No matter if you’re the friend, husband, partner, colleague, sister, second cousin twice removed, or niece of a pregnant woman, here are five things you should never, ever, ever say within a 500-foot radius of a pregnant woman. At least, not if you value your life.
1. I’m hungry. Hungry? You have no idea what hunger is until you’ve been pregnant. And it’s the weirdest, most annoying kind of hunger—one minute you’re sick to your stomach puking (or about to puke or feeling like you could puke) and then the next minute—regardless of if you just emptied the contents of your stomach or not—you feel like a bottomless pit who could put down five cheeseburgers and still not be satisfied.
And then four minutes later, you’re about to retch again. And then you want a French dip sandwich, cranberry sauce, and a pickle because that’s-what-sounds-good-right-now. Let’s be honest: the odd hunger / emptiness of pregnancy is truly delightful.
2. I’m tired. Tired? You don’t know tired until you’ve grown a human being or two from the size of a pin head to an eight pound watermelon over the course of nine months. While your body nourished the baby—doing its business—your energy is progressively zapped. Even with a couple spurts of feeling “less tired” midway through the second trimester or so, you’re pretty much in a constant state of exhaustion all nine months.
I tried to combat nature’s way and told myself that working out during my pregnancies would help me feel “less tired.” Well, you know what? Yeah, it’s good for mama and good for baby… but I was still exhausted. I sure was strong and fit, though!
3. I feel fat. You feel fat?! Try gaining 25-45 pounds over a nine month period where you’re alternating between puking your guts out and shoveling it in like there’s no tomorrow. Not even taking into account the societal pressures of getting your “body back” after baby, there are physical changes you can’t avoid: like your aching chest growing two sizes overnight, stretch marks fanning across your body in every direction, intense back/hip/neck pain as your body strains to carry more and more weight… not to mention a bowling ball sized-belly that just keeps growing until you can’t see your toes which are now so puffy you wouldn’t recognize them (or your cankles) anyway.
Telling us you “feel fat” will not invoke sympathy pains or make us feel any better about our (however temporary) “beached whale” status.
4. I’m SO moody lately. Moody?! Moody is the understatement of the century! You might think you know “moody” from PMS, but there is nothing like pregnancy hormones. The worst part is, it’s completely out of our control for nine months before baby, and then a couple months post-partum, too… not “five to seven days.” (Catch that “My Girl” reference?!)
We can’t tell our partners why yesterday we liked when you stroked our hair but today it’s making our skin crawl. We can’t tell you why last night chocolate ice cream with the girls was the cat’s meow and tonight a different friend offering it makes us want to yak. We can’t tell you why our coworker leaving milk in the fridge a day past expiration set us off or why we are crying at the latest Nike commercial. It doesn’t matter because we are not in control of our emotions.
5. Sleep now, you’ll never sleep again. This one always irked me for two reasons. First, in spite of the sheer exhaustion pregnancy brings, it can also bring on chronic insomnia for many women… which can last for weeks, months, or even the whole pregnancy (I was in the latter category, lucky me!). So while you might be able to nap on the couch after work (which worked fine when I was pregnant with Baby #1 and didn’t work so well when I had a toddler to tend to with Baby #2) or find yourself falling asleep before your favorite Netflix show begins streaming… most likely, you’re not getting a ton of sleep now, anyway—so there’s no reason to tell us to “sleep now.”
And second, while some babies present more sleep challenges than others, our experience with two kids was that really only the first few months were full of truly sleep-deprived, zombie-like nights. Sure there have been sporadic wake-ups due to teething, potty-training, and sickness, but for the most part, our kids (5 and 2) have been rock-star sleepers. So don’t let “them” tell you you’ll never sleep again. “They” might not have gotten back their zzz’s, but it doesn’t mean you will be destined to a lifetime of sleepless nights, too. Find a sleep solution that works for you and your family.
Moral of the story? If you’re about to kvetch in front of a pregnant woman… don’t. Unless you’re prepared to face her hormonal wrath. Just love her, honor her, encourage her, and stand by her as she navigates this life-changing experience.
How about you? What would you add to this list of things NOT to say to a pregnant woman?