Your preggo friend, sister or wife may seem to be glowing, or even basking in her new-found curves, but pregnancy is also an emotional time, since her hormones may be driving her a little crazy.
So, make sure you don’t get caught in a foot-in-your-mouth situation ―there are just some things that should remain absolutely unsaid. Even if you’re thinking it, don’t make comments that are inappropriate, rude, and more often than not, simply none of your business.
Use this guide to navigate these murky waters.
1. Don’t say: “Wow, your belly is huge!”
No one, not even an expectant mum who is ready to pop, wants to hear how big she is. Just think ― if you’ve spent half the morning attempting to stuff yourself into those XL maternity pants, while trying to smoothen bulges that weren’t there a couple of days ago, wouldn’t you’d be mighty peeved if someone told you that you resemble an elephant?
Instead, say: “You look beautiful.” Yep, that covers it.
2. Don’t say: “You’re pregnant? It’s about time!”
Sure, your pal might have been married almost five years, but it’s not up to you to judge when the right time for her to have a baby is. Her delay in starting a family might be due to several factors including financial issues, a desire to focus on her career, or even infertility. These are all sensitive issues she may not be ready to share with you.
Instead, say: “I’m really happy for you!” It doesn’t matter when it happens, but being happy for a pregnant friend should naturally be your immediate reaction!
No one, not even an expectant mum who is ready to pop, wants to hear how big she is.
3. Don’t say: “Can I touch your belly?”
Why, oh why, would you do that to anyone, especially if it’s someone you’re not even close to? Recalls mum Leena Chua, mum to Samuel, who is now 5 months old, “I was sitting at a café one day, and this elderly lady at the next table requested to touch my bump. As awkward as it was, I allowed it as she seemed nice. The next thing I knew, she whipped out $10 and insisted I take it. It was super weird!”
Instead, say: “What a cute bump you’ve got!” Compliment it, don’t touch it. Got it?
4. Don’t say: “How much weight have you gained?”
You wouldn’t even ask a non-pregnant woman this, so why would you now? Expectant mums can get touchy (and emotional) about their weight gain, so bringing up this sensitive issue now is a big no-no.
Instead, say: “How are you feeling?” If she wants to discuss her backaches because of the weight of her growing bump, trust us, she will.
5. Don’t say: “I felt my whole body being ripped apart.”
Horrific labour experiences aren’t the best things to share at this time as a woman who is pregnant is likely already terrified about the impending labour. Says Pearl Teoh, who is 5 months pregnant, “My sis has three kids and one even had a dramatic birth story. I really don’t want to hear about another emergency C-section or a 30-hour-long labour story!”
Instead, say: “My birth experience was tough, but every woman’s is different.” For a fact.
6. Don’t say: “You really shouldn’t do that.”
It’s common to think that your pregnant colleague or sister might need a hand with something heavy, or perhaps even with descending a flight of stairs. Though you may be concerned, don’t get all preachy. Says Teoh, “We’re pregnant, not ill. We can still do regular things!”
Instead, say: “Do you need some help with that?” Give the mum-in-waiting the chance to accept or reject your offer. She might appreciate it, or she might be perfectly capable of managing on her own, so respect her wishes.
7. Don’t say: “You really shouldn’t eat that.”
Trust the expectant woman to know exactly what’s good for her and what isn’t, since her gynae would probably have given her advice. Also, there’s a ton of information online about avoiding avoid foods like sashimi and soft cheeses and reducing her caffeine and liquor intake. So, you think she shouldn’t be nibbling on that cupcake (heard of pregnancy cravings?) to keep her weight in check, please, we’re begging you, keep it to yourself.
Instead, say: “That looks really yummy!” If you can, join her. There’s nothing like some company when you’re munching on some delicious treats!
Mums-to-be already have a lot on their plate to worry about, so don’t rub their insecurities in their faces.
8. Don’t say: “I could never imagine you as a mum.”
Oh yes, and while you’re at it, why don’t you tell me what an awful parent I’ll be, how my children will be delinquents and I will die alone in my bed? Mums-to-be already have a lot on their plate to worry about, so don’t rub their insecurities in their faces. Sure, she might have been quite different in her teen years, but hey, we all grow up some time, don’t we?
Instead, say: “I’m so excited that you’re becoming a mum!” Recognise that your friend is entering the next stage of her life, and soothe her nerves by sharing her elation and anticipation.
9. Don’t say: “That’s just the hormones talking.”
Husbands, listen up. Yes, it’s the hormones, it’s always the hormones! But you don’t get to say it. You might have made dinner, washed the dishes and now you’re getting yelled at for not putting down the toilet seat. Treat her like she’s the most important, most sensible and beautiful woman in the world ― she is carrying your child.
Instead, say: “It’s okay darling, why don’t you put your feet up? I’ll handle it.” Layer it on by the way and ask if she’d like a cup of tea or if you can put her favourite TV series on.
10. Don’t say: “Are you going to try for more?”
Hello ― this one’s still baking! By the way, I just threw up the entire contents of my lunch, thanks to the morning sickness that’s already into its sixth month. And did I mention the backache and swollen feet? So yes, babies are cute, but let’s do this one at a time, please.
Instead, say: “You must be so excited about the baby!” Thank you very much, now let’s just focus on this one, for now.
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