Monday, December 04, 2006

An open letter: What to say to a pregnant woman?

For starters, anything but, "You're huge!" says Jorji Marx, of Hampton, who sent the Daily Press this letter in hopes of steering the rest of us away from some common faux pas. We'll let Jorji's letter speak for itself, but we want your thoughts, too. Dear Everyone, Being 32 weeks pregnant, I have recently been experiencing what I would call improper pregnancy etiquette. Not pregnant women having improper etiquette, but people having improper etiquette around or toward pregnant women. A lot of it comes from people that I don't personally know, such as store clerks. So, I figured I would write this to refresh your memory, or maybe teach you something you don't already know. Be polite. As you should know, pregnant women are very emotional and sensitive, especially during the last trimester. So, just because you think that she is abnormally large for as far along as she is, you really do not need to say, "Wow, you're really big for being seven months pregnant," or "My daughter/niece/sister is due before you, and she isn't near as big as you." And it is most definitely rude to say, "Are you sure you're not expecting twins?" Not all pregnant women are the same! Some may gain only 15 pounds, and some may gain 80 (yes, carrying only one child). All pregnant women are beautiful. Now, I know you may disagree, but hear me out. Every pregnant woman is carrying her own little miracle. Men, you may have been the one to help make that miracle. Be sure to tell her, often, how beautiful she is. Even though her hands and feet are swollen, and she has a large belly, remember why she looks that way. Remember that precious life inside her waiting to be born. Stress that is placed on the mother is also placed on the baby. The same goes for happiness. Keep rude opinions to yourself. While you may think that it's very funny to tell a pregnant woman that she is going to have a huge baby, believe me, it's not. It may have been funny at one time. One time. But after eight months of hearing it, it gets really old. And another thing: One of the parents may have been a little hellion when he or she was a child, but telling the mom-to-be that her child is going to be a little hell-raiser, just like her or the father, really doesn't do anybody any good. What she needs to hear is that she is going to have a beautiful baby, and that you wish her the best of luck. This is her baby. Just because you went through childbirth with no drugs doesn't mean that she wants to. That being said, it is O.K. to offer your opinion, but do not, ever, force it on her. This goes for many other topics, including breastfeeding, sleeping position, discipline and so on. Also, you may offer her lots of help, which is great, but please do not assume that she owes you anything in return. Like that you should be allowed in the delivery room. Be supportive. Dads/dads-to-be, remind her why you are having that baby with her. Remind her that you love her. Do not get caught checking out another woman. Your girlfriend/wife may be feeling very insecure, and now is not the time to make her feel worse. And yes, it will make her feel worse. Moms, remember how much support you received, or would have liked, when you were pregnant. Remind her that you made it through this, and that she can, too. I hope this sheds some light on the subject for you or for someone you know. Please share this with people you know. I, and the other pregnant women of the world, would sure appreciate it.