge! At 4 weeks I looked 4+ months pregnant! A was a honeymoon baby (unplanned) but you can imagine the tongues that were wagging at the time. I was having to have extra scans as he was measuring big etc, but he was only 7lb 15 and that was 9 days late too! I was so relieved he didn't come early though and I did get apologies after he was born for thinking wrong of Mark and I! I also had No 2 quickly after (14 month age gap) and often got comments like another so soon etc... But at the end of the day as long as your happy (planned or unplanned) that is all that matters! xx

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  7. I was all bump with both my boys. One was 8lb14 and one was 8lb12 so both fairly big. I know i carried them both the same and at every point my tummy was measured I was spot on size wise. Even then everyone still had to comment on how much bigger/smaller than last time round I was. I struggled to remember, as there is 3 years and 3 months between the boys, so how on earth everyone else seemed to remember was beyond me!
    Since being pregnant and wanting to poke quite a lot of people in the eye, I am very concious of what I say to people. The one I hated was "oh, you've not had it yet" well clearly not as im still waddling about and im the size of a house!!! Silly people.
    Good luck with everything Claire. You look fab in the blog picture xx

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  8. Thankyou Claire, there are definitely 'no -nos' for what to say, yet isn't it funny how one person will react so differently to another?! Having lived alongside people with disability I wouldn't have minded having, & would have loved, a child who wasn't 'healthy' or whatever. We didn't mind whether we had girls or boys. (In some ways I probably enjoyed boys more. Funnily enough, in middle age I can understand what people meant when they said it's especially nice to have a daughter; I miss that, but praise God for a wonderful daughter in law.) When I left work as a midwife at 5 months some people didn't realise I was pregnant; I wanted to be told I looked big!! (Being 5'9" probably explains that one) Also, enduring 4 months of all day morning sickness both times, the last thing I wanted to hear -sorry Aaron- was "you look great", perhaps because I didn't feel great at all! O dear, my Gran would say that there's naught so strange as folk! X

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  9. Apparently I called Jo fat, didn't go down too well!

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  10. I LOVE this post!!!

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  11. Aaron is a very wise man with regards to comments!

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  12. I think pregnant woman blossom and bloom like an flower preparing to open its petals to an expectant world. You look beautiful! Is the only comment I ever use. I had no bump except in the last few weeks and so had people almost ignoring the fact I was carrying our own little miracle.

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  13. Mostly I've had lovely comments so far however I did have the dreaded "are you only 15 weeks?" Last week! "You look like you're 20!" You can imagine how I felt. X

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  14. The thing I found hard was strangers asking about the pregnancy as early as 8 weeks in. If I want to talk about it I will but don't ask unless I look at least 6 months pregnant. I ended up talking to people I barely knew before my own family. Also you could get it horribly wrong like the two jehovas witnesses who asked on my doorstep 'when is it due' when Isaac was 3 weeks old.

    Oh and I always get 'are you sure it is not twins?' Yes I grow babies big but I am sure after 5 scans it is 1 big baby.

    Enjoy the last few weeks as a mummy of two. Such exciting times ahead when baby arrives. God bless your whole family.xx

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  15. With my second we were told it was a girl at our 20 wk scan. The technician said: "I'm 99% sure it's a girl... yes. It's a girl." But you wouldn't believe how many people "told" me we were having a boy. They would look at my bump and give me a knowing look and say:"Yep, definitely another boy." Even after I'd told them we knew it was a girl.

    Needless to say, they were wrong. It was a girl. So much for bumpology.

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  16. A rather fat lady (I'm being polite) said to me when I was 8 months pregnant with Aaron Riddle that I was huge! It took all my energy not to say back to her "yeah love I'm having a baby, what's your excuse".

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  17. I got a lot of the "you're huge" comments with Pip but, well you've seen the photos, I was huge, and I had a alb 9oz baby - he had to go somewhere and my internal organs demanded a bit of space of their own. I hated the you must be trying for a boy ones and the jokey anything as long as it's healthy - I used to say: "A baby. That I get to bring home from the hospital. In a car seat." That level of clarity seemed to curtail further questions!

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  18. Just to give a slightly different view... I'm petit so pregnancy always made me look like a small mountain on legs! But I cared less about how I looked than how I felt (and I felt very uncomfortable!)... so I was quite encouraged when folks commented on the size of my tummy... because it felt more like empathy than critique, and indeed the comments were usually accompanied by a look of sympathetic understanding! 😉

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