Author Topic: What TO say to a pregnant woman  (Read 8027 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #45 on: July 30, 2013, 09:22:11 AM »
On the other hand, my MIL keeps pestering me to go and buy baby clothes with her. This would be lovely (and she is honestly a nice person) but it's pretty obvious that she wants to spend time with me because I am carrying her grandson, not because she actually wants my company.

Hmmm. This has given me some interesting thoughts.

i know that my relationship with my MIL intensified, got closer and more collegial, more like peers, once I started up with the babies/kids.

It was one more tie for us, and one more thing to have in common.

I can see myself thinking of my DD's or especially my DIL's pregnancy as the beginning of something more--that now, both of us, we will be caring for (emotionally "having loving feelings for for" and logistically "taking care of") a new family member. And so this would be a time for us to have more connection, especially more connection related to this new family member.

My role would of course be much smaller (baby-clothes size, not crib or college-fund size), but I would want to start creating some sense of togetherness here.

My role would also be to support and encourage her, and so I can see that going shopping for baby clothes together could be a way to help her with some minor logistics and to have a time for me to say, "ooh, so exciting for you, and here's a treat related to your big event!"


Twik

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2013, 09:23:19 AM »
On the other hand, my MIL keeps pestering me to go and buy baby clothes with her. This would be lovely (and she is honestly a nice person) but it's pretty obvious that she wants to spend time with me because I am carrying her grandson, not because she actually wants my company.

I think you're overthinking this a little.
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lowspark

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2013, 09:24:42 AM »
And, as an added layer to my original question, are there things that someone that knows you can say/ask (a friend or someone like that) that is different than what a stranger can say/ask?

For instance, the example I gave above about the pretty colored dress might be something some of you would be ok with even non-pregnant from a friend but not from a stranger.  Or maybe not.

Does the relationship matter as to what's polite?  Maybe that could be separated into several categories - close family, extended family, friends, acquantainces, strangers,....


 
(These are just questions in order for me (and maybe others) to learn here.)

Oh yes. The relationship definitely matters.
My best friend had her first a few months before I got pregnant with my first. We talked about ALL the gory details, throughout my pregnancy and after the birth as well. And did the same when she was pregnant with her second and again with I was pregnant with my second. We were (and still are) BFFs so we knew what we could talk about (anything) and enjoyed doing it.

Any attempt at even a remotely similar conversation by 99% of other people would have been incredibly rude and intrusive.

Another example, my mother and I were very close so she could pretty much say anything to me and vice versa. We didn't do the "gory details" as much as BFF & I but it was pretty much alright for my mother to ask me anything or suggest anything, etc. Again, though, she and I had that relationship established and knew that was ok.


TootsNYC

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #48 on: July 30, 2013, 09:27:34 AM »
For myself personally? The question that I would have liked to be asked the most? "So, I know it's a huge thing, but are you sick of talking about your pregnancy yet?" Because honestly, the answer would have been "heck yes! how is your life going?". Especially the second time around. It's just exhausting to answer the same questions over and over again.

See, I think that might kind of hurt my feelings a bit.

That's why this is so subjective. What's hurtful to one person is fine to another. Pretty much like any other situation - even outside the pregnancy issue.

But the thing is, this is a *question*.
And so if the pregnant woman says, "Oh, no, not really," then I can say, "Tell me everything! When are you due? Are you comfortable? Do you have any funny baby stories yet? How's the nursery set-up coming along? What's the stupidest thing anybody's said to you? Are you going to find out the baby's sex? Do you have very many baby supplies yet?"

I have sometimes said to people I know (like, at work or church, or even cousins), "Hey, if you have any breastfeeding questions, I have a short list of things I learned that helped me, so if you want, I can tell you them. But you have to ask."

I always give new moms a nursing pillow that's as close to the one I used as I can find. And I give them a note that explains why this pillow design was so helpful to me. And I also wrote up that list of things I learned about breastfeeding (which comes w/ an intro paragraph that says, "it's diff. for everybody, and maybe this won't be useful for you, but just in case, here it is...") and I put a printout of that in there too. So I get my chance to be a know-it-all and give advice, but it's not so terribly pushy.

Gyburc

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #49 on: July 30, 2013, 11:33:00 AM »
On the other hand, my MIL keeps pestering me to go and buy baby clothes with her. This would be lovely (and she is honestly a nice person) but it's pretty obvious that she wants to spend time with me because I am carrying her grandson, not because she actually wants my company.

I think you're overthinking this a little.

