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CULTURE

Stop saying these things to pregnant women

Just walk away slowly- before I kill you and/or eat your sandwich.

by Dezi Hall

When you're pregnant, for some reason people think they have some weird right to touch you and comment on your body and life. (Just wait- it gets even worse once the little creature is on the other side of the womb.) It would do the world a whole lot of good if people could keep their mouths shut. But if you can't, and you simply must speak words to a pregnant person, just make sure you never say any of these.

You're so huge!

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Oh my god! Am I? I had no idea! Thank you so much for pointing this out. All this time I was wondering why I was out of breath walking up the stairs. I had no idea why my pants suddenly didn't fit any more. Praise you, kind soul, for solving the mystery for me. Also, don't ever comment on my body or talk to me again, thanks so much.

You're so tiny!

Nope. This isn't a compliment. I appreciate (sort of, not really) you're presumably well-intentioned plan to engage me in conversation by once again discussing how you view my body, but this is also a no-no. Believe it or not, many pregnant women are worried that they're too small. Is the baby growing enough? Am I providing my fetus with enough nutrients? Life hack- whenever you think about commenting on a woman's body that you don't know, for no reason, just stop yourself.

Was it planned?

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Before I got pregnant I prepared myself for the comments on my body from strangers (hey, we're women, we're used to always getting unsolicited comments on our bodies), but this is one I was in no way prepared for. Shockingly, this is the comment I got almost every time someone discovered that I was pregnant. This is an insanely weird and invasive question. Even people that knew I had been married for a few years breezily tossed this query at me. Are you seriously asking me if I had unprotected sex with my husband on purpose? Are you? Are you? ARE YOU? Oh my god, you are.

I guess you won't be sleeping for the next year!

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Wait a second. Do newborns have unpredictable sleep patterns? News to me. Thank you for pointing out all the horrible things about having a baby and making sure I know about them. I will definitely plan on thinking a lot about how I won't be sleeping once my nugget arrives. I wasn't stressed out to begin with, so it's great you wanted to pile on.

You know, you really don't need to buy that. My niece's boyfriend's aunt has kids and she said _____ is totally unnecessary.

While you may think that sharing your second time parenting wisdom is helpful, it really isn't. We know lots of the stuff we buy isn't super necessary (diaper warmer, anyone?) but it helps us feel connected and proactive at a time when most women are feeling pretty vulnerable. Just let us buy whatever stupid crap we want, please.

I hope it's a boy/girl. They're so much better than girls/boys.

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Wonderful. Love knowing where you stand on the sexes. Also, super helpful since you have x-ray vision and can see what gender my child is. It's ok, there's only a 50% chance you just told me that my future child is basically garbage.

Oh, I hate that name. I once knew a Caviar Buttress and he was such an asshole.

Tell me more about all the people you know all the names you have ever come across. This is thrilling and very beneficial conversation. I will make sure to name my child a name that pleases you, because that's the most important thing here. There are so many names out there that are extremely original, completely inoffensive, easy to spell, and have no middle school bully connotations for you.

Are you going to eat your placenta?

Do I look like Kim Kardashian to you?

How many kids are you going to have?

Hold on, now. Can I just let this one exit the flesh waterslide before I start planning how many more will follow behind? Let a woman breathe.

Are you going to breastfeed?

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Ask me more questions about my nipples. This is great. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Either way you definitely don't need to know about it. Plus, everyone knows this is just a gateway question. You're really just deciding if you can judge me based on my answer. You can't.

Basically what this all boils down to is knowing your boundaries. If you want to ask a pregnant person a question, please for the love of God, as yourself these first: Do I have a right to know this? Is this creepy? Do I know this person intimately and therefore have a foundation for asking them intimate questions? If you had to pause on any of these just walk away. Nope. No response or rebuttal necessary. Just walk away. You can do it. It's hard, I know. No, no- no interrupting. Just. Walk. Away. There you go.

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