It happened yesterday, the first time, and sadly I know it won't be the only time, and I didn't even see it coming. The ever-feared unsolicited belly rub. Ughh!!! Why? Why do people feel that as soon as someone is pregnant, all bets are off and limits no longer exist? It's annoying and extremely rude. I don't run up to you and touch you! I don't rub your bald spot or pat your beer belly - so HANDS OFF! I don't LIKE people touching my belly, even my husband gives me the "Pleeeeeeeeease" look before he touches my belly - and sometimes I even tell HIM no! So, in an effort to try and rid the world (at least my world) of people doing and saying inappropriate things to pregnant woman, here is my list. Please take note:
1. It is NEVER acceptable to rub someone's belly - unless they specifically ask you to. If a pregnant lady feels movement and wants to show someone, they will ask if you want to feel the baby move. If however they just say "Ooooh!" and hold their belly, assume its gas, at which point you shouldn't want to feel it anyhow. Remember, pregnant women are still people and there should still be the same normal boundaries, if not more. In the end, if you stray and she stabs you with a fork, don't say I didn't warn you!
2. Never, ever, EVER talk about a pregnant woman's weight. Ever. Whether you tell her she looks small for 8 months or huge for 5 months, either way it is an insult and will most likely cause her to worry. The same goes for asking if she's "sure it isn't twins". She is a woman. Under any other circumstances would it be okay to talk about a lady's weight? I think not. Oh, and this rule not only applies to friends, but to family members as well - whether it be her husband, mother, aunt, whomever. Leave the weight comments to the doctor.
3. Don't share your horror stories! This is one I'll never understand either. It seems that people LOVE to tell how their epidural went wrong or they got stuck in an elevator or some other thing that we are already secretly scared of. We all know unpleasant things happen and do our best to not freak out about it happening to us, so just shut it.
4. The dreaded "Just wait..." reply. This one seems to be around every corner - "I didn't sleep well last night", "Just wait until ..." or "My back is sore", "Just wait...". Ya' know what world? I KNOW my body is going to get even more sore, I know I'm going to be the size of a house and have trouble getting off the couch, I know there will be very little sleep after the birth, but RIGHT NOW I'm still not perfect and if I'm tired, I'm still tired and I don't care how much worse its going to be, it still sucks RIGHT NOW!
5. "Was it planned?" Seriously??? Are you REALLY asking me about my sex life? Now I have to admit that this particular one does not bother me (yes, it was planned actually), but I know a TON of women who feel this is the numero uno in tacky questions. If you really stop for a moment and realize what you are ultimately asking, it makes sense why people don't like it.
6. Telling a parent they should or should not find out the sex before the birth. This seems to be more common with family members and I've read several stories about grandparents being disappointed because the child is a girl / boy or because the parents either want to find out or don't want to find out the sex before the birth. If it is a healthy baby, who freaking cares whether it is a boy or girl, and why should ANYONE other than the parents being able to choose if they find out early?
7. Commenting on the unborn child's name. This is another one where people seem to LOVE to refer to their own stories - "Oh, I had a dog named that" or "I went to high school with a kid named that and he's now in prison". Choosing a name is usually an extremely difficult decision, especially when you add in all the comments everyone makes. But even worse then that, people will badger you to tell them the name if you have chosen to keep it a secret (for above reasons). One this subject, we have not picked names yet, but have discussed them and I'm sure once we have the big ultrasound and (hopefully) know whether its a boy or girl, I DO NOT plan on sharing the names for the simple reason that I am easily influenced by the comments of others. I know for me all it will take is one person not reacting how I want them to and I will second guess myself. Silly, yes, but its the way it is, accept it. Don't worry, you will all know the name in due time.
8. Do not tell a pregnant woman (or any woman) how you think she should birth the kid. This is a VERY personal choice that the mother-to-be ALONE should be making. This is one of the few areas where I don't believe the father-to-be has much say, since it isn't his body and he won't be going through the experience and pain. I won't tell you to get a root canal without Novocaine, so leave me my choice of how I'm shooting this thing out alone.
9. Unsolicited advice. This is aimed at everyone and people seem to think they know best. I have had people tell me all sorts of things I should not be eating or drinking or doing - and most of them have never BEEN pregnant and are not in the medical field. I know caffeine is bad. I know I need to take my vitamins. I know I need to eat fruits and vegetables. Seriously, I've talked to my doctor and I follow her rules, I don't need YOU telling me what you've HEARD is best / bad / etc. Now, if you see me smoking crack or chugging down some Tequila, then I give you my permission to smack me.
That is my list for now, feel free to add your own!
PS - I WILL be carrying a fork with me at all times.