A Bystander’s Guide to the Five Things Pregnant Women Love Most

Let me start out by saying that I’ve never been pregnant, but that these foolproof tips are borne of years of observation and conversation. So give them a read and then go make a pregnant lady’s day.

1) Being touched by strangers

Did you resent learning to keep your hands to yourself in kindergarten? Well, you’re in luck. Look at that businessman on the train, wearing a suit and tie and frowning at his smartphone. Would he like it if you suddenly embraced him or caressed his tummy? No, of course he wouldn’t. But pregnant women are different.  As soon as the bulge of that fetus is visible to you and me, her body is fair game, from the bathroom to the boardroom to the bus. Hands on!

2) Temporal judgments

A pregnant woman is particularly attuned to the passage of time – just listen to her obsess about the first, second and third trimesters. That means she’s also anxious to hear your unsolicited time-related verdicts. For example, feel free to ask her how old she is, and then follow up with any conclusions you may have on whether she is very young or rather old to be a mother. If you think she looks older or younger than she is, make sure she knows it. And remember, once you’ve spotted her belly, what month and day that baby is supposed to emerge is information that you are entitled to. The mother-to-be will also appreciate your comments on whether her current size matches the current duration of her pregnancy. Does she look rather slim for 7 months or “ready to pop” at 6 months? Make sure she knows it!

3) Personal questions

Imagine that man on the train again – his tasteful striped tie and black leather shoes. Would he want you to sit down next to him and ask him his age, whether he feels sick to his stomach, and whether he has children, whether they’re boys or girls, when their birthdays are and what their names are? No, he probably wouldn’t appreciate it, but here again is the magic of pregnancy: gestating women love answering your personal questions. Remember: the propagation of the human race is every person’s business, and that includes morning sickness, the baby’s sex, due date and name, birth plans, and anything else you can think of. Remember: when a woman can no longer conceal the fact that she’s carrying a fetus, she owes you these answers.

4) Horror stories of labor and delivery

That pregnant woman sitting next to you wants to bond with you. Once you’ve ascertained that her due date is just a few weeks away, the best way to cement your relationship is to tell her about your sister-in-law’s cousin’s 43-hour labor and episiotomy during the blizzard of ‘93.  Pregnant ladies enjoy these narratives, which fortify them for their own deliveries.

5) Your projected body image woes

Pregnant women are always ready to soothe your anxieties about their bodies. The last thing they want is for you to be stuck wondering if they’re pregnant or if they’re just packing some extra belly pounds, so feel free to ask them. If, because you were afraid they were simply fat, you’re relieved to find out that their rotund figure is due to an impending birth, make sure they know it. They love being reminded of their ungainly figures, and carrying a baby is the difference between hoping others mind their own business, and having an appreciation for being the subject of strangers’ bodily speculations.

Is there anything else pregnant women love? If I’ve missed something, please add it in the comments.

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20 Comments

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  1. Morning sickness remedies. Unless they actually work.

  2. Pregnant women LOVE IT when people tell them what to eat and what not to eat.

  3. Funny post! I was never pregnant either, but I think you have nailed it! It particularly think it is funny that they don’t mind their bellies being rubbed, and who hasn’t done that? So funny. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • welll…one point I hope this blog post gets across is that pregnant women DO mind having their bellies rubbed, and yet everyone keeps doing it to them. Thanks for stopping by!

      • I sure missed that! You are right that you wouldn’t ordinarily do that to a man. But women’s pregnant bellies are irresistible! A friend of mine at work once was standing by our boss. He had a little rotund belly, as did her husband. I guess he put his arm around her shoulder, and she reached over and patted his tummy. She immediately realized what she had done, and said to another co-worker standing with them, “Did I just do what I think I did?” Everyone had a good laugh, but we haven’t let her forget about it!!!

      • Yes, men can generally go through the world unfondled. I’ve been unwillingly touched by strangers too many times to count, and I’ve never even been pregnant. I know I’ll be in for it then.

      • hahaha I can’t think of many times I’ve been unwillingly touched by strangers, or for that matter people I know. I guess I’ve just been lucky. However, now that I think about it a minute, I remember when my husband was dying in the hospital, and a social worker rubbed my arm and told me I should take him home to die. I wanted to kill him. I couldn’t look at him. I pulled away, and turned away. And turned away whenever he came into the emergency room. I had forgotten all about that. It was horrible!

      • What a sad story – really sorry to hear about your husband. It’s true that sometimes other people mean well when they reach out to us, but they don’t always do/say the right things.

      • Thank you. It was a long time ago. How true that is. You brought up quite a subject. Touching is so personal. I am not overly sensitive about touching, but as you can see, I, too, have my moments! Thanks for sharing such a great post. I’m glad I’m following you. I’ll be by more often. I’m trying to get my blog list organized a little better so that I visit the sites I really enjoy more often, and even get to some others once in a while. I don’t think the Reader does a very good job of getting the ones I want to read out there. 🙂 Have a great week 🙂 Marsha 🙂

      • Thanks Marsha, feel free to weigh in any time.

  4. Almost makes me happy that I spent my entire pregnancy in bed due to health complications. Nobody touched me but my hubby. If I’d been able to leave the house and anyone else had tried to touch me I probably would have decked them.

  5. not sure if its the right question or in the right place but some one has to weigh in on this…and it may unfortunately be you as well…….does flashing off of breasts in public count as some sort of celebration of motherhood??

    • Alaina Mabaso May 27, 2013 — 8:26 pm

      Yeah, it may not be the right place for you to ask this, but I can understand how the question must have been weighing on you, so I’m glad you could find some kind of forum for it. If there are women who are showing their breasts to celebrate motherhood, shame on them for discomfiting those who would prefer to keep motherhood and the female body off of their radar. And if you’re referring to the women who breastfeed in public, may those mothers be doubly shamed. I’d make all the babies in the world go hungry before I would discomfit a single person with a discreet glimpse of a mother’s breast.

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