Monday, July 9, 2012

Yes, She's Pregnant

Now that Mrs. Dude is two-thirds of the way through her second pregnancy, I’ve become much more cognizant of people’s behavior toward her this time than during her first pregnancy. And when I say “people”, I mean rude strangers we randomly encounter that we’ll never see again.

Last weekend was our 5th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a rare night out for just the two of us, as we left the Little Dude with a saintly friend for a few hours of peace and quiet  adult time. I made a conscious choice for us to go to a grown-up restaurant (i.e. no menus with pictures & no crayons anywhere on the premises), hoping that we could enjoy a low key dinner with no interruptions. I should have picked another restaurant.

Don’t get me wrong, the food was great. But I could tell early on that the waiter was going to make this a long night. When he noticed that Mrs. Dude was pregnant he asked the obligatory “When are you due?”. That’s a polite question and she answered it accordingly. To me, that should have been the end of the conversation on the subject. But then he kept asking more increasingly personal questions, and at one point even shared an anecdote about his father’s reaction when he himself was pulled from his mother’s womb. Not wanting my ribeye to be covered in a shallot and saliva sauce, we played along. Begrudgingly. 

After playing Wingman during 1.67 pregnancies, I’ve determined that there’s a hierarchy of inappropriate questions that strangers feel are appropriate to ask a pregnant woman. I don’t know why they feel the inquisition is necessary, since beyond the 90 seconds we are behind them in line at Trader Joes, I wouldn’t recognize them again if I was locked in a Smart Car with them.  So in order from least to most offensive, here are my:

Top 6 Inappropriate Questions Strangers Ask Pregnant Women

1)      When are you due?  It’s a fair question and its answer should be the end of the discussion. If I tell you October 64th and you tell me that is your great-grandmother’s birthday, am I supposed to care?  How would you like me to respond, “Great, we should have a joint birthday party!”?   

2)      Do you know what you are having?  Many years ago, I heard a pregnant woman answer this question with “yes, a baby”. At the time, I thought that was obnoxious and still kind of do, but so is the questioning that pregnant women incessantly receive. Boy or girl, if I don’t know you, what’s the difference? We didn’t find out the gender in advance when Mrs. Dude was pregnant with the Little Dude. If we made a decision not to find out from the doctor, why do you think I want your opinion, Gas Station Attendant?

3)      Do you have a name picked out?  We always answer “no” to this question because in all honesty we don’t. Some people like to Tweet that they are having a baby named Jemima Alkaline Smith while still holding the wet pregnancy test in their hand. That’s not our style. The problem with this question is that strangers, who know nothing about me, start offering suggestions: “Oh, well Banana is nice!” or “What about Pepcid?”. Guess what, if you don’t know my name, do you really think I’m going to let you name my kid? Maybe if you pulled me out of a burning building you’d earn some say in the matter, but I’d probably at least ask your name then.

4)      Can I touch your belly?  Yours isn’t that much smaller, go rub that instead.  


5)      Are you having twins?  If you ask a woman this question and she isn’t wearing a shirt that says “Future Mother of Twins”, expect something heavy to be thrown at your head. Personally, I would never ask a stranger if she was even pregnant unless her water broke on my foot while she was standing next to me at the hospital.  But some people feel entitled to more or less call a random pregnant woman extra-fat. Thanks a lot, stranger, that’s going to work out well for the hormonally stressed among us.

6)      Are you having a Natural Delivery?  Again, people don’t think about how personal of a question this really is. Do you really need to know if my wife is planning on squeezing 8 pounds of flesh through her private parts? Better question: did you ever wonder why they are called “private parts”? Spoiler alert: it’s because those organs are not a subject most sane people ask random strangers about.

If you are someone I care about, you probably know the answers to many of these questions, but if not, I have no problem with you asking the first three. If you are a waiter named Beelzebub and are endlessly trying to sell us on the merits of giving our unborn your ridiculous name, please do me a favor. Please get me my iced tea already, and mind your own business. 

What inappropriate questions were you asked during pregnancy? 


read to be read at yeahwrite.me

48 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness...great list! I agree with every bit of it. During my first two pregnancies I worked in a call center...with a million "women" with zero social graces. I was felt up, asked about my cervix, hounded for names/gender/size before the 3rd trimester, and even told by one individual that a mere glance at me made her "hurt". I wanted to kill people. Everyday.

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    1. Thanks, BlissDis! That sounds brutal. People have no tact.
      What did they ask about your cervix?

