Pregnancy is one of life's last great mysteries and there is just something about a pregnant woman that solicits intrigue from those around them. The pregnant belly seems to act as some type of beacon for friends and strangers alike to ask questions and make comments, but before you ask or share, here are a few things that pregnant women would really like you to know.
1. Every pregnancy is unique
Being pregnant is a little bit like being initiated into a club, where suddenly you have something in common with a bunch of random strangers. But being knocked up is often where the commonalities end. Each pregnancy is different, so please try not to project your terribly difficult pregnancy onto us. Ours might be harder or easier, but it will certainly be unique.
2. Your birth horror stories are NOT helpful
Along with unique pregnancies also comes unique births. Please just stop with the horror stories about how your friend's aunt was paralyzed by her epidural or about your emergency C-section. The fact is, we're a little nervous about this whole giving birth thing (even if we've done it before), so the scary stories aren't helping to alleviate those anxieties. Feel free to keep those to yourself. Please and thank you.
Please don't tell us how beautiful pregnancy is or about how you "just loved every second" and how pregnant women are just the loveliest. The truth is, we probably don't feel very lovely half the time (OK, some do, but I'm hypothesizing that a whole lot more don't), so let's not talk about how "glow-y" it all is.
4. Just because we don't LOVE being pregnant doesn't mean we don't value this gift
Some women have pretty easy pregnancies (see #1), but plenty of others spend their nine months of gestation feeling downright uncomfortable. It's a long time to not feel like yourself—not just emotionally, but also physically—and it's totally OK to not love it.
I've seen many women who are struggling to get pregnant express their frustration over a pregnant person's venting post via social media or in blog post comments. Comments like "I only wish I could experience nausea, but I can't, because I can't get pregnant" are thrown around. I can see how someone complaining about pregnancy discomforts might feel like a personal affront during your struggles, but the fact is, it just isn't. Pregnancy is hard and it's OK for us all to share our truths.
Physical ailments are challenging, even when you know they are for a good reason. Pregnant women value this precious gift of life growing inside of us, but it doesn't mean we have to value feeling like crap. That part sucks. But, to all of you who are struggling to get pregnant, please know that our hearts are with you and we truly aren't trying to offend you.
Even though we know we're probably being a little irrational at times, we don't need you to call us out on it.
5. The belly touching rule: No. Just NO.
The rule about belly touching is that unless a pregnant woman says "Hey! Wanna feel the baby?" or grabs your hand to place on her belly, then you should probably just say no.
6. Yes, we realize we are hormonal
The hormones during pregnancy are like whoa. Even though we know we're probably being a little irrational at times, we don't need you to call us out on it.
7. We are capable of feeding ourselves
Some of us gain a little extra weight during pregnancy and some of us have a hard time gaining much at all. Either way, we are very much capable of feeding ourselves a balanced diet, so no need to remind us about all pregnancy food rules or about nutrition guidelines.
8. It doesn't feel good to be "sized-up"
Think for a second about what it would feel like if every time you entered the room people and people checked out your midsection and made comments about your size? It's awkward to say the least. So while we realize that your comments about "being due any day now" and "are you sure those aren't twins?" are meant to be lighthearted, it really does get old over time, because you certainly aren't the first to make such comments.
Guys, we're pregnant, not dead. If you're trying out a fun new bar, don't feel like you can't invite us along. We may look over longingly at your Moscow Mule while sipping on a mocktail, but it's totally worth it to hang out with friends. Bonus, you've got a built-in designated driver!
10. Pregnancy is not a disability
While it's nice to have others offer help and open doors, please don't treat us as though we are disabled. That big belly may slow us down a bit, but we are still incredibly capable of a great many things—running businesses, running marathons, running households...you know...all the running things. Who runs the world? (Pregnant) Girls!