I’m so thrilled to announce that my husband, baby girl, and I are expecting baby number 2 in February. There are so many exciting things that come with pregnancy and of course the many not so exciting things. But it’s not the already returning restless leg syndrome, insomnia ridden nights, or constant pain in my back that I’m dreading. No, instead it’s the completely inappropriate questions and comments I know are coming from perfect strangers that are already making me cringe.
I live and work in a small community, you can’t go grab bread from the store without seeing someone who you know in passing or an acquaintance. I wasn’t raised in such a small community so maybe I’m the crazy one who expects some things to be kept private? Apparently meeting someone twice gives them permission to ask you personal and intimate questions! Who knew?? I remember being amazed during my last pregnancy the things people thought were any of their business.
These three questions/comments are the ones that got to me the most. Now, I’d be completely fine with them coming from a close friend or family. But if you don’t know me well and you say any of these my blood will be boiling. I can normally keep a sweet face but with all of the crazy hormones I can’t make any promises that I’ll even pretend to be nice to you ever again.
1. “When are you quitting your job?” “You aren’t going back to work, right?” (or any variation of this)
I’m sorry, did I black out during my time machine trip back to the 1950s?? I want to be SUPER clear that I am in no way bashing stay at home moms, or anyone’s decision to stay home with their child. In fact, I find those people to essentially be superheros.
My biggest issue with this question was the sheer assumption of it. This question was rarely formed to me like, “What’s your family’s plan after the baby arrives?”. No, instead it was the assumption that I was quitting my job. Not a single person asked my husband that question. Ok, ok, he’s in the military, he can’t exactly quit whenever he wants. Still, no one said to him “You’re not going to re-enlist next time so you can stay home and take care of your kids, right?”. How is it in 2016 it is still assumed I must stay home simply because I have boobs?
Then, upon hearing that I had every intention to go back to my job, I was often treated as if I didn’t love my child enough because I was allowing her to be in someone else’s care during the day. I have a lot of reasons for why I continue to work after having a baby. I struggle between wanting to lay out my logical reasons for each person who is clearly judging me (which I finally did in a blog post that you can read here) and thinking it’s none of your freakin’ business anyway – bite me!
2. “YOU’RE HUGE!”
Do you think that I don’t have mirrors in my house? Look, let me just tell you right now, this is not okay to say to a woman … EVER! Yet, more often than not it was women saying this to me (I think men are way too scared to ever make this kind of comment whereas maybe women feel like it’s their right??). I don’t know. Either way, it’s not!
When I’ve expressed my annoyance over this comment before people have said, “oh, they just mean your belly!” I.DON’T.CARE! Being pregnant is not glamorous, and some days are just downright hard. I’m willing to bet most people who have been pregnant will tell you that they struggle between logically understanding their body has to change to grow this beautiful baby but also mourning their previous figure and coming to terms with the changes. The changes are quick and many and it’s a lot to wrap your head around.
In fact, I just had someone remind of “just how huge I was” when pregnant with my first, and a year later, it still pissed me off. I am very well aware of how I look, thank you. All your comment does is make me wish punching people was an appropriate and acceptable way to tell you how much I dislike you.
3. “How’s breastfeeding going?”
Ok, obviously this one is for after baby comes, not pregnancy. I get this one has good intentions. Yet, the problem with this question is two-fold.
First, unless I have explicitly told you that I’m breastfeeding, you’re making an assumption that I am. Making that assumption tells me, a new mom, off the bat that you think breastfeeding is better. Whether my child is getting breast milk or formula is none of your business. There are a lot of reasons why a woman is not able to breastfeed and making the assumption is just rude. Maybe I’m being sensitive here? But there are a lot of women who feel so much guilt over not being able to breastfeed already that we don’t need to explain to practical strangers that we aren’t doing it.
Second, I truly believe that if you’ve never struggled with breastfeeding you don’t understand how painful this question can be. But I did struggle with breastfeeding. Every time someone asked me about this I felt myself crumble and just wanted to cry. Crumbling and crying is fine to do with my friends and family. Do I want to fall apart in the store in front of this person I met twice and the 15 other acquaintances walking by? No, I don’t. I just want to enjoy my time out of the house, and get what I need, thanks.
There were of course a few others here and there but these were the ones that got under my skin most and and I heard a lot. Anybody have any additions to what inappropriate questions/comments they received while pregnant??