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  2. I will never ever ever ever even HINT that a woman is pregnant unless I see a foot or tiny hand protrude from her body. Been burned BAD by that. Great list, I agree, as far as I am concerned, if I don't persnally TELL YOU that I am pregnant then don't ask me any personal questions about my pregnancy.
    Also, congratulations!
    Devan

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    1. Exactly. No reason to guess on that subject.
      Thanks, Devan!

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  3. Oh good lord, things people say...

    http://becomingsupermommy.blogspot.com/2012/01/top-ten-pregnancy-offenses.html

    There's my list of worst offenders.

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    1. Nice, looking forward to checking out your list. thanks!

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  4. It is tricky these days, so it seems. Is it really any different then back in the day. If we wouldn't have asked it 100 years ago should we ask it now? I really don't even ask if someone is pregnant until they announce it. I also really do not talk to strangers about their pregnancy either. Even though it seems like everyone finds out the sex, everyone picks a name prebirth and everyone seems to know their birthing plan I don't necessarily agree with some of that but my opinion is not to be pushed. If anything I might ask them when they are due and I always like to follow with a compliment. Being pregnant is tough!!-LV

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    1. I think you have the right idea, Laverne. Your local preggos are lucky to have you around.

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  5. I have been the preggo mamma responding with a snarky "of course we know what we're having..a BABY!" We didn't find out with any of our 3 children and ppl went mad sharing their opinions about this..complete strangers thought I cared why they thought I should find out if I was having a boy or girl.

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    1. Robbie, you know I love good snark. As I mentioned, that response has grown on me over time, because the truth is, who cares?? Whatever it is, it is.

      I agree with you 1000%.

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  7. My favorite: "Are you excited?"
    My answer: "No, this shit sucks."
    That usually shuts 'em up!

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  8. Everyone told me that because of my size with Lil' P. I MUST be having twins. Granted, I was the size of a sanitation truck, but GEEZ! My self-esteem took a tumble.

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    1. Don't you just hate people sometimes, Jennifer?
      Jeez. How inconsiderate!

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  9. That list about covers it. It never happened to me but friends have told me about strangers who skip asking if they can touch you and just do it. Yikes! And even though it isn't a question, everybody wants to scare you and talk about their great-aunt Susan who was in labor for five days with no anesthetic and almost died. People think the pregnant belly is public property.

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    1. That lack of tact constantly shocks me. Good additions, Jacqueline.

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  10. I have learned that it is not polite to ask a lady when she is due and then look at her belly wide-eyed, while whispering "wow". Also, "You've popped!" is apparently not a flattering thing to say either. I think most pregnant women are adorable, but from what the majority of them tell me (and I see a lot of them since I work with children) being pregnant does not feel cute at all. I've never been pregnant, but I hear it does pretty insane things to your body...I'm just not going to ask what those things are :)

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    1. Better not to ask if you don't want to know, TriGirl. Especially because pregnancy affects everyone differently. If you do get pregnant someday, you'll see what happens to your body. Might be minimal.

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  11. ha! Totally agree! One time a guy at Home Depot asked if I was having twins (I wasn't). Incredibly rude!

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    1. You should have asked him if he was. I often turn things around that way on idiots.

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  12. Right after I had my 1st son, I had him in a baby carrier, and a girl at a market asked me, "when are you due"? I pointed to the baby in my arms and replied, "4 days ago".

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    1. Was the tiny baby you were carrying not enough of a sign for that pinhead? Seriously.

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  13. Oh being asked about your cervix is the worst. Seriously... would never talk about that part of me in public anyway, so please don't ask me on FACEBOOK!! It's usually, "are you dilated? how far? did they check you?"

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    1. Oh yeah, the dilation questions are always classic, too!

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  14. After a very bizarre incident at work that I will forever call "the baby fakery", I don't do much to acknowledge pregnancy. I used to be worried that after all the questions and the shower, the person might lose the baby and that would just be so tragic after such a big deal was made. So now, I tell people that I know that I won't be making a big deal about this pregnancy and I will treat them normally because I like to pretty much ignore it. This bothers some people, especially because I will have no part of the showers, but I think people are insane to make such a big deal about the pregnancy itself. Especially strangers. I love the "yes, a baby" reply.

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    1. Not a bad strategy. You have to do what makes you comfortable.

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  15. Good Job Dear! i enjoyed seeing it,

    Mwaks!


