Photo Credit: Pinterest
For many women, finding out they are pregnant, given the right situation can be the most incredible time. However it can also be a time with a huge amount of apprehension as her life within ten months will never be the same again.
It’s therefore a very sensitive time for a woman. As her body changes, hormones increase and a woman’s fear of wanting to do ‘the right thing’ before the baby has even made an appearance becomes the most important thing on her mind. From what she puts in her body to what equipment to buy for the baby, to how to care for them when she eventually brings them home. There is a lot to contemplate.
Whilst it’s certainly one of the most amazing things a woman will ever experience, and some women sail through pregnancy, it can also be a hard time for some, with morning sickness (that can actually be all day long sickness for several months) and unbelievable tiredness. On top of this, people have a tendency to treat pregnant women very differently once they find out she is expecting.
It’s easy when you’ve never been pregnant or have been close to someone who has been / is pregnant, to know what one should and shouldn’t say. So save your pregnant friends, family members, stranger’s on the streets feelings by taking note of some common etiquettes to follow when talking to any woman who is pregnant.
SHOULD YOU BE EATING / DRINKING THAT?
A woman, upon finding out she is pregnant will no doubt have already begun researching what they can and can’t eat at great lengths. Most have already gone through several OBGYN appointments by the time you've even found out they are expecting and will have a full list of items they can’t eat during pregnancy. See them drinking a cup of coffee? It’s probably the one cup they are allowed a day, or perhaps it’s a decaf. Soft cheese? She probably checked it was pasteurized. Tuna? Perhaps one of her portions for the week. It’s very easy to judge without knowing, so don’t do it. A woman is more than aware of what is going on with her body and won’t be putting her baby in harms way for that cup of coffee. Trust.
WOW, YOU ARE SMALL. IS YOUR BABY HEALTHY?
Photo Credit: Pinterest (featuring Rachel Zoe)
Women come in different shapes and sizes and as such will carry differently. A woman’s ‘bump’ size is by no means indicative of her baby’s size or indeed health. She could be small carrying a very average sized baby, or she could be carrying fairly large (lots of fluid perhaps) but be having a small baby. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe (above) was very compact throughout both her pregnancies and went on to have an almost 8 pound baby.
A woman knows what she is eating, is probably staying active and chances are she is doing all she can to keep her baby healthy. Any problems? Let the OBGYN notify her. Equally don’t comment on a woman’s large bump. "Are you carrying twins?" is a definite no, no, for obvious reasons.
WHERE ARE THE BUMP PICTURES? SEND THEM / POST THEM!!!
Photo Credit: Blake Lively website.
Many women love to show of their bodies when pregnant. However there are some women that simply don’t want to. Perhaps she’s happy to keep her pregnancy as private as possible with her and her partner during this very special time, or perhaps doesn't want to flaunt her changing shape. In addition some women are sensitive to the fact that some of their friends are struggling to have children and simply don't want to cause more hurt by filling their social media feed with baby bump shots.
But most important to remember, a woman’s body is still her own when she becomes pregnant. She hasn't suddenly just become an incubator. It’s not a bump, it’s her body and as such if she hasn’t offered said ‘bump’ picture, don’t ask. It's just awkward. I've heard from many women they find it a very odd request with many feeling that they are being asked so people can judge or compare their bodies, or their ‘bump’ size to other peoples. If a friend asked you for a picture of your boobs would you send it? Probably not. A woman’s stomach isn’t any different. Remember it’s not actually the baby you're asking to see. It’s her body, and not suddenly everyone else’s to inspect and gawk at just because she’s pregnant.
STARING AT A WOMAN'S STOMACH INSTEAD OF HER FACE
Much like a woman with big boobs and that’s all people see, many people begin to choose to stare at a woman’s stomach before even acknowledging her. Particularly when they are friends or an acquaintance and know they are expecting and are enjoying ‘bump watch’. Again, remember she is still her, not just a pregnant woman and probably doesn’t want to be looked up and down to see if she's 'grown' before you even say hello to her.
