I’m officially 3 months today and in my “Pregnancy series” of blog posts, one particular idea has swirled around my mind like a Tasmanian Devil – the need to let the world know what irritates the freckles off of me. I feel like there seems to be some consensus that once a woman becomes pregnant, she becomes public property, an open book for comment and criticism. In my benevolent state, I wish to clarify some of things we shouldn’t be saying to pregnant mammas (or women in general) so that we can all move forward into a better world.
- DON’T TOUCH HER BELLY. You wouldn’t touch/rub/talk to a woman’s stomach if she wasn’t pregnant yet because she is now growing something it’s suddenly acceptable. Say whaaat?!
My entire body is very personal and if you would like me to jiggle your tummy whilst making odd coo-ing noises then please do tell me and I will be happy to oblige. My closest friends and family will have the pleasure, after asking, of prodding the bump but please don’t assume you are in that circle.
If you insist on touching me, I will flick you in your private parts because let’s face it, it’s kind of the same thing right now.
- You’re looking tired, do you feel tired? Thank you for that acute observation, would you also like to comment on my bladder issues, my sudden need for Clearasil or my ever tear-filling eyes? You know why I’m tired, because I’m creating a life, what’s your excuse?
- You must really be missing alcohol. It’s so lovely of you to remind me of the things I cannot have but guess what, I don’t have periods anymore so sucks to be you with your monthly bleeding and hormonal shifts….wait, I get the latter all the time…but I don’t have to buy tampons so I’ve got that going for me which is nice.
- Are you ready for the pain of childbirth, it’s going to be hectic! Honestly, every night I go to sleep holding my vagina – and promising her a better life one day – as I imagine what it would be like to push out a rugby ball so I really appreciate you reminding me during the day of what joys await me. Seriously, why are you thinking about my nether regions?
- You’re going to have to change a lot. I get it, a baby is a huge deal, believe me, I have the nightmares and constant worrying to remind me of that so you can keep those comments to yourself.
- Do you want some advice…proceeded by them not waiting for the answer. I’m a super proud and stubborn person, I question doctors on diagnoses so to have you give me your “two cents” is gonna irritate me. Obviously, my parents can write me books on how to cope and I will gobble up that information willingly but an acquaintance or complete stranger is going to get a seriously filthy look.
And number 7 & 8 are things you actually shouldn’t ask of women in general:
7. Are you pregnant? We had a braai at our house early in the year and we all ended up playing beer pong. A friend present was not drinking but rather giving all her shots to her husband. In my tipsy state I shouted at her “Are you pregnant?” She was but she wasn’t ready to tell the world so she denied it. By my outburst I had made her feel uncomfortable in front of everyone and made her have to lie.
Whether someone isn’t drinking for pregnancy reasons or anything else should not be of any concern to you. It’s incredibly sad that our first comment when a woman says no to alcohol is to assume she is with child. Please don’t put ladies in that position of having to hide.
8. Are you thinking about trying for a baby soon? I’m a little bemused as to why you are thinking about when my husband and I have sex, I didn’t know that was such a strong turn on for you?! Seriously though, according to British stats from the NHS, one in seven couples have trouble conceiving and research into South African fertility rates also show a sharp decline in population growth with many struggling to have a baby. Therefore contemplate, before you open your mouth, that a) the person you are asking is one of those having a bloody hard time and they don’t need you reminding them of it, b) they could have had a miscarriage or c) they don’t freakin’ know you. Zip it.
Now this might all sound a little harsh but I really don’t believe I am alone in my feelings. Rather I tell you now than have to explain in court…