I have been blessed to be pregnant five times. I am extremely thankful for this and realize that this is a gift not every woman receives. Yet as I sit here in the middle of the night, almost a week past my due date, I am weary. Weary of the unyielding pain in my ribs (the reason I am up in the middle of the night!), the pressure on my bladder, the swelling in my legs, the inability to sleep, and the exhaustion of running a household and caring for four other children.
I thank God for the privilege of carrying another precious child… and yet my mind is on things that pregnant women don’t like to hear.
Well, this pregnant woman doesn’t appreciate it.
What NOT to say to a pregnant woman:
1. “You look like you’re going to pop!”
Someone once said this to me when I was just six months along. Thanks a lot.
2. “Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?”
I have been asked this more times than I can count. You might think you’re being funny, but this is what I hear: “There’s no way you can be that big without two babies inside. Oh, it’s only one? Then you’re just really, really fat.”
3. “Babies are much easier to take care of when they’re on the inside.”
Okay, guess what? This isn’t my first baby. I know how much work newborns are. But at least when I slide into bed after feeding my newborn, I can sleep. After a week or two of recovery, I won’t hurt everywhere. I won’t have labor hanging over my head. And I’ll have a beautiful baby to love and cherish. Right now I’m just miserable.
4. “I hope it’s a girl! You have enough boys.”
I know you mean well, and my daughter would love to have a sister, but do you really have to say it in front of my three sweet little boys?
5. “I’m sure you’ll have that baby in the next day or two.”
Actually, there’s no way you could know this. You’re trying to be encouraging, but when you are wrong I feel worse than ever.
6. “You’re still here?”
Yes. And thank you for rubbing that in.
What she’d love to hear instead:
Let me just start by saying that if a woman is obviously about to deliver, don’t ask when she’s due. If it looks like she’s about to burst into tears, don’t ask her any questions at all. She really doesn’t want to cry in front of you. Try one of these instead:
1. “You look wonderful.”
It really doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. Just say it.
2. “I think you’re doing great.”
My husband says this to me all the time. It doesn’t feel true in the least, but I appreciate hearing it.
Recently as I was waddling through the store at 9 months pregnant, a woman breezing past me said this sweet word in my ear. It was just the encouragement I needed.
4. “I’m bringing you a meal tonight.”
Don’t give her a choice. Just do it. People generally bring meals after the baby comes (which is awesome!), but recently a friend brought me a meal in these final torturous days, and it was so appreciated.
5. “I’m praying for you.”
Thank you. When I feel alone and abandoned during this miserable time, your words remind me that my loving God holds my future in his hands. I know he hears your prayers and mine… and that he will bring this pregnancy to a blessed end. Just maybe not as soon as I’d like.
Five days after this post was published, our baby was born at 11 lbs 12 oz! Read my birth story here.