Annoying Questions and Comments I Got During Pregnancy

by Karina

And some nice things people told me.

I can’t think of a time or experience in a woman’s life that’s more personal than pregnancy. Yet, the moment you announce you’re going to have a baby, it stops being YOUR pregnancy and becomes EVERYONE’S pregnancy instead. That is the part nobody tells you about, or at least nobody told me. From the moment we announced we’re going to have a baby, we were overwhelmed with endless opinions, unsolicited advice, pregnancy comments, and so on.

Here are some of the rudest comments and questions I got during pregnancy, and you might have too:

1. Unsolicited advice from decades ago

“When I was pregnant…” – I think I’ve heard it dozens of times by now. Somehow every time I mention something pregnancy-related to certain people, the conversation immediately shifts, and it stops being about me, but about their pregnancy, which sometimes was even 20 or 30 years ago.

Some go on and start giving “advice” and telling their story like it’s a universal truth, and if it happened or didn’t happen to them, it will undoubtedly be the same in my case. I always find it funny, because I feel like pregnancy is such a unique journey, and even the same woman can have a completely different experience during each of her pregnancies, not to mention the pregnancies of two different people.

2. Comments about physical appearance

I happened to find these types of observations among the most irritating, and I didn’t even gain weight throughout my pregnancy. I lost a few pounds in the first trimester, gained them back in the second trimester, and that was it, as I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and stopped gaining weight. So, now at 33 weeks pregnant, I look pretty much the same as before pregnancy, only I have a baby bump.      

Being pregnant during a pandemic meant I only saw friends and family on video calls. When seeing me, some were amused, saying things like “haha, you’re getting so round,” or “wow, how much are you planning on still growing?”. If I told them I still fit my pre-pregnancy clothes, then they would be like, “you should’ve gained more weight by now.”

Then there are questions about weight. Every time someone asks me, I think of asking them back. What about you, Jane, how much weight did you gain during the pandemic? Would they find it offensive? Most certainly. Why is it not OK to ask people about weight gain in general, but it is acceptable to ask pregnant women?

I also heard many comments about my belly – too big, too small, too round, not round enough. Unlike weight, that you might be able to control, you can’t influence the shape of your belly or how much it will grow throughout pregnancy, so I can’t wrap my head around these remarks.

3. The gender questions

I have mixed feelings about this one. It often comes naturally, after you congratulate someone for being pregnant, to ask them if it’s a boy or a girl. Most people ask out of curiosity, and it’s not like, depending on the answer, they would have a different reaction.

What I found difficult to digest, however, was people asking me what it is when I was barely showing, and we didn’t know ourselves yet. And then, when I told them I didn’t know, they started assuming, “oh, I’m sure it’s a girl,” or “I bet you’re going to have a boy.” 

4. Everyone’s a parent now

Then, there are the people that don’t have children, but they have a sister, a friend, or a coworker that’s had a baby recently, or maybe they read about someone’s pregnancy on the internet, and they now have advice and opinions to share.

They’re so sure they know everything about pregnancy, especially about body changes and symptoms, and they will tell you when nausea will go away or how you should be feeling. 

5. Advice about how to raise our child

“Don’t hug or hold your baby too much or you’ll spoil them,” “If you check up on them the second they start crying, they’ll start manipulating you.” You see where I’m going with this. While I found it reassuring that not one person under the age of 40 has given us such advice, it’s troubling to see close family have such strong and outdated misconceptions about a child’s education.

Plus, I never asked for any advice. Again, deciding on what kind of education you want to give your child is something very personal, in my opinion. We’ve done our research, discussed things through between the two of us, and most importantly, we’ve both agreed on how we want to raise our kid.

6. Saying goodbye to life as we know it

The same people who were pressuring us to have kids are now the ones saying we should kiss our lives goodbye once the baby is born. Isn’t that ironic?

Yes, life won’t be the same. But that’s not a bad thing. Our life will involve less sleep, but a full heart, more worries, but also tremendous joy and happiness.

7. Wishing us a good and quiet kid

Those that feel the need to warn you that parenthood is the end of life continue by saying, “well, maybe you get lucky and have a quiet kid.”

First of all, I don’t want a quiet kid, I want a healthy kid that will be curious, that will love to explore, and that will experience all emotions and learn how to cope with them.