Well, maybe. I'm sure she doesn't mean badly, but we've never had the kind of relationship where we meet up for coffee or go shopping, and she has been after DH and me to have children for years. It's entirely possible that I am just getting grouchy, though!
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Gyburc

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #50 on: July 30, 2013, 11:34:49 AM »
On the other hand, my MIL keeps pestering me to go and buy baby clothes with her. This would be lovely (and she is honestly a nice person) but it's pretty obvious that she wants to spend time with me because I am carrying her grandson, not because she actually wants my company.

Hmmm. This has given me some interesting thoughts.

i know that my relationship with my MIL intensified, got closer and more collegial, more like peers, once I started up with the babies/kids.

It was one more tie for us, and one more thing to have in common.

I can see myself thinking of my DD's or especially my DIL's pregnancy as the beginning of something more--that now, both of us, we will be caring for (emotionally "having loving feelings for for" and logistically "taking care of") a new family member. And so this would be a time for us to have more connection, especially more connection related to this new family member.

My role would of course be much smaller (baby-clothes size, not crib or college-fund size), but I would want to start creating some sense of togetherness here.

My role would also be to support and encourage her, and so I can see that going shopping for baby clothes together could be a way to help her with some minor logistics and to have a time for me to say, "ooh, so exciting for you, and here's a treat related to your big event!"

You might be right - as I said in my reply to Twik, it's possible I'm just feeling a bit grumpy.  :)
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cwm

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #51 on: July 30, 2013, 01:13:04 PM »
The only thing that's universal that I'll say to a pregnant woman after she announces the pregnancy is "Congratulations! When are you due?"

I know some people who didn't want ANY information shared, which was fine. I've known some people who take offense where none is meant, and I'm careful not to discuss anything around them that could be misconstrued. Then again, I've also known people who will share all the gory details with anyone who will listen.

I'll follow a line of conversation, and if MTB is excited and talking about the new baby, then I'll match their enthusiasm and keep up the discussion, but if they let it drop, I'll let it drop and move on to something else to talk about.

DottyG

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #52 on: July 30, 2013, 01:46:06 PM »
For myself personally? The question that I would have liked to be asked the most? "So, I know it's a huge thing, but are you sick of talking about your pregnancy yet?" Because honestly, the answer would have been "heck yes! how is your life going?". Especially the second time around. It's just exhausting to answer the same questions over and over again.

See, I think that might kind of hurt my feelings a bit.

That's why this is so subjective. What's hurtful to one person is fine to another. Pretty much like any other situation - even outside the pregnancy issue.

But the thing is, this is a *question*.
And so if the pregnant woman says, "Oh, no, not really," then I can say, "Tell me everything! When are you due? Are you comfortable? Do you have any funny baby stories yet? How's the nursery set-up coming along? What's the stupidest thing anybody's said to you? Are you going to find out the baby's sex? Do you have very many baby supplies yet?"

Good point.  Maybe it's the way that question was worded in that post that kind of made me feel that way.  I can see how the question might not be a bad one.  But something about the phrasing kind of didn't work for me.  The tone it seemed to sound like in my mind, maybe?  Not sure why.

 

Oh Joy

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2013, 01:51:26 PM »
The only thing that's universal that I'll say to a pregnant woman after she announces the pregnancy is "Congratulations! When are you due?"

I know some people who didn't want ANY information shared, which was fine. I've known some people who take offense where none is meant, and I'm careful not to discuss anything around them that could be misconstrued. Then again, I've also known people who will share all the gory details with anyone who will listen.

I'll follow a line of conversation, and if MTB is excited and talking about the new baby, then I'll match their enthusiasm and keep up the discussion, but if they let it drop, I'll let it drop and move on to something else to talk about.

I think it's kind of a can't-win situation.  I totally appreciate any question that's asked with sincere intentions and would never take it out on the asker, buuuuuuut...

I hated being asked about my due date, and actually declined to share it with my second.  I know it's a commonly-accepted question (and therefore my problem), but it irrationally got my goat every time.  Never mind that it just anchors a range rather than nailing down the ideal date, but the response to an actual date was inevitably 'Oh?  The 11th?  My sister's college roommate's mother-in-law's first boss was born on the 12th.  You should have it then!'  Drove me up. the. wall. behind my polite smile.

And it's strange, because I don't usually get worked up about little things like that.   ;)

Just a little perspective for those who are surprised to not get the expected kind of response to even a 'safe' question like that.

ThistleBird

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #54 on: July 30, 2013, 02:00:37 PM »
DottyG, perhaps CuriousCat misunderstood what you said, thinking you meant "what you said hurts my feelings" rather than "if I were pregnant and someone said that to me, I think it would hurt my feelings." That's the only way what she said makes sense to me, so I wonder if that's what happened.