OHH.. YOU'RE HAVING A BOY, I BET YOU REALLY WANTED A GIRL!
Photo Credit: www.anthropologie.com
Pre-judging someone’s reaction to whether she is having a boy and wants a girl (or vice versa) is highly insulting. I have heard from expectant mothers some horror stories on this subject. When a woman is having a baby she probably has no preference whatsoever on what sex she is having and purely wants a healthy baby. Saying that she must be really ‘disappointed’ to be having a boy / girl is probably the worst thing you can say. Being lucky enough to carry a child for most women is such a joy and having someone inflict their thoughts and feelings on her is not wise. Particularly when paired with, “Better luck next time", "Oh what a shame. Girls are so fun to dress up, such cute girl clothes" or "She could of helped in the kitchen, we need more cooks.” (I told you, horror stories..) A mother-to-be is already in love with her baby and this is a genuine hurt to the heart for her. Don’t-say-it.
SHOULD YOU BE WORKING OUT? HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO BE DOING THAT FOR?
Australian Fitness trainer: Chontel Duncan at 36 weeks pregnant. Photo credit: Chontel Duncan Instagram
It’s a very old school of thought that women shouldn’t exercise when pregnant. New research has shown that it is extremely beneficial for women to continue exercising throughout pregnancy for as long as she can. Providing she was fit and well before becoming pregnant, she should continue to exercise. It not only helps keep her weight healthy and relives stress, it actually strengthens the baby’s heart during his or her development and well after s/he is born. It also helps reduce the chance of gestational diabetes for the mother and it will hugely help her labor as well as recovery after. So don’t throw a judgmental glance at her when she’s in the gym. She’s doing it for her and her baby and carrying an extra several pounds of baby when lifting those weights whilst she's at it.
Photo Credit : Asos.com
I have heard endless stories from pregnant women about pure strangers coming up to them in supermarkets, café’s, etc and rubbing their stomachs. Again, much like the request for those elusive bump pictures, just because a woman is pregnant, doesn’t suddenly make her body open to the public. Best to keep your hands off the bump!
LABOR HORROR STORIES
No woman needs to know your labor horror story. Unless you are very close and they explicitly ask for the graphic details wanting to know a worst case scenario, keep it to yourself. Everyone has a different experience (even from a woman's first child to her second) so just because you had a bad birth doesn’t mean her experience will be the same. Give her tips on what helped you through labor, but don’t give her all the gory details unless she has asked.
INUNDATING HER WITH CALLS / TEXTS AROUND THE TIME SHE IS DUE
Photo Credit: Pinterest
A dear friend of mine told me when her due date approached she was so sick of getting calls and texts during that time. Particularly as a first time mother, babies are generally late (often up to two weeks) so getting calls and texts from friends, aunts, grandmas, grandfathers and in laws asking if there is any sign yet, whilst she herself is about ready to pull her hair out for waiting, is probably the last thing she needs. Fear not, the proud parents will be sure to tell you when the baby is ready to be introduced to the world.
YOU'RE CALLING THEM WHAT?!
Choosing a name for a child is one of the most important decisions a parent is making on behalf of their child. It's an incredibly hard decision to make and it's impossible to have everyone love the choice of their child's chosen name. Unless it genuinely is verging on child cruelty, best to keep your opinion on their choice of name to yourself.
Another pet peeve I’ve heard over and over from pregnant women; showering unwanted advice on how to raise her child. Each parent has a different lifestyle to the next and as a result will have to raise their child in a different way to the way you may choose (or chose) to raise yours. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just different. Each baby is different and the same practices that work on one (even with twins) will not work on the next. Let her decide how to raise her child her way. A mother’s instinct is generally the best one, and she knows what is best for her child. Attachment parenting, co-sleeping or moving the baby out of the parents room after a month? All the parent’s choice and not your place to say whether you think this is the right way or wrong way.