Secondly, we waited until we were over 30 for a reason – because we wanted to do this when we both felt ready and excited, and mature enough to know what raising a baby entails, and be able to say “yes, we know it’s not going to be easy, but we can’t wait for the baby to be here either way.”

8. Diet comments

I eat dairy and fish, but I don’t eat meat. That’s led to many controversies, comments, and questions before I got pregnant, but now it only got worse. My answer has always been that it’s something I’ve discussed with my doctor, and she advised me what to eat to offer my baby all the nutrients needed to grow and be healthy. Yet, some people are under the impression that nutrition is something everyone’s qualified at, and they don’t fend off from offering unsolicited advice.

Most of the time, they’re also the ones who believe you should be eating for two, and being overweight equals a healthy pregnancy. That’s another misconception I’ve heard even from the end of the first trimester.

9. You shouldn’t be selfish anymore

I always knew, when I’d get pregnant, I’d be the most responsible person, and think every decision through, as it wouldn’t be just about me anymore. Imagine my disappointment when I had family members telling me I shouldn’t be selfish anymore, because another life depends on me now.

It was ironic, in one of the cases, the same person was asking me if I want a glass of wine five minutes later.

10. Comments about my husband going on paternity leave

With me working from home and both of us eager to be as involved as possible in raising our baby girl, we decided the best choice for us would be for me to continue to work from home, but probably less in the beginning, and for my husband to go on paternity leave, so we can both be home with the baby and be actively involved in her upbringing.

I’m so happy and grateful that we have this possibility, and can’t wait for the months to come. Yet, I’ve had people tell me that it doesn’t take two to change a diaper or that a baby doesn’t do much until the age of three, so why should there be two people taking care of her?

I find it so sad that there are still people who don’t realize the importance each parent has, or that it’s the first three years in a person’s life that are the most important for their development.

I never felt that because I am the mother, my role is more important compared to my husband’s, or that as a woman, it’s my responsibility to change diapers, offer her an education, or handle all house chores.

Our baby girl is not more mine than it is his. It’s our child, and just like the mother, the father plays an equally significant role in a child’s life. Men might not be able to give birth or breastfeed, but raising a child is much more than that.

What to do about it:

Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. For so long, I thought I was the only one who’s ever been told some of these rude things, or that I was overreacting, and I had my hormones to blame.

But then I realized that as long as it made me feel bad, it mattered. Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster, and whatever I was feeling, my baby was feeling too. 

On the other hand, I realized I wasn’t the only one. Pregnant women from all over the world hear the same offensive comments, and it’s been going on for ages.

So what’s the best way to react? There’s no recipe, but depending on your coping mechanisms, here are some of the best things you could do. 

Have a game plan ready.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll likely get caught off guard by these comments. In my mind, if it’s something you wouldn’t say to a person that wasn’t pregnant, why would you say it to a pregnant one? That’s why I’m usually left speechless, with no response on my part, but a lot of frustration building inside. 

So, maybe next time, try to have an answer ready. You know when you see your aunt, she’s going to comment on your weight. Have a comeback ready. It can be something funny, ironic, direct – whatever your style is. You don’t have to start a fight, but no reaction will lead to the repeat of the situation. 

Set clear and healthy boundaries.

Millions of women not saying anything about it makes it all seem ok – you don’t have to be a confrontational person or respond to rudeness with rudeness, but set boundaries. It is especially important if these nasty comments come from someone in your family or close group of friends, as it’s someone you’ll see a lot of throughout your pregnancy and afterward.

You can take the time to calm down, and next time you see the person or they say something inappropriate politely let them know it bothers you, and you don’t feel comfortable continuing the conversation. 

Find your support system.

Surround yourself with people that you can be yourself around, or talk to when someone else says something that bothers you. Don’t let the nasty things people say build up into frustration and anger. Sometimes, having some to talk to or vent to can make all the difference. 

Nice things people have said

While the negative stuff people say tends to linger for a while on our minds, there are kind things people have said to us throughout my pregnancy too.

Some said I look fabulous pregnant or that the baby bump looks good on me, and I should consider having more babies in the future. But some of my favorite things people have said were that we’re going to be amazing parents and that our baby will be so lucky to have us as parents.

And the best part about it – each of these things was said so genuinely and with such kindness and honest joy, that it meant even more hearing it.

Pregnancy has been a magnet for unsolicited advice and comments for so long, but that doesn’t mean we have to consider it the norm and accept it. What we should do instead is stop blaming ourselves for overreacting, and support and lift each other more. 

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