After announcing your pregnancy, it often takes all of 2.75 seconds for people to start commenting on it—giving unsolicited advice, sharing gory labor stories, remarking on your appearance, etc.
Unsurprisingly, people are often careless and even downright rude to pregnant women. For many reasons, our pregnancies can open the floodgates of crudeness.
If you’ve discovered yourself saying, “Oh my gosh, did they seriously just say that?” a little too frequently, we totally get it.
Here’s a round-up of how to deal with some of the most common and rude pregnancy comments.
Firstly, let’s back up and explore why comments can be so impacting.
Words can cut deep, sinking into the depths of your soul and hanging out there to eat away at you. The things people say to you have a way of bubbling up deeply rooted insecurities.
When you’re pregnant, words can be even more impacting. Mostly, because the physicalities of your entire being are constantly in flux. Your hormones and the chemicals in your body change a lot, creating what seems like a different headspace for you.
Basically, comments can bother you a lot! You may feel insecure about your new pregnant body. Or, nervous about being a parent for the first time (or seventh).
Furthermore, unwarranted comments can make you feel like you’re not in control of your own life. It may feel as if everyone else is trying to run your life. As you can imagine, this is a bad feeling.
Thankfully, the council about how to deal with comments to you during pregnancy has changed.
No longer do you have to listen to every bit of unsolicited advice. Furthermore, you don’t have to just passively laugh it off or pretend like the comment didn’t both you.
Assertiveness is the way to go.
Not sure how to make this happen? We’ve got some tips.
How to Kindly Silence the Horror Stories
Keep in mind, people mostly comment because they either love you or want some type of personal validation for themselves. Whatever the case may be, ultimately it’s your choice to listen and absorb the unsolicited advice.
With that being said, the #1 comments that we pregnant women DO NOT want to hear are about horror stories.
Usually, these horror stories are about labor. And, they are truly horrifying. Despite the storyteller having your best interest in mind (hopefully), negative stories about labor aren’t encouraging. Rather, they’re disheartening.
Here’s the thing about labor, positive stories are empowering. Think about the stories featured in the bestseller, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Surrounding themselves with positivity, these women managed even the most unique laboring challenges.
There’s a huge difference in telling a story about overcoming challenge versus telling a horror story.
And the horror stories extend past labor. Horror stories cover swelling, cheating partners, acid reflux, morning sickness, etc.
Be assertive and politely tell them that you’d rather not hear the story at that time. You’re already nervous about stuff (or don’t give them a reason at all) and you want to stay focused on the positive.
Pregnant women have become targets for comments about appearance.
For example, consider these familiar phrases:
- “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”
- “You’d better put some meat on your bones or you’ll starve your baby.”
- “Wow, you’re about to pop!”
- “You don’t even look pregnant.”
- “Good luck getting rid of that baby weight!”
Every mom-to-be likely has a running list of rude comments such as these. Yet, it can be difficult knowing how to handle them.
On one hand, the comment may carry a shred of truth. On the other hand, your body is really not their business.
Want to know how to handle these rude comments?
Look at them with a shocked expression and don’t say anything. Let your silence and your facial expression do the talking.
It will be fun—promise.
Plus, it’s a way to let their words reflect back onto them, hopefully encouraging more politeness and finesse in the future.
How to Derail Fertility Treatment Questions
How you became pregnant is very personal.
Whether you conceived through in vitro fertilization or you made your baby on the back of a Harley Davidson, it’s nobody’s business but yours (and your partner’s).
Questions about fertility are especially popular for moms of multiples and older moms. People often assume that you must have used fertility treatments to have multiples. Or, that since you’re older, you underwent treatment to conceive.
If you believe these sorts of questions are rude, you’re right. A question about fertility treatment is basically the same as asking about your sex life. And that’s off-limits, plain and simple.
If you should experience “interrogations” of this nature, be straightforward. Tell them it’s a really personal question and end it before they get carried away.
How to Shut Down the Diet “Know-it-alls”
Pregnancy diets are hot topics. As it goes, nearly everyone has an opinion about what a mom-to-be should eat.
Expecting mothers have been scolded in public by strangers for eating hamburgers, questioned for items in their shopping cart, and even lectured for reading a certain item’s nutrition label. In short, people are incredibly opinionated about this subject!
Here’s the thing about your diet (or anything else in life), you’re never going to please everyone.
Ultimately, the food you choose to eat is up to you and your healthcare provider.
And, that’s exactly what you can tell people who comment on your diet. Reassure them that you’ve already reviewed your diet with a professional and you’re making the right choices for you.
Sometimes, simply name-dropping your OB/GYN can encourage a lovely hush from opinionated people.
Plus, your assertiveness will hopefully clue them in that you’re not exactly asking for their two cents on the matter.
Tips to Deal with Random Unwanted Advice
Keep in mind, unsolicited advice comes in all forms and regarding all sorts of pregnancy-related topics. Naturally, the smartest way to deal with this barrage of comments comes in all forms, too.
Sometimes it’s best to focus on their attempts to express concern, such as these quick comebacks:
- “Thanks, I’ll consider that bit of advice.”
- “I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me.”
- “I’m grateful that you care, thanks for the tips!”
- “Wow, that is some advice. Thanks!” (Use only if you’re into sarcasm, of course.)
Avoid getting into a debate with either a stranger or a loved one. Most of the time, it’s simply not worth your energy.
Nurture yourself through self-care—paying attention to your mind, body, emotions, spirit, and relationships. Doing so will give you the self-confidence to handle with rude, cruel, or simply unwanted comments.
Work with your healthcare provider and partner (or good friend) to take care of you and your baby the best way possible. That way, no matter what anyone says, you can still be self-assured about every decision you make.