I recently had a rant on Facebook about people who make comments to pregnant women about their growing bellies. People never really mean any harm by what they say, but sometimes we take these comments personally. When we take these comments personally a seed is sewn.
Sometimes these seeds are hard to uproot, especially when a woman is told the same thing on a regular basis. This can have an effect on her confidence, her pregnancy, the way she prepares for birth, and the birth outcome. For example, I once worked with a woman who was told over and over again by numerous friends, family, and work buddies that her baby was going to have a big head. They came up with this thought because her partner had a big head, and thought the baby would have the same. Unfortunately she could not get past this thought, and got 'stuck' during her labour, unable to progress.
What you say to a woman during pregnancy, birth and postpartum can have a huge impact on her mindset. Its important to be compassionate, mindful, and aware of what effect your words can have.
So on a less serious note, I'm going to attempt to be a bit funny here. Here's some of the most common comments pregnant women hear and what people should really being saying...
1. "YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO EXPLODE"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "You look amazing, I wish I looked like that when I was pregnant. Your belly is so sexy, round and beautiful, I'm jealous"
2. "YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BIG BABY"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "Wow you are so lucky, your baby must have a huge brain. You must start looking at schools for the gifted straight away. Don't worry your vagina will open up like a blossoming flower, you can do it"
3. "YOU'RE SO COMPACT AND SMALL"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "Oh your bubba must be so flexible being so squished up inside that beautiful belly. You should book him or her into mums and bubs yoga asap. Oh and by the way, your baby will slide out of your vagina with ease."
4. "YOU CAN'T HAVE LONG TO GO NOW"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "Oh look at that beautiful belly, you must be getting excited. Even though I don't know you at all, I'll be thinking of you. Tell me when you are due and I'll light a candle for you for good luck"
5. "ARE YOU SURE YOU AREN'T HAVING TWINS"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "My god your body is accommodating the growth of your baby and placenta incredibly. Our bodies are all so different aren't they?."
6. "YOU'RE DUE IN 6 WEEKS? REALLY? YOUR BELLY IS HUGE"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "In my eyes your belly looks big, but what do I know? I don't know you, have never met you before, and I have no idea about how to measure fundal height. Ha, why am I even commenting, I have no idea what I'm talking about."
7. "YOU'LL NEVER MAKE IT TO THE END"
HERE'S WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "I really feel for you carrying around that extra weight, your beautiful baby. You are doing an awesome job of bringing a child into the world. No matter when you go into labour, I bet you'll have loads of energy and inspire women everywhere with your strength."
8. "IF YOU LOOK LIKE THIS NOW, YOU ARE GOING TO BE HUMUNGOUS AT 40 WEEKS"
HERES WHAT THEY REALLY MEAN/SHOULD SAY: "Whoah! Thats an awesome belly. You're all baby. I bet you're going to look amazing at 40 weeks. Get into one of those figure hugging dresses and show off those curves, or get that body down to the beach in a bikini. You sexy minx."
Just a bit of fun...
To all my pregnant and postpartum women, I salute you. You are brave beyond belief! Keep up the awesome work of growing and nurturing your babies. You deserve nothing but kindness, compassion, and love.