Author Topic: What TO say to a pregnant woman  (Read 8332 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Bijou

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13041
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #60 on: July 30, 2013, 03:16:37 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 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!"
Love your take on it, TootsNYC.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Oh Joy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1406
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #61 on: July 30, 2013, 03:17:50 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.

Interesting!  I noticed when reading your response that I didn't cringe one bit to your 'How far along are you?' question.  Maybe because it's open to a less-specific answer... I could say '18w2d,' or 'almost halfway!' depending on who was asking.  Funny...thanks for the accidental self-assessment exercise!  I fully acknowledge that I'm the goofy one here.

Now back to your regularly-scheduled thread...


Bluenomi

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3580
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #62 on: July 30, 2013, 08:07:17 PM »


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.


I've got twins on the way so the whole due date things is completely irrelevant because I'm not going to get anywhere near it. Telling someone I'm due late November it techically true but really they will arrive early November. So I just say November and leave it at that. If they want more details, they will only get them if they are someone I feel close enough to share with, otherwise they get a generic 'who knows, babies make up their own minds!'

Drunken Housewife

  • still coherent
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3372
    • my blog
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #63 on: July 30, 2013, 08:23:40 PM »
"How are you doing?"

"Can I get you something?" (in the sense of fetching a drink)

"Would you like to put your feet up?" (say, if the pregnant woman is in your home and might be too polite to  put her feet up on the furniture without encouragement)
................................................
http://www.drunkenhousewife.com
................................................

Gyburc

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1802
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #64 on: July 31, 2013, 06:07:41 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 ~~~~~  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?

Toots, I happened to be discussing this with DH last night, and we came to pretty much the same conclusion - we are both sure that MIL means to be friendly and welcoming, but unfortunately due to the background the wrong message is coming across...  I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that she does mean well and work out ways of responding kindly. It's only going to be more complicated once Gyburclet arrives!

(And it sounds as if you would be a lovely MIL!)
When you look into the photocopier, the photocopier also looks into you

ThistleBird

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #65 on: July 31, 2013, 08:07:07 AM »
Quote
Thistlebird, why are you explaining what another poster might have meant when Dotty herself hasn't questioned it?

In hopes that I might be able to clear up a misunderstanding. It has happened before and sometimes I choose to risk it.

Quote
I've got twins on the way so the whole due date things is completely irrelevant because I'm not going to get anywhere near it.

Oh, do twins generally come early? I didn't know that!

I agree about liking the "How far along are you?" question: I hadn't thought about it, but I've been happier with being asked that than "When is it due?" Like TootNYC said, it's focused on the pregnant woman's experience... and as a bonus it doesn't get into that business about how right or wrong the official date is.

Gyburc

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1802
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2013, 05:54:44 AM »
I just thought I'd add (on a less grumpy note) that I have had quite a few people, male and female, tell me I am 'blooming' in the last few weeks. I'm not sure that everyone would appreciate it, but I thought it was a really nice thing to say, and it brightened up my day each time.
 :)
When you look into the photocopier, the photocopier also looks into you

gen xer

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 560
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #67 on: August 02, 2013, 10:49:50 AM »
A little graciousness all around is all that is needed.  Pregnant ladies : most people are asking to be friendly and interested.  Even though I know it gets tedious to answer the same question 100 times a day and some people make gaffes and assumptions I think a little bit of grin and bear it is in order.

It's a bit of a shame that we have to overthink things and be sooooo careful and it ends up paralyzing :  OK if I don't ask they might think I don't care and I'm not showing the proper interest....but if I do ask it might be the wrong question and I'll upset them....what do I do???  Say something?  Don't say anything?

I have been massively pregnant too so I understand that some questions can be annoying ( my personal pet peeve were the women who always had to outdo each other with their dramatic pregnancy and labour stories - the ole I had it harder than you.  I was lucky my pregnancies were easy and normal with nothing out of the ordinary but it didn't make for interesting story telling! ) but chill, you don't have to endure rudeness but you don't have to be a hypersensitive pregzilla either.

Emmy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3810
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #68 on: August 02, 2013, 04:35:31 PM »
I was a pregnant woman up until two weeks ago, so this is fresh to me.

I didn't mind people (strangers or people I knew) asking about the baby, gender, due date, ect.  Some of my favorite things to hear were that I was a very fashionable pregnant woman, and that I carried well, looked good, had the pregnant glow, ect.  I also liked when people would ask how I was doing.

What I didn't like so much were comments or questions asking if I was going to try for a boy next time, how DD1's life was about to change (meaning a negative way that she won't get enough attention), asking my due date and telling me I look much further along or asking if it is twins.  I also hate somebody asks a question and then is critical about my answer or insists I answer a question that I really don't want to answer.

hobish

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18187
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #69 on: August 02, 2013, 05:00:22 PM »

Get back in the kitchen, fatty! You donít need no shoes!  

