I truly hesitated to write this one, because I know so many people will read this and think “Um, I ask that all the time- is she talking about me?!” To that I say… well… yeah, but also no. What I’m about to dive into is so common that I can guarantee you that this post is not directed at any one particular person.
I pinky promise that if you asked me these questions during my pregnancy I don’t hold it against you… but I also promise that you were one of many who did, which is why I am here, writing this.
It’s pretty common to hear that there are some questions women kind of wish people would stop asking in general. I’m sure you’ve heard a few of these (like: when will you have babies?) talked about in viral blog posts and spoken on by celebrities. But it dawned on me that it’s not often that I have heard women talk about what they wish people would stop asking them while they are pregnant.
I will gladly speak on that for the women out there too polite to say otherwise. So let’s get into it, shall we?
Question 1: Do you want a certain gender?
The problem: This question is either stated plainly or said in jest. Example: “I bet you’re hoping for a boy/girl!!! Daddy/Mommy needs a boy/girl so they can *enter absurd gender norm here* together.” Even if a woman does have a preference, there is often a lot of guilt in that. Will I make my baby feel unloved if I say I want one thing and don’t get it? Will my baby carry that into life with them? It sounds bonkers but we tend to think differently while pregnant. Mostly we all just want to be able to carry our child to term, and to have a safe delivery in which both come out alive. Boy or girl matters little.
The solution: Instead of asking what they hope for, you could simply wait to find out what they are having and then congratulate them with no insinuations about why one sex would be better than the other.
Question 2: When is your due date? Variation: how many weeks are you?
The problem: If you have asked this once or twice, have no fear! You’re safe! We understand that you might need some reminding in the beginning. BUT. Once you find yourself asking for the third or fourth time, you can bet that momma is as annoyed with you as you are with yourself. Can I tell you what it feels like? It feels like you don’t care enough to remember. That’s the ugly truth of it, and I know that I’m not the only woman who has felt that.
The solution: My best advice here is as soon as your friend tells you she’s pregnant, either force her due month into your memory OR write that sucker down in your planner.
Question 3: Are you going to try again for a boy/girl?
The problem: Personally, I know we are so fortunate that neither my husband nor myself have experienced any struggles in our fertility. But I know so many couples who struggle with conceiving, and couples who have lost multiple children to miscarriage, both early and late stage. I know couples who have brought children into this world incredibly early. All of those things are emotionally traumatic in nature, so it’s important to tread lightly because you might not even know about any of that. Even if someone has had healthy pregnancies followed by healthy deliveries and children… when you ask whether or not there are plans on trying again- especially for a certain gender- you diminish the value of the experiences already had, and the children who already exist. I feel so grateful to have the children I have, and have never felt like anything was missing because they were or weren’t a certain gender.
The solution: Express how excited you are for this pregnancy and to see how this new little one fits into the family. Questions about if they will try again can be left at the door.
Question 4: How are you feeling?
The problem: we answer it at minimum 5 times a day. If you ask this question every once in a while, you’re probably okay… but if you ask it every day (or every time you talk to them), not so much. It’s just super repetitive for the mother to be, and honestly? It can be another guilt inducing question. Most of the time we are unnecessarily carrying the weight of portraying our pregnancy as this or that. If we feel crappy, it kind of feels crappy to say that because it feels like we aren’t being thankful. If we feel good, we feel bad that pregnancy isn’t as good for everyone else.
Caveat: it is possible for this question to become more acceptable during the last month of pregnancy.
The solution: if you know momma is dealing with some of the harsher side effects of pregnancy, take note of that that and ask specifically how that’s been. If you genuinely can’t think of anything else to ask her, inviting her to tell you “everything” is a good way to invite her to talk about how she is feeling if she wants to.
Question 5: Just one? (As in: is there just one baby in there?)
The problem: you would think this is obviously an off limits question but you would be surprised. Personally, I think I got it about five times this pregnancy. And each time I had to reel my inner b*tch back in. I think one time I actually said “yeah it’s just one, this is just what chubby girls look like when pregnant.” Yikes.
The solution: If you can’t figure out a sneaky way to ask, then I’m sorry but you just have to suck it up and wonder forever. Keep in mind it’s never polite to comment on anyone’s body, but especially not while they are creating a baby (or two). Duh, right?
As always, if you have a friend or family member who is pregnant, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. My point truly is to err on the side of intentionality. Putting some effort into having a conversation that asks the pregnant woman thought provoking questions is worth the effort. Also keep in mind, yes she is pregnant, but she also has a life outside of that, and might be interested in talking about other things like what she thought of next seasons Bachelor pick, or how things are going with some other new development in her life.
And if you can’t think of anything else to talk about with a pregnant woman, just tell them that they look beautiful and you can’t wait to see them take this experience head on.
Those kinds of words never get old.