Saturday, 7 February 2015

What NOT to say to a pregnant woman!

It seems to me that pregnancy is one of those great joys in life where people will give you their opinion whether you ask for it or not. This certainly rang true for me in my pregnancy where I found that everyone from family members to strangers felt the need to comment on my size or weight gain.

I was never a hugely confident person anyway so this took a huge toll on my self-esteem, as mentioned in my previous post, I knew what I looked like when I saw it in the mirror and I most definitely saw it on the scales when I dared to weigh myself. Especially at this time of my life I really didn't need other people commenting on the growth of my ass or the size of my bump.

I don't know what it is about pregnancy but people love to comment on the size of bumps or in some cases the lack of. I don't know why this is or why people freely express their opinion but it doesn't make an already difficult, sensitive and emotional time any easier.

So below is a list of things not to say to a pregnant woman if you value your life..

1. "Wow, you’re so big!"

Oh really? Is that what happens during pregnancy? I hadn’t noticed. There is no need to point it out, a pregnant woman is well aware of her size. Being told you’re big is NOT a compliment and it does not help when people follow it up with "Oh, you poor woman.” A pregnant woman is most likely already having heart palpitations at the thought of labour and giving birth without you reinforcing it!

2. Now on the opposite end of the scale, "Oh, you're so small!”

This is no better than the first option. More often than not, a woman is sensitive about having a small bump so whatever you do DO NOT follow it up with "Awww, is there something wrong with your baby?" I could never imagine why you would ever say this to someone or an individual would ever think this was an appropriate comment. The fact that someone thinks something must be wrong with someone’s baby because they have a small bump is ridiculous and makes no sense at all. I have heard about someone I knew being asked this and it appalls me!

3. "Was it planned?"

This is neither your business nor should you ask it! Whether it was or wasn't a planned pregnancy is irrelevant, no matter what the baby will be loved and cherished. This is another question I never thought a pregnant woman would get asked but apparently it's happened!

4. Aren't you scared?

I was asked this by a supermarket checkout operator. "No, I'm not scared" was my reply. Why? Because I'm trying to stay positive, not think about it and not listen to stories from other people like her. As I said in the first point, the concept of birth is scary enough as it is without somebody making you think you ought to be scared!

5. DO NOT offer a pregnant woman "a birthing horror story"

Why? Every woman is different and every birth is different! Just because you had a horrific birth doesn't mean you need to share your experiences with every other woman facing birth! Why not try to remain positive and re-affirm the fact that she can do it, will do it and she will get through it. My motto during pregnancy was "ignorance is bliss.” I didn't find it necessary to google, ask others about their experienes or watch youtube videos as I figured that I didn't need to know the gory details of other people’s births. I would find out in my own time and whether i was scared or not, the birth was going to happen regardless! 

6. "I fit back into my jeans a week after birth"

If you can fit back into your jeans a week after birth then I am jealous and I commend you. I definitely couldn't fit into my jeans just after giving birth, I still can't fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans at 10 weeks postpartum without killing my hips and without my muffin top hanging out. This would be a real shot to the self-esteem of many a pregnant woman and is one of the reasons why so many woman suffer from low self-esteem. The pressure that is put on women to get back into shape so quickly after birth is totally unfair and uncalled for. The last thing I wanted to think about so shortly after birth was trying to squeeze myself into my old clothes and why would i bother tormenting myself?

I think alot of people could do with installing a filter on their thoughts and thinking about what they say before they say it regardless of whether a woman is pregnant or not. Even more so if you dare to say something similar to any of the above to an emotional, hormonal and sensitive pregnant woman.You’re just asking for it and deserve whatever response may be thrown back at you!

It's hard enough as it is carrying a child, watching your body change, seeing the increase in weight and the ever present stretch marks without complete strangers or even friends and family pointing it out. Knowing full well my body will never be the same again is punishment enough I think.

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