To be pregnant is to be vitally alive, thoroughly woman and undoubtedly inhabited. It is the time in which a woman's body is not just her temple, but truly a home for the emerging life of a child. And, it also majorly sucks in a lot of ways.
As an OBGYN, I am fully knowledgeable of the beautiful process of pregnancy. I find it fascinating enough to have built a career around it, but at the same time I also know how brutal it can be on a woman's body.
Below are a few choice phrases people like to throw out at pregnant women that can make their pregnancy even harder.
1. "Wow you are so big!"
Also don't ask, "Are you having twins?" "Almost due?" or "About to pop?" Just don't.
Basically any sort of comment that references how large a pregnant woman has gotten should be kept to yourself. You would never comment on the growing size a woman who's not pregnant.
Although it's expected that a woman's body changes and grows with pregnancy, she's still the same woman with the same feelings that she was before she became pregnant. She's also likely struggling with her changing body image.
Nobody, pregnant or not, wants to know that you're astounded at how huge they are.
2. "Can I touch your stomach?"
A pregnant woman's belly is HER belly and everybody has a different comfort level regarding personal space.
Some women find this request uncomfortable and some find it down right creepy. It's safe to assume that if a pregnant woman wants you to touch her in anyway she will invite you to do so.
3. "Your life is about to be over!"
Most pregnant women know that their life is about to change and that they're going to have to deal with new challenges. They don't need the Grinch Who Stole Pregnancy to bring up gloom or negative thoughts leading up to their baby's arrival.
I believe that this type of comment is meant lightheartedly, but you have to remember that your pregnant friend is likely a little scared and nervous as is, so try and be supportive instead of negative.
4. "Are you ready for your vagina to be destroyed and your sex life to be over?"
This question is usually asked by someone that hasn't had kids but has had the unfortunate experience of watching a gratuitous birthing video on Youtube.
That's because people that have had kids know that it's not the end of sex or their vagina. Yes, there are anatomical changes that may occur during the birthing process, but most women completely recover.
Will the couple face challenges that make a mid-day quickie more challenging? Yes, but their sex life certainly isn't over and more importantly, it's personal.
Sex and a woman's business is her business. Just because a woman is pregnant does't mean her personal life is put on the table for discussion.
5. "You Should …"
In a world full of social media, Pinterest, blog moms and IRL mom groups people have gotten out of control on freely giving their opinion about what or what not to do to pregnant women.
As an expert, I ask that you please stop. There are actually professionals that have answers. Besides that, if a woman chooses to do something differently than the neighborhood moms it doesn't make what she's doing wrong. So back off and unless you're asked for your advice, mind your business.
Overall, pregnancy has challenges, but it's also remarkable in every way. It truly is the circle of life, and what could be more magnificent? Think about how amazing this woman is for doing what she's doing and be thoughtful about what she hears.