In my short 16 weeks of pregnancy, I have gained a little insight and perspective into the danger and beauty of spoken word. Words can encourage, brighten, make light, and speak truth. Words hold the power to make people laugh, pee their pants, and slap their knees.
But words can also be… not-so-good. Most are well-intentioned, just not thought through. Allow me to give you a short, compiled list of things that have either been said to me (or a woman I know) during pregnancy, and we’re all thinking, “Hmm. I could’ve gone without hearing that.”
So here is my brief list of things to say, and things to not, to a pregnant woman. I don’t care what “kind” of pregnant woman she is–the “all belly” kind, or the one who gains it everywhere BUT her belly, here is my short list.
Things NOT to say . . .
“I knew you were pregnant because normally you’re pretty skinny, and I noticed you’re a little thick.”
“I know this friend who has this friend who (insert incredibly traumatic pregnancy/miscarriage story here).” (Sidenote on this one: pregnant women know about these stories. We’ve read about them, know friends with them, some experienced them personally, had nightmares about them, and pray against them. So please, unless we bring it up, or ask about it ourselves, spare us the awful story.)
“You just look swollen, not fat.”
“I can tell you’re pregnant because you look really, really tired.” (We know this, too.)
“You don’t even look pregnant! Are you sure you’re that far along?”
“Are you sure you aren’t having twins? You’re huge!”
(While passing butter at dinner), “Here’s the tub, you’re gonna be a tub in about five months!” YES, THIS HAPPENED.
Any use of the word F-A-T, no matter the context, or intention. Just avoid that word (and others like it) all together. It’s a four-letter-word.
Things TO say . . .
“You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen in the history of this planet, to ever walk, drive, or run. In fact, I can’t recall a time I’ve ever seen someone so beautiful, glowing, and magnificent.” (Magnificent is the key word. Emphasize it greatly.)
“You look extremely alert and ready to take on the day. Do you even need caffeine? I mean seriously, I can’t get over how on top of life you are now!”
“WOW! You’re amazing! Incredible! Stupendous! Unbelievable! You are going to have the best labor anyone has ever heard of! I’m not going to tell you some insane story that will give you nightmares!”
But seriously . . .
“How can I help you?” is always good.
“How can I pray for you?” also… good.
There you have it. If I hear any more absurdly awkward or offensively funny things, you will be the first to hear (and laugh) about it.