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Four Things We Never Want to Hear

Yup … I’m knocked up.

The rumors are true and in roughly 185 days, I will become, oh, what’s the lovely term for those who give birth—“breeder”? Breeder? Am I right? Of course I’m right. I’ll be a breeder. Exciting news for someone whose, up to this point, most impressive title has been “Snicker Bar Eating Winner.” (As both these impressive accomplishments came with some severe bouts of puking, I will eventually be striving for a credential that doesn’t involve a personal relationship with the underside of the toilet seat.)

So, you might be wondering, what has your first trimester been like? Am I craving weird foods? Have I felt the baby kick? Is it a boy or a girl? Am I showing? Did I have morning sickness? Can you touch my stomach?

To these questions, I submit the following:

May I ask you about your last bowel movement? Strange discharges you’ve noticed oozing from your body and may/may not be worried about? Any great tumor/parasite/boil stories?

People are suddenly intensely interested about the fluxes of my internal organs and I just don’t get it. The only thing I can surmise is that perhaps these are the questions people have been programmed to ask. It’s the old pickle and ice-cream gag that’s done me in. I have ceased to be a person and am now a traveling placenta, just floating around, fielding questions about my new bra size. I also think it has something to do with my novelty. I am the first of my friends to have a baby. Nobody’s nailed down the etiquette because we’ve just begun to grow up. In a strange way I feel like the first kid to get a pool. Everyone wants to come over and we’ll all dive and splash and play all day … but nobody’s sure how to control the pH, so we end up blind with green hair.

In the interest of good relations from this, the scary deep end of the breeder pool, I’ve assembled a list of the top four things not to say/ask/do to a newly pregnant person.

4. Do not touch my belly.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t like strange people just comin’ up and stroking me. It’s one thing if you’re my best friend and I haven’t seen you since I’ve gotten my bump. That’s fine, especially if you ask. I’m talking the people-I-don’t-know-very-well touching or people-I-don’t-know-at-all touching. I was walking to my car from work, cheerfully avoiding the liquor store, when some lady stuck her hand up my blouse and reminded me to take folic acid supplements because if I didn’t, my baby would be born with spina bifida. And then she was gone. Gone like the wind, like a gypsy, but instead of stealing my magic beans or placing a curse on my goat, she molested my lunch! Not cool.

3. Do not ask me if I plan on breast feeding.
I have to decide if I want express food for a child! Food from my boobs! My boobs are good friends of mine and trying to wrap my head around switching them over from “fun toys” to “food source for a baby” is some crazy shit. I know breastfeeding is great. I know children who didn’t breastfeed that turned out fine. I know women who love nursing and others who can only described it as some of the most painful stuff ever. I’ll figure it out … it will not involve any outside sources. And honestly, even if I cared about what anyone else but me thought, unless you’ll be up and feeding my baby at two o’clock in the morning, you don’t even get to think about my breasts.

2. Do not tell me your horror story about giving birth.
Why? Why? Why would I want to hear this? Does the fact I am walking around in pants with elastic waistbands while pausing outside of Starbucks to paw and lick the glass not give you enough reason to pity me? How much lower can a human being sink? My pants don’t have buttons anymore! I’m scared already!

PS—I can read and watch this magical moving picture box some fancier folks call a television. I know labor hurts. I understand that it hurts very badly and I, with a pretty good understanding of human anatomy, understand exactly what I’m going to have to shove through where. Show some pity and just pass by the poor stretchy pants lady. I’ve got enough problems without hearing about your sister’s sixteen-hour ordeal from hell.

1. Do not ask me if the baby was planned.
I thought this one kinda went without saying. But I was wrong. Dead wrong. From the moment my husband and I started telling people what, we thought, was our happy news, I’ve been hit upside the head with what I had assumed was an extreme social misstep.

Look, there is no good reason to ask this question unless it’s to make the expectant parents uncomfortable and gather a little tidbit of gossip to share along. If the baby is planned, you leave the excited mom and dad to be feeling a little, if not a lot, unsure of themselves. Having a baby is more than a little stressful. Even when you’ve budgeted and planned a schemed for months, there’s always that little voice that says, “You’ll never afford it.” I’m sure even the most comfortably set middle class family get sent into a panic when NPR delivers their forty-fifth report of the hour of how the economy is ruined and how college tuitions will be reaching the high millions in the next two years. The last thing newly expecting parents need is someone making them question their timing.

On the other hand, if the baby is not planned, it’s an uncomfortable conversation that can make everyone feel like it’s more of inquisition than a birth announcement. How is a pregnant woman supposed to answer such an inquiry? “No, it wasn’t planned, so now I’m going to love it far less. Oh, and please make sure to mention to my child at some point that he/she was an accident. You know kids love those hilarious “Your parents never really wanted you” stories!”

I’m realizing that as I write this, I’m sounding a little … shall we say moody? I want to stress this one silly thing before I close up my womb post for the day. I love being pregnant. I really do. I’m so excited to have this baby and I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I was this happy. Having a baby is great. Other people are not. That is all.

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