Anyone who has spent time around an expectant mother knows they're excited, anxious and looking forward to finally meeting their baby. But they've also spent months hearing well-meaning comments from friends, family, co-workers, and strangers.
From various lines about how you look “ready to pop” and endless offers to help you get off your feet, these are the lines every expectant mother has heard time and time again (and again and again).
"Should you be eating/drinking that?"
Unless she's about to accidentally take a bite out of some plastic fruit, don't question what an expectant mother eats. That's between her, her doctor and her baby. Maybe her baby really wants liver and onions.
"You look so young/so old to be having a baby."
However you look at it, this is just judgey. Mothers become mothers when it works for them.
Some expectant mothers might be happy to be called mom but some might want to be called by their names. Err on the safe side and stick to her name.
"When I was pregnant..."
Every pregnancy is different. You think you're offering advice. Trust us when we say you're not the only one. Everyone is offering her advice and she's heard it all before.
"Get as much sleep as you can now because when the baby comes..."
Yup, she knows. She's probably heard all the horror stories of babies waking up to party at 2 a.m. and the horrors of sleep deprivation.
"Are you going to breastfeed?"
Do you really need to know? Whether an expectant mother decides to breastfeed or not is her decision.
"Can I touch your belly/Feel the baby move?"
A pregnant woman's belly isn't public property. Don't be that person who lunges to touch a woman's belly. Wait to be invited. If she doesn't, don't touch her. So rude.
"Are you big enough?"
Weight-related comments are verboten. Her doctor will let her know if she needs to gain or lose weight. Even if you are a doctor, refrain from commenting.
"You don't look like you're X months!"
Some women carry big, some carry small. Again, her weight is between her and her doctor.
"Wow, you're huge!"
Trust us, expectant mothers know. They know. You don't need to tell them.
"Just X weeks to go! You must be so ready!"
Carrying a baby for 40 weeks is tiring and by the time expectant moms enter their third trimester, some are counting down the weeks and the days.
"Was it planned?"
Did you really just ask them something so personal? Some plan, some don't; either way, it’s entirely none of your business.
"Are you going to stay home?/Are you going back to work?"
Society isn't overly accommodating to mothers. They're judged for wanting to stay home with their kids, they're judged for wanting (or needing) to go back to work. Daycare is expensive. They can't win, so don't add to the pressure.
"You're finally pregnant!/It's about time!"
If your friend is excited when she tells you, don't respond with this. Way to kill the mood.
"Are you going to have more kids?"
This one comes up a lot with expectant mothers. They haven't had this baby yet! Let them enjoy this one before they decide whether they want to have another child.
"Are you going to have a natural birth?"
Some mothers want to go the natural route, some don’t. There's no one birth plan for every mom.
"It's hard to lose the baby weight."
Expectant mothers get enough pressure to look like a yummy mummy and it doesn't help when celebrity moms rock their pre-pregnancy jeans three months after giving birth. Avoid all weight-related comments.
"Let me offer some advice."
It's well-meaning, but once a woman announces her pregnancy, everyone wants to give her advice. Instead, listen to her concerns. Don't offer advice unless asked.
"Do you have names picked out? What are they?"
The first question is fine, it's when you ask the second that it can get a little intrusive. If they don't want to tell you, respect their decision and change the subject. If they tell you, do not react with "I don't like that."
It's a joyous time for expectant mothers but it can be a stressful time as well. Be there for her and be supportive. Keep all opinions to yourself and let her lead the conversation.