Dealing with women in general takes some finesse. Throw in raging hormones, swollen feet/ankles, and unparalleled hunger, and you risk a catastrophic explosion of emotions. While every woman and pregnancy is different, I have complied a general list of suggestions to avoid lighting the anger fuse.
- Do not ask how much weight she has gained. I don’t ask you about your scale number, and pregnancy doesn’t change every woman’s inner hatred of the climbing number on the scale. “You’re supposed to gain weight. It’s healthy.” Yea… those comments don’t change the fact that I would rather attempt squat jumps than discuss my weight with you. (Pregnant squat jumps are like doing high knees in an inflatable sumo suit!)
- Tell her how beautiful she is. At some point in every pregnancy, every woman feels fat, unattractive, disheveled, lost, and generally bad. I can promise she has felt, or will feel, at least a little bit like Porky the Pig with Wile E. Coyote’s disposition after being blown up… again. A compliment on her loveliness in these moments could be what saves the closet full of too-tight clothes from being annihilated.
- Do not grab, rub, stroke, pat, or touch the belly. Most pregnant women still value their personal space bubble. Just because they now resemble a bubble doesn’t mean the space bubble should be breached for the uninvited belly rub. My dog likes his belly rubbed, not me. Usual exceptions to this rule include husbands, parents, and close personal friends, but you should still ask.
- Do not tell labor, delivery, and baby horror stories. We have all heard nightmarish stories of deliveries gone wrong or how your friend’s sister’s co-worker’s baby had this crazy disorder. I promise the mommy-to-be is worried enough without having to google Progeria.
- Do not make stupid comments or ask ridiculous questions. Stupid comments/questions include: Are you sure you’re not having twins?; You haven’t had that baby yet?; You look like you are about to pop!; You’re huge!; You’re eating again?; You are really showing today!; Are you eating healthy?; That baby is going to be a big one!; Was it planned?; I never had a belly when I was pregnant.; I wore regular clothes through my whole pregnancy!
- Listen. This is mostly for husbands. More than likely your wifey will try and describe what she is going through in the pregnancy. I do this through analogies. The colorful descriptions are not to complain, but to try and help you understand all that pregnancy entails. For example, I described the feeling of Ellie’s heels in my ribs as if a gigantic meat hook was stuck under my ribs pulling me outward. Maybe it was a little dramatic, but I felt like Ryan could understand my discomfort after I used this imagery. All you do after her elaborate description is choose one of these responses: “Weird!”, “That’s amazing!”, “That sucks!”, or “I’m sorry!”
- Buy her something for comfort. Often pregnancy feels like you’ve gotten a cannon ball to the gut or you’ve turned into the blueberry brat from Willy Wonka after she rebelliously eats the gum. You will have one grateful pregnant lady if you buy her the pair of maternity pants that she has been resisting or a Snoogle (special body pillow that quickly replaces her husband) to help her sleep.
This certainly doesn’t cover all of the ins and outs of how to treat a pregnant woman, but it is a start! Do fellow pregnant women have any suggestions?