No? I donít know; I try to talk to a pregnant lady just like I would anyone else. I get more worried about what theyíre going to say to me! I know I am sensitive, but some of that talk can get pretty grody  :P

It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

Piratelvr1121

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11565
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #70 on: August 02, 2013, 05:39:54 PM »
relationships can make a huge difference. While a compliment on the color of dress might be appreciated, you might know bff is sick to death of maternoty clothes - in that case you don't say anything.

I didn't even get maternity clothes with this last go-round, just bought larger sized tops than I'd normally buy, or loose peasant-style tops.  But by the end of the pregnancy I was getting so sick of wearing those larger clothes and feeling like a blob. 

Actually for that reason I might suggest not saying "You don't look very big at all!" because she may not look big, but she'll feel like it.   My bff asked me for a picture that showed how big I got with my previous pregnancies.  Well I ended up picking a photo with a woman that had gotten quite large around the middle.  DH looked at it and said "You didn't get anywhere near that big!" and found a photo that was more realistic.  It was quite a testament to how big I felt compared to how big I really was.

I got really annoyed when I'd say I'm having a boy and people who knew I already have two would say "Oh I'm sorry..."  ::)

So as for what to say to a pregnant lady? "How bout dem O's, hon?"

*errr...on second thought, maybe that's not the best thing to ask*
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

cabbagegirl28

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1199
  • violinp's my sister :)
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #71 on: August 03, 2013, 02:11:29 PM »
Quote
I've got twins on the way so the whole due date things is completely irrelevant because I'm not going to get anywhere near it.

Oh, do twins generally come early? I didn't know that!

Most of the time, they do (or the doctor takes them out early because there's two babies instead of one, which can make it more crowded faster). However, sometimes, like with violinp and me, they come late. We were three days after our due date, which is apparently super rare for twins.


Vita brevis, ars longa

Livia

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #72 on: August 03, 2013, 07:20:25 PM »
Yeah. Definitely don't comment on how they look (although I supposed I wouldn't mind "you look great" or "you're glowing" although I would feel a bit embarrassed as I would for any compliment about my appearance). I was at the store the other day and a complete stranger told me "Child, you look like you're going to have that baby any day!" My response: "I hope not, I'm not due for more than three months." She looked taken aback, asked when I was due (November), and then made an exit. It made me feel huger than I probably am. I also don't want to hear about people's traumatic birth experiences (I'm trying to keep a positive mindset, and I already have a pretty good idea of what could go wrong considering part of my dissertation was about birth trauma). I don't want to hear about how I'm never going to get any sleep (already know this) and how my life is going to change for the worse (maybe in their opinion).

I don't mind answering questions about when I am due (although I have had people start doing the math about how far along I am in relationship to when hubbsy and I had our marriage ceremony....awkward), whether the baby is a boy or girl (although I'm sure this would get annoying if I was waiting to find out), and where I am registered/how the preparations are going (because usually they want to tell me about the cool gadget they got for their babies....I'm always open to advice about gear....the sheer volume of the choices are overwhelming). I try not to keep talking about the pregnancy or babies unless they seem genuinely interested as I know that probably most people are just being polite.

Anyway, that's my $.02 as someone who is 6 months along.


workerbee

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 346
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #73 on: August 05, 2013, 02:33:39 PM »
I've found that, much like parenting, people (well, women) generally have definite ideas about how they want their pregnancy and birth experience to go. And for the most part, nothing I say will impact that (not that it should!). So I avoid saying anything that could be perceived as advice-giving or "you should do this because I did" or DEFINITELY any horror stories. [I had great pregnancies and VERY difficult births, but you would never hear about it unless you directly asked me to describe the experience (which, unless we're close, you're probably not going to do). In fact, I generally avoid talking about it with any pregnant friend - even if asked; I'll tell them after they've given birth.]

It depends on the relationship, but my conversations with pregnant women pretty much go the same way any other conversations go -- polite exchanges of interest in each other's well-being, which will generally indicate whether she wants to talk about it. For example:

Me: How are you doing?
Her: Great! We're busy moving house and work is crazy.....blah blah
Me: Oh, where are you moving? etc.
OR
Me: How are you doing?
Her: Okay, I guess, I feel like a whale and my ankles are swollen and my back is killing me...blah blah
Me: Sorry to hear that! You look great, I'm sure it's hard though. Can I do anything to make you more comfortable? etc.

esposita

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 559
  • If you have the power to make someone happy, do it
Re: What TO say to a pregnant woman
« Reply #74 on: August 05, 2013, 04:38:41 PM »
I don't know if someone has mentioned this already, but my absolute favorite question when I'm pregnant is "Have you picked a name?" I LOVE talking about the process involved and what we chose and why its special. (Obviously eye rolling or silence after I tell you the name is a bit hurtful.) A quick convo about names and why we chose them is fun! Also, its not a question everyone asks, so its not like I've given the answer a million times.