10 Things You Never Say To an Expecting Mother

baby bump

This list could be exponentially shorter if you take this one rule of thumb into consideration: Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER ask a woman if she is expecting a child unless you have heard her say with her own mouth and your own ears that there is a baby growing her body. I don’t care if there is a baby coming out of her body right in front of you – do not ask her if she is pregnant unless she tells you. Act surprised and tell her she looks amazing. There; that will solve so many of the world’s problems. But now that we know you cannot ever ask a woman if she is expecting, we should go over the things you should not say to a woman who has told you she is expecting. See, pregnant women are lovely, but they are also hormonal. Hormonal women who cannot drink wine or coffee are dangerous. They should be regarded as a 20-foot alligator at snack time or the Great White from Jaws; it’s how you’re going to make it through the rest of the day without a black eye.

Here is what you do not say to an expectant mom; and I’ve even offered you a few alternatives to say if you just can’t stay mum.

I knew you were having a girl! They say little girls take their mother’s looks while they’re pregnant!

I don’t feel that any explanation is needed to describe why this is not a phrase you would use when speaking to an expectant mother, but the fact that it’s even on the list begs to differ. Sure, it’s an old-wives tale. Sure, you called it the entire time, but here is how this sounds when it comes out of your mouth exactly as stated above: “You look like hell run over by a bus that decided it would back over you a few times before it finally took off.” See how that might not sound super nice?

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

You must be due any day now!

I remember the first time this was said to me when I was pregnant with my twins last year. I was around 20 weeks along (and pregnancy is 40 weeks) when the first person approached me with this one. No one likes to hear that you look like you’re going to pop when you still have five months to go – because you’re only getting bigger.

Say Instead: Congratulations! You look beautiful!

Your boyfriend must think you look so pretty! (My husband does think I look lovely, thank you) Husband? How many kids do you have?

I was 26 weeks pregnant with our first when this was said to me. The cashier told me my boyfriend must think I look lovely. When I corrected her to say my husband does, she responded, “Newlyweds! Congratulations!” When I told her we’d been married 4 years at that point, she said, “Omg. How many kids do you have?!” as if getting married is something you only do because you’re knocked up.

Say Instead: Congratulations! You look beautiful!

 A girl! That’s wonderful! When will you try for a boy?

Darlin’, if a woman is pregnant with a girl or a boy at this moment in time, do not begin asking her when she’s going to try for the opposite sex. She has a pregnancy to get through. It’s a quick way to have someone imaging your demise.

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

TWINS? Kill me now!

My personal favorite; as if being blessed with two babies is not a beautiful moment. All right; I said the same thing to the ultrasound tech when she told me and my husband that baby number three was twins. Except replace “twins” with the “F” word and “kill me now” with “Are you F-word kidding me?” and you have it.

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

Your life is over.

It’s not; and that’s rude. Don’t make new moms-to-be feel as if they have no life left. In fact, you can still have the same amazing life you have right now with a baby. They can go out in public, you know. You can travel with them. We like to think our four kids are so good in public, flying and in restaurants because they’ve all been traveling and going out since they were weeks old.

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

You’re huge!

Those who live in glass houses, my friend; glass houses.

Say Instead: Congratulations! You look beautiful!

You do know how babies are made, right?

No one says this to a first-time mom, but walk through the supermarket with a couple of kids and a baby bump and suddenly you’re a moron who has no idea where babies come from. I mean, God forbid you actually want a big family, right? Be careful asking this one, too, because some of us are happy to explain to you exactly where babies come from.

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

Better you than me.

Actually, yes, this is true. Must better me than you with that attitude you hateful person. Now, in an effort not to lie; I think this a lot when I meet other people. But I don’t say it, and that’s what makes me come across as kind and appropriate.

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

Are they natural?

Well, my babies are not artificial. They’re real babies. They were made from eggs and sperm, so I guess they were natural. We all know this is your veiled attempt at asking if that bump is the result of expensive fertility treatments or a drunken date night when the other kids were at grandma’s. Really, which one do you prefer? A drunk “oops” or a well-thought out and financially secure pregnant?

Say Instead: Congratulations! That’s wonderful!

In short, the only appropriate response to a pregnant woman is “Congratulations! That’s wonderful!” even if she tells you she spent the first 6 months of her pregnancy vomiting horribly every 6 minutes on the dot. Congratulate her; that’s wonderful.

Photo by Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images


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