Friday 17 June 2011

Pregnancy and stranger danger

Being pregnant is weird. Besides the fact that it feels like you have an alien inside you, ready to burst out any minute, the whole experience is just plain weird.

I'd forgotten how much you become public property when you're pregnant. Not the touching the belly thing, as that's rarely happened to me, but the way that people think they can suddenly talk about you in ways that aren't normally appropriate. I'm not talking about close friends and family, but strangers who don't even know your name. You have the most unimaginable conversations with people who previously would just walk by with a nod or a smile.

Things that are normally not discussed suddenly become general banter or chit chat. I remember being about to pop with Lil-lil when a stranger came up to Skip and I at funeral and started talking about his wife's labour and her cervix dilating. I remember thinking: "Is his wife OK with him talking about her cervix with strangers? Do I even want to hear this?"

At the same funeral people (again, strangers) came up and mentioned how they'd noticed my swollen ankles from the back of the chapel. Ace, thanks for telling me, I noticed your swollen head from the front.

There's also the fact that people feel they can say things like: "Oh my god! You're huge!" or "Look how enormous you are!" Believe me, there is never a time that either of these sentences are appropriate when you're talking to woman. Yes, it's true she may be the size of a house but she doesn't need you to tell her, especially with the added emphasis of the blasphemy. Seriously, not needed.

When I was pregnant with Lil-lil, I was introduced to a woman who told me her name and then went straight on to ask me what I was rubbing on my belly to prevent stretch marks. No, 'How are you?' or even 'When are you due?', just straight into the stretch marks. We didn't become lifelong friends.

When I was pregnant with Goosey, I was at a wedding when a well-known Twitterer (who I'd never met before) came up to me and said: "Every man here thinks you're the sexiest. Men just love pregnant women, they just can't help it." Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay, thanks. Bring on the awkward pause before I wandered off looking for a sane person.

With my first pregnancy, I never managed to stop being astounded by the number of people who would tell me how hard having a baby was. How I could never imagine how consuming having a newborn was and how my life was going to change forever. This happened while waiting for a takeaway coffee or in a lift. Thanks for the tips.

What was the most outrageous thing someone said to you when pregnant?


  1. Not while pregnant (although I did have a few weird things said to me then too) but after my first son was born, he was about 4 months old and a lady stopped me in the street to look at my "hapa" baby and say "It is cold, you should wear a scarf so your boobs don`t get cold. The baby won`t like cold milk" WTF? She had no idea if I was breastfeeding or not, it was about 19-20 degrees so not too cold and really, is it ever appropriate to comment on a strangers boobs?

    Oh and when I was pregnant, it was about 34 degrees in late summer and a stranger offered me her cardigan because she thought the baby, in my stomach, might be cold. I politely declined and said he was living in an oven- He was all good, thanks.

    This is the land of unsolicited comments and advice.

  2. A woman I worked with when I was pregnant with my first kept greeting me as 'fatty'. It got old quickly and from the death stares I gave her she stopped but prior to that she thought she was hilarious. Me not so much.

  3. Oh just thought of another one! Was 18 weeks pregnant with my first & at a family function when my husband's cousin (who is in her 30s and unmarried)said after the obligatory congrats, 'So have you decided if you're going to get an epidural or if you're going to go for a natural labour?'
    I choked on my lunch! At that stage of the game I barely knew what an epidural was & couldn't figure out why she was so interested given she'd never had kids. I find woman with kids find that kind of thing more interesting. Was a big WTF moment!

  4. The most memorable one for me was waddling to the post office at 29 weeks and standing in the queue. The lady in front of me asked if I would like to go ahead of her, so I thanked her and took her up on it. Big mistake. She then made remarks like "not far now" and asked when my "babies" were due. When I said it's one baby and stupidly told her how far along I was, she shot me a look of utter disgust, sneered "I thought you were about to have your baby", loudly lectured me about how fat I was (in front of a lunch time post office queue) and then asked "was I sure there was only one?". At that point, I turned my back on her.

  5. When I was pregnant with my second, I had a woman freak out at me in a public toilet, thinking I was going into labour because apparently I was "massive" and looked to be in pain. I was only 29 weeks, and because of fluid issues I was a lot bigger than I should have been. Once I assured her she wouldn't have to deliver my child, I had to convince her I was only having one.

    Unless you are a direct relation of the unborn, ie mother or father, it is inappropriate to ask questions. None of your business. Smiles and well wishes yes, but do not ask me about my birth plan or if Im going to breastfeed.

  6. haha, all so true! When I was 39weeks with my first (I went to 42 weeks) a stranger came up to me at the shops and said: "I just had to go out of my way to tell you you look like you should have had that baby yesterday."

    I was too stunned to reply.

    This time 'round I've been very aware and brave when dealing with people's comments.

    Like: "Wow, you're big aren't you" get's the reply: "You should never ever say that to a pregnant woman."

  7. The worst comment was from a woman I worked with. She told me not to tell anyone I was pregnant until after I had a 12 (or was it 14?) week scan because "The baby might have been dead for weeks!"

    I'm guessing that had happened to her or someone she knew. But it was not a great thing to hear.

  8. Oh goodness gracious... the guy... with the sexy comment... calm down buddy!
    People are strange aren't they and I totally understand where you're coming from too. I used to find it completely odd some of the things that were said to me. My hubby actually got the shits on my behalf in the end and said I should just tell people to back off... maybe because I was always relaying the weird and wonderful stories to him.
    I had so many awkward conversations, but one that was kind of funny, but also a bit off, when I was pregnant with Angus, was a really old lady describing the births of her children to me... she may have mentioned the word "vaginally" (in relation to herself) half a dozen times or more. Probably information I DIDN'T need to know :o/
    OH and I just remembered the woman in Coles who said "where are your boobs love, I thought you were supposed to get big boobs by the time you're as pregnant as you are!" No joke, she actually said that.
    Try to shut the comments out if you can, because they will do your head in xo

  9. I couldn't agree more, especially right now at 32 weeks being told daily how HUGE I am and I am about to pop and are you over due? And how will you make it to the end yada yada yada. Oooh, and I love the 'are you sure it's not twins?'. Ha ha bloody ha. Thanks for the vent!

  10. I went to Bingo the night before my due date and when asked when I was due I said "tomorrow", they all laughed and said "seriously, when are you due?" when I repeated myself they all made jokes about how lucky I was that the hospital was nearby.
    I won Bingo three times, and each time I called out they'd laugh nervously asking if I was ok.
    I actually did go into labour the next day & delivered my daughter on her due date.

    The worst thing anyone ever said to me while pregnant with my son was a woman from my antenatal class who gave birth early saw me on my due date and goes 'Oh, haven't you gone yet?'
    I wanted to punch her in the face.
    If I'm baby-less and sporting a swollen middle, obviously, I HAVEN'T BLOODY GONE YET!

  11. Cannot believe some of the things that come out of people's mouths!

  12. Isnt it amazing how you become public property once you have a protruding baby belly?

    The worst thing I heard, was when I was at the awkward end of the 1st trimester stage. A distantly known colleague at work came up and asked, "are you pregnant or did you just eat a really big lunch". Even though I was, I wanted to run and hide, thinking that was how everyone must be viewing me!! Silly, I know now, but tell that to my raging hormones...


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