Cringe when the cashier hollers about your "huge belly?" Keep reading for a graceful response to this and other tactless pregnancy comments.
"Hey, is that baby due tomorrow?" "Whoa, are you having twins?" Those are just two of the insensitive remarks Ashley Senary Dahlberg, a 30-year-old lawyer and mom-to-be from San Antonio, Texas, got from strangers and (not close) colleagues after her bump popped. "I was only 30 weeks into my pregnancy when a gentleman asked if I was due the next day," says Dahlberg, who's expecting her first baby, a boy, this month. "I'm not sure people realize that what they see as an innocuous comment is really telling a woman that she looks like a hippopotamus, and I don't need to hear that."
Insensitive, yet common, comments
Ring a bell, pregnant ladies? The topic of insensitive pregnancy advice became particularly pertinent when a Buzzfeed video on the topic made the rounds on social media (see below). Dozens of you spilled to Fit Pregnancy about similar clueless comments, from your neighbor saying she was relieved to find out there was a reason for your weight gain to a FedEx driver telling you that the baby must be a boy because "only a man could make you look this bad."
"I'm only 4'11", which made my belly look extra big when I was pregnant," says Milwaukee resident Kristina Jacobs, 28, who had her son, J.J., in January. "The remarks I got ranged from 'Any day now' when I was 24 weeks along to 'Are you sure you're only having one? Ultrasounds can be wrong sometimes.' Would you think it's appropriate to comment on my body when I'm not pregnant? No. So why is it suddenly okay during pregnancy?"
And to make matters worse: When an outburst like "Oh my God, you're so pregnant!" rolls in, most of you have no idea what to say. "I don't want to be rude, so I usually resort to a joke about having had too much lunch, which isn't how I actually feel," Dahlberg says. "I wish I had a polite response to help people understand that it's a personal thing to comment on how someone looks."
Kill 'em with a comeback
Etiquette expert Akilah Easter, founder of Chicago charm school EtiquetteFemme and mom to 4-month-old Anayah, says the most important thing to remember is that the person exclaiming over the size of your bump is the one making the faux pas—which gives you license to be frank.
"You're allowed to be straightforward, and politely put them in their place," she says. Try something like: "You know, you're not the first person to say that, but I'd rather talk about how I'm feeling during this pregnancy, not how I'm looking." That way—especially if you're dealing with a colleague you see often—you can steer the conversation toward how excited you were to decorate the nursery over the weekend or how hard it is to decide on a name, which diffuses tension.
Jacobs offers another suggestion. 'If I have another baby, I'm not going to be so polite," she says. "I'm going to answer people with, 'Why do you think that was okay to say?' Because it's really not appropriate."