Hey friends, happy Monday morning. 🙂 Last weekend was a fun, casual, Austin-y one at home. I spent Saturday in Dripping Springs at Treaty Oak Distillery to attend a friend’s surprise birthday party, and I had a sweet group treat me to lunch to celebrate baby Kennedy, but other than that, it was just the normal stuff: barre class, green juice at JuiceLand, and reading books on the couch.
I’m always so happy to be back here to chat with you on Monday! I really savor this little space, and even though we’re not sitting together and chatting in real life, I hope you have a big mug of coffee in your hand this morning (I do!) and you’re all cozied up as you gear up to start another new week.
Today’s Monday Chat is a bit more personal, but it’s something a friend encouraged me to write. Maybe it will jive with you, and maybe not… Either way, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. I love to read those and feel connected to you!
I’m coming up on the third trimester of pregnancy. The emotional roller coaster has been more extreme than I anticipated, but the physical symptoms have been right on with what I read/was told would happen: weight gain, swollen fingers, inflammation everywhere, general discomfort. (Oof, and I still have 3 months to go!)
Pregnancy is a gift, yes. But it’s also a really hard part of life to navigate, and I’ve had to do a lot of soul-searching (meditation and journaling are my two favorite ways to do this right now) to dig deep and help myself find joy and happiness in all the changes that are going on in my body right now. Can I be honest with you? Watching my body get bigger and bigger every day isn’t awesome…the cool part is knowing that all of the changes are happening for a reason, and I get to meet my son in 3 months! I know it will all be worth it, but gaining pregnancy weight is a little bit scary.
And yep, I’ve had a couple people make comments about my pregnant body that really hurt. Oddly, it’s been close relatives/friends who have absentmindedly made the comments that sent me to tears. (Weird, right?!) I know they love me and aren’t trying to say anything hurtful, which is why I’m writing this post today. I think there are a lot of people with good intentions who end up saying something to a pregnant woman that should NEVER be said.
My hope is that this blog post is insightful and helpful; I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty for something they might have said to me (or any other pregnant woman) in the past. I’ve learned so much from these past 6 months of pregnancy….and here are a few tidbits:
5 Things You Should NEVER Say To A Pregnant Woman….And What You Could Say Instead
1. “How far along are you?” Ok, I’m starting with the easiest one. Don’t ask someone if she’s pregnant unless you are 100,000% confident that is. (And I’m not saying that you need to be confident that she looks pregnant…you need to be confident that she has already shared this info with you.)
Don’t ask a stranger if she’s pregnant, even if you’re sure she’s 9 months pregnant. Just don’t.
There are rare medical diseases that cause the abdomen to swell, making a woman look pregnant. And then there’s just good ol’ bloating (w all know the feeling of too many salty tacos and sugary margs, right?). And of course, there’s the postpartum phase, when everything is gradually shrinking back down.
You reaaallly don’t want to be the person who asks a woman when she’s due only to hear, “oh, I had a baby 3 weeks ago.”
What you could say instead: Just chat with her like it’s a normal conversation! If she’s actually pregnant and ready for the world to know, she’ll bring it up in conversation with you! Otherwise, don’t ask.
2. “You better be careful or you’re going to gain a lot of weight/get so big.” I had someone say this to me, and OUCH! So hurtful. I’m obviously a pretty big eater (just look at this blog!), and having someone close to me warn me to “watch my eating” wasn’t helpful.
I know this is often said as a “helpful warning,” because close family members want to make sure that the health of the baby/mama is a priority. But here’s a little tip: let the doctor be the one to let the pregnant woman know if her weight gain is out of control. She’s totally aware of what’s going on in her own body, and she doesn’t need family member constantly reminding her to “be careful.”
What you could say instead: “What food would make you feel good right now?” If your goal is to help the pregnant woman keep a healthy lifestyle, offer to buy or make her food that she knows her body needs.
In the second trimester, I’ve been craving salads and smoothies like crazy! But in the first trimester, I ate simple carbs (wheat thins and dry cereal) for three months straight.
3. Your bump is so small/big for your stage. Ok, listen: I’m already playing the comparison game in my head every single day. I don’t need more feedback from outsiders telling me that my bump is big/small/whatever for my stage of pregnancy.
Every female body is SOO different. Imagine a 5-foot female and a 6-foot female, both 20 weeks pregnant, standing side-by-side. Obviously, one of them will look more pregnant than the other.
You might think you’re giving a woman a compliment by saying “you look so small for X weeks pregnant,” but in her mind, she might be really overwhelmed by all of the discomfort, work, and time that she’s put into her pregnancy and she’s ready for a bump to show up! Commenting on her lack of bump could be the wrong thing to say.
What you could say instead: “You’re doing great!” “You look so strong!” “Woohoo, you’re X weeks along…how are you feeling?” Try to focus on her health, wellness, and strength. If she brings up the size of her bump and wants to talk about it, great! If not, don’t mention it.
4. Is it ok for you to be eating/drinking that? There are a lot of gray areas in the pregnancy diet. (I recommend reading Expecting Better: Why Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know if you’re interested in learning more about hot-button pregnancy topics like alcohol, raw food, deli meats, and more. This book gives well-researched, unbiased facts about the accepted rules of pregnancy to help you form your own opinions.)
Your pregnant friend is responsible for her own health, and no one wants a healthy baby more than she does. Again, leave the diet tips up to the doctor and don’t make her feel guilty about her own well-researched opinions.
What you could say instead: nothing! It’s not your job to control a pregnant woman’s food or drink choices.
5. You look so big! Here’s a general thing to remember: when you make comment about a woman’s growing baby-in-utuero, you’re making a comment about HER body. The pregnant belly = her body. They’re not separate.
Truth be told, I’m guilty of this! Before I was pregnant, I thought it was ok to make comments about a pregnant woman’s bump by saying things like, “you look so pregnant right now!!” because I separated the baby bump from the woman who was carrying it. But they’re not separate. What I didn’t realize before I was pregnant (but I totally get now) is that every comment made about my baby bump is emotionally absorbed by me. If you say that I look “huge” and you think you’re directing that comment at my pregnant belly, I feel that comment being said about my body. That’s because the bump = my body!
What you could say instead: “How are you feeling?!” Again, bringing the attention back to health/wellness is so much better than commenting on appearance. Being asked how I’m feeling is so much nicer than having a comment made about how I look. Here’s a general rule to guide you: ask yourself if the comment you’re about to make about the pregnant woman is something you would say to a non-pregnant person. You’d never say “woah, you look huge!” to a non-pregnant friend, so don’t say it to a pregnant friend, either.
I’m learning so much about life right now! Pregnancy has been a whole thing. I’m constantly amazed at this life, because no matter how many years I’ve been alive, there are so many experiences I still haven’t been through. I have so much to learn.
I hope this post was even the teeniest bit insightful for you! Anything you’d care to add? Please feel free to write a comment below! Happy Monday, my friends. Thanks for stopping by today.