    If you have a minute, please check out my blog and follow me if you liked it. I'll appreciate it so much! Thanks!


    Blow a Rainbow

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    1. Thanks, Priscilla. I'll check your page out.

      Delete
  16. I agree...I don't know why the sight of a pregnant woman gives strangers the impression that they can ignore common courtesy and ask anything they want! Also, people who just reach out and touch your stomach without even asking are the worst!

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    1. Women are allowed to smack those over-eager hands away from their bellies. I believe that's the law.

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  17. So true! You hit that nail on the head with your funny hammer. This was the best: "Guess what, if you don’t know my name, do you really think I’m going to let you name my kid?" The opinions on the names are maddening.

    But wait, you've actually witnessed people asking to rub your wife's belly? I feel like I was on the auction blocks because everyone felt entitled to touch my belly with nary a word. The next step would have been to check my gums. Ellen

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    1. Oh yeah, they stop and say "can I touch it?", which in pretty much any other context is inappropriate. To me, this context is, too.

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  18. I remember during the second go around there was a time when we weren't getting much sleep.

    My son kept waking up at all hours and intermixed with this was the tossing and turning of a pregnant mother who just couldn't sleep.

    Anyway, there was a moment at the grocery store when I just lost it. This woman asked about a dozen questions and then followed up with, "I just have to rub your belly."

    Before she could touch my wife I looked at her and said "only if I can fondle you first."

    You should have seen the look of horror on her face. Was kind of funny to see how upset she was when she was the one that had created the issue.

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  19. My favorite was complaining about anything and then having someone ask me if I knew how lucky I was to even be having a baby. I was not glowy or beautiful, I was fat, bloated, smelly, gassy, stringy-haired and miserable. I was soooooo lucky alright.

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  20. Popped in on the blog hop. Perhaps people are just trying to connect, why wouldn't someone ask, "When are you due?" or "Do you have a name picked out?"

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  21. I had some one ask to rub my belly I told them hey my belly didn't make the baby its just holding it you should rub my boyfriends balls those made this possible needless to say I got the look of disgust as she walked away lol

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  22. This is really great and should be submitted somewhere that dispenses pregnancy and new parent advice or something. I would include the breast or bottle feeding question. SO not anyone's business, and not even something some people can answer BEFORE the baby is born! Oh! And where you stand on circumcision. Also, like you, I no longer EVER assume a woman is pregnant. I did once and was wrong. Never again.

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  23. I was asked if "this one is a surprise" and "was this planned" when I didn't get preggers for 11 years in between. I never thought to say "No, I wanted two only children." The worst is when you see someone be asked when they are due and they reply with "I'm not pregnant, what made you think I was."

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  24. when i was pregnant with #3 i was always asked " is this your last one" i would get so mad...it was no ones business but mine and my husbands if we chose to reproduce again.

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  25. How much weight have you gained? I've gotten that one before.

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  26. Oh yes, this. Also, do people not know it's rude to stare?? Why do people stare at a pregnant woman, have they not seen one before? Is my skirt hitched on my underpants?

    I also hated when people found out we were having another boy, and they would say, well, you can always try again for a girl!! When did I ever say I wasn't happy with another boy?? Grr.

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  27. Luckily I've completely blocked out my pregnancies. :)

    You were one of the most-clicked links at last week's #findingthefunny! We're featuring you tomorrow. Thanks for linking up!

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  28. You know what's worse? When other moms do that shit. I should know, I do that shit. Related: I'm a jerk sometimes.

    Fun piece!

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  29. Ack! We got all of these, though I would add my favorite, "Were you trying for long?" Yes, let me sit down an detail my sexual intercourse lifestyle with you. Should we grab a cup of tea and make it night?

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  30. Haha, love it! I definitely got the twin question more than a few times, when I still had weeks and weeks to go. :( I wish I had had a sarcastic remark with which to respond, especially when they insisted it must be twins. Really? Who does that?? Good luck with baby #2! :)

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  31. The one I love/hate, "awwww, is this your first?!" No, heffer, it's my 3rd so stop with the cute-sy remarks and leave me alone..thats usually followed with, "how nice?! What are you having?" (In which i answer a girl, and yes its sweet..followed by, "do you already have any girls?" To which I reply, "i already have a boy & a girl so yes, I've obviously done this before! And yes, this will be my last one!"). Seems like we should just rattle of the first 5-6 answers to the most commonly asked questions just to shut people up! Lol!

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