Say This , NOT That! Pregnancy Edition

January 17, 2014

It's ok, I get it, a lady walks in with a big ol' belly and you just want to strike up a conversation about it!  It's an easy conversation piece.  But, people do say the darndest things, and they aren't always very helpful.  In fact, sometimes it's downright painful.  Thus, this blog post was born.  I'm here to help give you a few alternatives to some very annoying comments.

As a bit of a disclaimer, this is meant all in fun.  I hope you can see through the ranting and enjoy the comedy of it all:)  We pregnant ladies have to find comedy in everything to make it through the day lol.

And, you know, since it's a photography blog and all, I'll include a preview of some of my own maternity pictures!  We successfully took these with a self-timer and some ingenuity.  It was not an easy process, but that's a story for another blog:)

So, here we go!

1) "Just wait until you get to the third trimester, it's so much worse!" Or "Just wait until the baby gets here, you won't sleep at all!"

Basically, any sentence that starts with the words "Just wait" or if you are ever going to offer an example of how you had it so much worse, don't.  It's not helpful.  In what world does knowing that it will get worse make you feel better about your current situation?  It doesn't.  EVER. 

Instead, try saying something that actually might be encouraging like, "Oh, I remember 1st trimester and boy was the nausea rough! I'm so sorry, what can I do to help?" OR "Girl, second trimester is so much easier,  just hang in their a few more weeks and you'll get some energy back!" OR "Oh, I remember how huge and uncomfortable I was in the 3rd trimester.  It's almost over though!  Isn't it awesome how you can feel him move all the time?"  Tell me how amazing it is to be a momma and how they are worth every bit of it (but only if you mean it, not as a side note like I typically see it).  These things are encouraging. I know you've been there too, I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. No one is competing to be the biggest martyr.  We're in this thing together.  We women aren't always so good at banding together.  Now's the time we need it most!

professional photographyer maternity chattanooga, TN "Christine Lewis Photography"

2) "Looks like you are gaining a little weight around your face."

Really? Really? Yes, unfortunately, this was actually said to me.  Worse, it was said to me around 25 weeks when I had just started gaining weight in places other than my belly.  Let me start by saying it's NEVER ok to say this.  When you are pregnant, your whole body has been hijacked and every day is a mystery as to what will happen next.  Every woman wants to be that one that only gains weight in their belly and looks exactly the same (or better!) everywhere else.  At 25 weeks, I was just starting to accept that this was an impossible dream.  For someone else to tell me? Totally busted my bubble.  My battered self-esteem didn't need to hear that.  Now, I grew up getting picked on by my guy friends and teasing doesn't bother me at all.  In fact, more than once, my guy friends have totally gotten away with telling me they noticed I've gained some weight and may need to cut back on the junk food.  I know they are joking and being goofy.  But, these are also vague, non-commital statements.  When you look me over and tell me exactly where I've started gaining weight, it seriously takes an act of God for me to keep the crazy in.  And there's LOTS of extra crazy when you are pregnant and hormonal:) 

Instead, if you want to comment on my size that is growing by the minute try, "My, your belly has gotten huge!" OR "Oh my goodness! Looks like you are going to bust!"  These are statements about my belly. I want it to grow, that means my baby is healthy and growing. 

There is an exception.  If I ask, I deserve to be told.  Pregnant ladies everywhere, be warned.  I'm saying it.  If I ask you if my feet look swollen, or if I've gained weight in my face, you have every right to (gently) tell me the truth.  I feel like after a few of my hormonal melt-downs, my husband is afraid to tell me the truth when I ask.  He's a good husband, but I can tell when I'm being lied to:)

On that note, it's also not helpful to offer, "You haven't gained a single pound anywhere except your belly!" When I know it's NOT true at all.  I'm not delusional, so I know you are full of BS.  Unless of course you are delusional.  Or, you honestly think my face has always been this fat, in which case, this is not a compliment lol.

professional photographyer maternity chattanooga, TN "Christine Lewis Photography"

3) "I had a friend, who just had their baby at 32 weeks and he's in the NICU.  Look at this picture of all the tubes coming out of him!" OR "A friend of mine stopped feeling movement around 30 weeks and they had to go to the ER...."

You get the point.  These statements go past "not helpful" and "annoying" and border on harmful.  Those same raging hormones that cause us to obsessively clean the house and get baby's nursery ready when we are nesting don't just stop there.  You can obsess over anything.  Cravings fall under this category.  I woke up and thought about cinnamon rolls for 2 hours one night before I could force myself to go back to sleep.  Anything is fair game. I also woke up one night and had the bright idea that I wanted to make a family tree for Sawyer, and couldn't go back to sleep for hours because I couldn't stop trying to remember all of the cousins and their names.  Hours.  Absolutely ridiculous.  Now, when you show my pictures of babies with tubes coming out of their noses what do you think I'm going to obsess over at my 3am pee break? Exactly.  Is he moving enough? Is he moving too much? What if he comes to early? What about all the things that could possibly ever go wrong in the whole entire universe? Not helpful.

Instead, just don't.  Ask me how I'm feeling and how my recent doctor's appt went.  Ask me if I'm feeling him move and how weird it is to have a living child inside of you.  Don't tell me what can go wrong.  Trust me, I'm very well aware of the possibilities already.

professional photographyer maternity chattanooga, TN "Christine Lewis Photography"

4) "Want another cookie? No? But, you're pregnant and can eat whatever you want, right?"

No, not right.  But thanks, speaking of those obsessive thoughts, now I'm obsessively thinking about cookies.  And it's really, really, really hard to say no right now.

At this point in my life, I have a symbiotic relationship with a helpless life form. He's depending on me for his every living breath.  Never in my life has every single action I've taken effected another human being so closely.  It's probably not best to start his little life off cramming him with junk food.  Not only that, but I'm getting fatter every day and doing my best to make it through a grocery store without purchasing every single pack of cookies on the shelf and indulging every craving for cinnamon rolls and cookie dough that comes my way.  I'm gaining quite enough only giving in to 1 out of every 100 cravings, thanks!  This isn't just out of vanity (although, I'm not gonna lie, what weight comes on, must come off).  It ain't easy carrying around this extra weight.  At 33 weeks, my back is dying and the arches in my feet are totally giving up on me.  If I can say no to cookies, I can hopefully avoid becoming a complete invalid.  Labor is supposedly easier and recovery faster if I can stay mobile.  Gaining 60lbs isn't the best plan.  This is not at ALL to say I've been the healthiest in the world.  Just saying, pregnancy is not the time where you can eat whatever in the world that you want. 

Instead? Sure, sneak me the cookie if you know it's my favorite.  Warn me if it's a goody day at work, but don't give me a hard time for saying no. It was really hard to say the first time, please dear God don't make me try to do it again! 

So, what do you think ladies? Did I miss anything?  What did you hate to hear people say when you were pregnant?

Want to see more maternity pictures by Christine Lewis Photography? Click here.

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