Dear Non-Pregnant Person,
I hope you find these guidelines helpful in your interactions with pregnant women, as failing to follow them may result in serious physical harm. If you are thinking, surely she doesn’t mean me – then you should probably read this twice.
1. The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is ‘Congratulations!’ with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you a jerk.
2. Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father – not grandparents. Unless the baby is in your uterus or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase ‘my baby’.
3. On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in 2, the pregnancy, birth, and raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it…
4. The body of a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other body. You would not randomly touch someone’s stomach if they were not pregnant, nor would you inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix, or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.
5. Likewise, no woman wants to hear comments on her weight…ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about is pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is ‘You look fabulous!’.
6. By the time we are 20-30 years old, most of us have picked up on the fact that the summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don’t need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes. Nor do we need to know how badly you will feel for us because we will be pregnant during the summer and how glad you are that YOU will not be pregnant this coming summer.
7. There is a reason that tickets to Labor & Delivery are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, MIL, or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt and genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents. You weren’t invited to be there when the baby was created, you probably won’t be invited to be there when it comes out either.
8. Like everything else in life, unless you receive an invitation, you are NOT invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital, and the parent’s home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to ‘help out’. If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.
9. If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules, and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from multiple locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.
10. The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask for you to wait three weeks to visit, appreciate that you are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.
All the Pregnant Women in the World