Better Left Unsaid
Posted on November 7, 2012 in Relationships by Sandra Bienkowski
If you asked me to rattle off a few of my flaws, my big mouth would probably make the top of the list. I am not great at keeping my opinions to myself. I sometimes offer advice when it was never asked for, and I reveal more on Facebook than my husband would probably prefer. I think my lack of restraint is one part personality and one part having parents who were only comfortable discussing weather and food. Tip-toeing through topics isn’t how I want to live.
While my verbal blather could use a little reining in, there’s a difference between being open, and blowing through personal boundaries. Being pregnant and in my early 40s has taught me this lesson well. There are some things you just shouldn’t say to a pregnant woman. Like …
Do twins run in your family? Okay, I’m 40ish and I am pregnant. Let’s think for a minute. It’s probably not a mystery that we had fertility help. Inquiring about our genetic lineage is like asking if we had fertility help in disguise. We know it. You know it. We aren’t secretive about having IVF, but we think the news to share is our joy of being pregnant with twins, not how we got there.
Do you have to have a C-section or are you going to give birth naturally? I can understand the curiosity, especially with twins, but let me just say you know about as much about how my labor is going to go as I do. A lot depends on the position of the babies when it’s time, and lots of other unknowns. This is sort of like asking someone to predict the future to satisfy your curiosity. It’s probably not necessary to ask.
Did you try for twins? While no one has asked me this question (yet) it has been asked to other future moms of multiples I know and they weren’t happy about it. Keep in mind that you are asking this question to people who most likely had a difficult journey becoming pregnant and you are making it sound like they ordered up a couple of babies off a menu. It lacks empathy. Moms who need reproductive help typically have many emotional ups and downs, difficult drug protocols and lots of waiting and hoping before they end up pregnant. All they want is to be blessed with an infant and the opportunity to be parents; they don’t need an insensitive inquisition too.
Some of my other favorites …
“Have you started looking for a new place to live yet?” Not an offensive question, but is this really the first question you want to ask after I tell you I am pregnant? Can we take a moment and celebrate the joy of our pregnancy news before you pepper me with moving questions?
“You want to go through all that again, the diapers, everything?” File this under things that should just be left unsaid. People actually say this to my husband because he already has three grown children. What do people expect him to say? “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that, maybe we shouldn’t have these babies.” Of course he wants to go through it all over again, otherwise we wouldn’t be pregnant. We aren’t 15. We know how this happened. We actually planned it.
“Your body will never be the same again.” Thanks. That’s helpful. Anything else depressing you want to tell me? I’d rather not fill my head with negative thoughts about my future body when I am preoccupied about the health and well-being of my babies.
“You will never have time for anything again.” Cheerful! Do they have a book for these depressing sentiments? I know real life examples of parents who do more than parent. Those are the people I will emulate. Not the mommy victims who always talk about how they have no time for themselves.
“You know, finding a good ob-gyn is really important.” Oh, really? The thought never occurred to me.
“All those trips you take, all of that is over.” Thank God I’m not married to you. Nice attitude. Babies and children do travel, just obviously not with you. Please don’t make blanket statements about our lifestyle; you don’t know us. We can make choices different from you.
Which leads me to another sentence that bugs me and I know some of you might be thinking right now, “Wait until you have kids, you will see.” That’s a smug sentence uttered by the “I already have kids” club, and I hope it never leaves my lips.
Here’s what you could say to a pregnant woman instead …
I am so happy for you.
When are you due?
Being a parent is such a gift.
Or even a simple, “Congratulations” will suffice. Any sentence that has some sensitivity and kindness will do. Skip the prying and negativity. Babies are supposed to be happy news after all. Add to the happiness or do pregnant women a favor and leave it unsaid.