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How to Respond to Dumb Things People Say to You When Pregnant

By Amalah

Dear Amy,

Ugh — why is it that most people feel a need to comment on how you look when you are pregnant? I remember this with my first but it seems to be happening all the time with my second.

My belly is big — I am due in late May and am measuring right on track but yes, I look like I swallowed a large ball. My first son was big — 9.5 lbs and 22 inches (my husband is 6’4). My belly was also really big with him.

Most people say to me, “Oh no way you are going to make it until your due date, or even May!” Thanks but I really don’t want to hear that I might only make it a few more weeks and have a premature baby.

I don’t have a problem requesting (if someone tries) to please not touch my belly. Maybe some people don’t mind but for me it feels like an invasion of my personal space.

So what do you say to those who seem to think they know when you will deliver or that I look so big???!! I mean even when you are pregnant I don’t think any woman wants to hear how big she looks!

OK, vent over and any suggestions appreciated!!

P.S. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Thanks,
H

How to Deal With Rude Comments About Your Size

As a fellow gestater of big babies, let me tell you that OH MY LANDS, I KNOW. Everybody and their mailman commented on my belly size last time, including MY mailman. Everybody had a prediction of early labor and towards the end I got a lot of comments about carrying Noah down in my knees, because he’d so obviously “dropped.”

AMY’S DOCTOR: No, he hasn’t dropped at all. In fact, his head is still quite high.

In the end, I safely went into labor the day after my due date (or possibly ON my due date, depending on which one I went with), and Noah remained solidly “undropped” and very high, right up until the moment they finally decided to go in and yank him out through the window.

IN SUMMARY: Whatever, people.

The thing is, though, that these comments are pretty meaningless — annoying, but meaningless. The predictors of early, imminent labor probably think that’s what a hugely pregnant woman wants to hear and aren’t thinking about it in the terms we do (i.e. prematurity, NICU stays, incubators and breathing assistance). And the “oh my God you’re so BIG” people probably just can’t think of anything else to say. Now throw in TMZ.com and the tabloids going on and on about how a five-months-pregnant celebrity is SO BIIIIIG and ABOUT TO POPPPP OMG, and you realize that most people really have no concept of just how big the stomach of the average full-term pregnant lady actually gets.

Thus, I never really thought these comments deserved anymore thought or response than a dismissive “oh, I think we’ll make it to just fine, actually.” Or “well, he seems pretty comfortable in there, so hopefully he’ll stay put.” Or “yes, I’m a giant beached whale, thanks for reminding me, would you like to comment on my swollen ankles while you’re at it?”

OK, so maybe occasionally I did snap at a person or two, usually if they continued to push the issue after I’d already responded as politely as possible. Most of the time I wouldn’t even dignify it with words, though. A vague “mm-hmm, yep, so I’ve been told,” or something.

(On the flip side, my girlfriend was constantly told how SMALL her belly looked during her pregnancies, and not as a compliment. Even though her babies were both born full-term and healthy, she never got the huge, beach-ball belly. So people would insinuate that there was something wrong with her or her baby or that she wasn’t eating enough out of vanity, or something. You just can’t win with the unwashed masses, ladies.)

It’s tempting to want to school the early-labor people on the real insensitivity of those remarks (what if you’d previously had pre-term labor? what if you’d previously lost a baby to pre-term labor? ack!)…so…you would get no judgment from me for unleashing a full-on “please don’t even JOKE about something serious like that” tirade on the next person who brings it up.

When someone says something truly ignorant that could truly wound someone who has been through it, sometimes I think you’re justified to toss politeness out the window and point this out. Even if they didn’t really mean anything by it, explaining why this is Not Really A Cool Thing To Say Ever just might make them stop and swallow those words next time. Or not, if they are just that much of a jackass. In that case, whatever, and waddle away.

Readers? Any especially memorable comments or comebacks?

Don’t forget to visit Amalah’s Weekly Pregnancy Calendar.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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