Also: darn, my original post didn't go through when this thread first appeared! I am currently pregnant and what I wanted to say was this: one of the most frequent questions I get, which I think is a great question, is "How have you been feeling?" Just that simple. Or "How are you doing?" but I can tell people mean physically with the pregnancy and I'm cool with them meaning that & will tell them. It's a question that is about me & my experience, and an invitation to gripe a little if I feel the need, "Well, not too bad but it's certainly getting harder to find a good position to sleep in at night," etc. That's a nice kind of question to be asked.

I also second the thing from earlier in the thread: "You look great!"--as long as it's really true. Many pregnant women do look great at many stages, especially if they are healthy, and it's great to combat the very stupid "looking pregnant = looking fat = looking bad" dynamic that seems to pop up a lot in our culture. If she looks sick, maybe revert to the "How are you feeling?"

Asking when I'm due is also OK with me, but I will say that insisting to know the precise date annoys me a little. I say "mid-October" for a reason--two reasons actually--one, because due dates are calculated in a fairly arbitrary way (which incidentally assumes that all women's cycles are the same length, totally untrue) and very few women give birth on their actual date, and two, because by my calculations the due date my doctor assigned me is at least a week off. I'm not going to quibble about what the "actual" due date is, but I'm just not going to set that much store by October 12th, and when other people act like that is the important thing to know... it's not a terrible thing to do or anything, but it's annoying.

P.S. Just saw your post before posting, Oh Joy--oh man I know what you mean!

TootsNYC

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #55 on: July 30, 2013, 02:30:43 PM »
On the other hand, my MIL keeps pestering me to go and buy baby clothes with her. This would be lovely (and she is honestly a nice person) but it's pretty obvious that she wants to spend time with me because I am carrying her grandson, not because she actually wants my company.

Hmmm. This has given me some interesting thoughts.

i know that my relationship with my MIL intensified, got closer and more collegial, more like peers, once I started up with the babies/kids.

It was one more tie for us, and one more thing to have in common.

I can see myself thinking ~~~~~  logistics and to have a time for me to say, "ooh, so exciting for you, and here's a treat related to your big event!"

You might be right - as I said in my reply to Twik, it's possible I'm just feeling a bit grumpy.  :)

And, you have info on your relationship that we don't, of course.

But I thank you for bringing that "grumpiness" up--bcs it's given me something to think about and may well influence *how* I build that new, different relationship. It would be important not to inadvertently send the message "you're only interesting now because you're carrying *my* grandchild."

Bcs, like, how hurtful, right?

Kiwichick

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #56 on: July 30, 2013, 02:34:18 PM »
Thistlebird, why are you explaining what another poster might have meant when Dotty herself hasn't questioned it?

OP I agree with those who said to just say what you'd say to anybody - pregnant woman don't need special conversations.  Just follow her lead, if she seems open to talking about her pregnancy, talk about it in addition to your usual conversation, if she doesn't, then don't.

TootsNYC

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2013, 02:37:11 PM »
I think it's kind of a can't-win situation.  I totally appreciate any question that's asked with sincere intentions and would never take it out on the asker, buuuuuuut...

I hated being asked about my due date, and actually declined to share it with my second.  I know it's a commonly-accepted question (and therefore my problem), but it irrationally got my goat every time.  Never mind that it just anchors a range rather than nailing down the ideal date, but the response to an actual date was inevitably 'Oh?  The 11th?  My sister's college roommate's mother-in-law's first boss was born on the 12th.  You should have it then!'  Drove me up. the. wall. behind my polite smile.

And it's strange, because I don't usually get worked up about little things like that.   ;)

Just a little perspective for those who are surprised to not get the expected kind of response to even a 'safe' question like that.

Isn't it funny what little quirks we have, in terms of what bugs us or not?

I like to think that any followup questions to the "I'm pregnant" announcement focus on the woman, and her experience ("how far along are you?" "How are you feeling?") and less on the kid, since the kid isn't close to manifesting. I do usually act excited about the baby, but I tend to focus on the process, the friend/coworker/familymember's internal mental/emotional/philosophical state.

(and I personally *do* mean "how are you doing in any arena or way or level of detail that *you* feel like sharing, that is on your mind right now?" So if they want to talk about the emotional aspect w/ me, the door is open. If they're focused on the physical aspect, well, this covers that too. I personally *never* mean just physically when I ask that.)

And if they're not a friend/coworker/family, I don't ask much.

Bijou

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2013, 03:06:32 PM »
I think it depends on the situation.  First of all, whether or not they open the door for such conversation, and if they do, it depends on how well you know them.  I just opt for not saying anything to anyone because the details of their pregnancy is none of my business. 
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Bijou

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Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2013, 03:13:33 PM »
I've always found "Would you like a foot-rub?" goes over very well.
I know you're kidding, but that would send me running for the hills...OK, maybe not running, but loping, or something akin to it (voice of experience, here, after six pregnancies).
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