By Genevieve A. Suzuki
There are several creatures of legend you never want to cross; among them are the Mongolian Death Worm, El Chupacabra and a woman in her final month of pregnancy. Unlike the Death Worm and El Chupacabra, however, you have a way greater chance of coming across the Third Trimester Beastress.
I turned into the Third Trimester Beastress a couple of months ago. As I near my final five weeks of pregnancy, I have been surprised at what some people — specifically, strangers — feel comfortable telling me.
Unfortunately, much of what they’ve said is either unhelpful or downright rude. What they don’t understand is I am barely controlling a hormonally-driven pregnant rage not unlike that of Bruce Banner’s Hulk. In an effort to help you avoid future faux pas, here are some suggestions of what not to say to a pregnant lady:
- You’re having twins, right?
Look, this is my second child. I didn’t snap back into the same amazing shape as a twentysomething would have, nor did I overcome my pre-first pregnancy weight, but this remark makes me feel like I’m walking around like a giraffe in her fourteenth month. Unless you’re running the ultrasound machine at the hospital, keep this one to yourself. It’s not like you get a prize for being right.
- OMG! You’re still pregnant?!
Again, thank you for pointing out that I’m huge and moving around like a manatee out of water. This is not something that will make anyone feel better. Trust me. I know I’m still pregnant. And yes, I am completely uncomfortable. I haven’t slept through the night in months; I am wearing Birkenstocks with my office clothes; and it takes me five minutes to get in and out of the car. These conditions leave most women feeling quite surly and may yield a surprisingly violent response to the “still pregnant” comment.
- So is your baby OK? [Insert sad birth story here.]
I appreciate moms who want to reassure me that anything can happen. I understand it’s coming from a well-meaning place. The thing is, I’m already overly paranoid and already have access to the Internet and the latest copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” So unless I ask for this kind of input, please keep it to yourself. For now, all I want to hear about is puppies, rainbows and cotton candy.
- Ew, I don’t know how you can do that to your body.
This one is priceless. It was uttered by someone who really wanted me to know that pregnancy is disgusting. One suggestion to anyone who feels this way: Call your mom and tell her so. I’m sure her reaction really will be pure disgust.
- Hey, maybe you’ll pop tomorrow!
This is fine to say if the pregnant lady in question is either in her final three weeks or even overdue. On the other hand, if a woman has six weeks to go, as I’ve been when this was said to me, the last thing she wants to hear is a wish for her to go into pre-term labor. Because, for anyone who doesn’t understand the gestational period of a human being, if a baby is born before 37 weeks, he could be in the hospital for a couple of weeks as he will be born premature. And although we live in an age when modern medicine affords our early-born babies a good chance of survival, who wants to see their newborn in the NICU? Again, refer to No. 2 when tempted to say something so dumb.
—Send pictures of puppies and rainbows to pregnant correspondent Genevieve A. Suzuki at email@example.com.