This sounds so cliche, I never thought I would be compelled to write about it. But having been on the receiving end of a half dozen rude comments changed my mind. I’m working at a Fortune 100 company this pregnancy, and assumed a certain level of professionalism from my coworkers. I had no idea that so many women were clueless about preggo etiquette.
I say “women” because men have been for the most part silent, or at least fairly innocent in their comments to me. All of the interactions I mention in this post were from strangers, by the way. I know that it’s considered impolite to ever speak to a stranger about her pregnancy, but honestly I don’t mind. I’m happy to be pregnant and fascinated by the changes to my body. It doesn’t bother me to discuss my new baby in an elevator on the way into work. Yet I am shocked by some of the things that have come out of people’s mouths, especially from fellow moms. This mostly started in December, when I was about 6 months pregnant.
When are you due?
This is by far the most common opener, and not in itself offensive to me. If I weren’t pregnant, that would be another story. A couple of brave souls asked if I were expecting back when I first started to show, which is a much more dangerous question to ask a woman with a small, rounded belly. Sometimes I’ve been startled into giving my actual due date, but usually just answer March. Now to me, the proper follow-up from the stranger should be “Congratulations!” End of interaction. Here are some of the responses I’ve gotten:
Jaw drops open, “Wow, you’re so big!” Am I actually supposed to smooth over the awkward silence here? Are you kidding me?
Gape at my belly and think of nothing else to say. Try congratulations! Or you look great!
“Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” Yes, it’s a boy. Try saying, congratulations! Instead of stammering into silence because you didn’t actually care what the sex of my baby is. Or you could just keep your mouth shut to begin with.
“It’s a girl, right?” Because my ass looks so big? WTF kind of question is that? No, it’s a boy. I get an awkward look and silence. Jeez!
Alternate version of when are you due?
“So, when’s the big day?” What the hell kind of question is that? Have you ever heard of someone not planning a C-section knowing on which day her baby will be born?
None of this ever happened to me when I was pregnant with Hugo. I have to believe it had something to do with working on an Army base, that my coworkers were generally more polite. And no stranger has ever touched my belly in this pregnancy or my first one. I have no idea how I would react, but it wouldn’t be pretty.
The worst offender so far was a mom of two who visited me in the hospital not 10 hours after Hugo was born, who took one look at me and said “I thought you already had the baby!” Ah, thanks. You look really svelte, too.
Has anyone ever said anything completely rude to you when you were pregnant? Please share.