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A pregnant pause

I am 38 weeks pregnant with our fourth child. We live in South Carolina and it is hot and humid. We also have three boys and are expecting our fourth boy. Apparently all of this put together has left people rather flummoxed when trying to make small talk with me. In order to fight off the I'm-beyond-hot-and-exceedingly-pregnant bitterness that accompanies the late third trimester while pregnant in the South, I'm putting together a list of polite things to say to other gals in my situation, should you choose to start making personal remarks to strangers.
 
10 APPROPRIATE COMMENTS TO MAKE TO A PREGNANT WOMAN
 
1. "When are you due?"

This comment takes the place of these inappropriate comments that I hear all.the.time regarding how far along I look:
"Wow! You are about to POP! Holy cow! I saw you walking up and I thought WHOA!"
"Goodness, any day now, right?" (Why is this rude? Because I started hearing this a little before 30 weeks. And obviously I didn't want my baby born any day around 30 weeks.)
 
2. "You look beautiful."
 
This can take the place of just about any other comment you want to make regarding my general appearance. Because I can tell you, the awkward "You look (pause) great" when I'm hot and chasing toddlers does not make me feel like I look great. Also, any other comment regarding my size probably should be avoided totally.
 
3. "Do you know what you are having?"
 
I don't mind this question at all, though the follow up response is really what starts bothering me. "NO! ANOTHER BOY?" The next point will help you get through my answer of, "Another boy."
 
4. "What a blessing."
 
This is all you have to say when I tell you I'm having another boy. That's it. I don't need to hear how having all boys is your worst nightmare or that you know a mom to all boys and her kids pee in their family room. I really don't even care about your friend who had 6 boys before they finally had their girl or how you and I are in the same boat because you had 2 boys before you finally had your girl. Even worse, don't start female bashing to me. I myself am a female and do not want to hear about "female hormones" or my luck at missing the teenage years of raising a daughter. In fact, just read my blog post: "Mom to all boys."
 
5. {Smile}
 
I'm putting the smile in here because if you are the type of person that would holler, "WHOA! DELIVERY ROOM IS CLOSED! HAHA!" as I approach the dressing room in Old Navy, you probably should just refrain from making a comment at all. Actually, just about any joke you want make-- unless we are friends-- should probably be avoided. Just smile. Or don't even acknowledge me. I don't know you; you don't know me. Let's not make this awkward.
 
Aaaaargh! I'm really trying to keep this positive. I suppose my Costco trip in the heat has done me in for a positive list of things to say to a pregnant woman. Resisting the third trimester bitterness... failing...
 
6. {Wave and smile}
 
This is for people who are far away, as in across the street or on the other side of the playground, even across the restaurant or grocery store. If you aren't close enough to use an indoor voice when speaking to me, do not feel obligated to "open mouth, insert foot" as you shout across a public place to me. I have not been waiting all day to hear you tell me, "I HOPE IT IS A GIRL!" or "YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE ABOUT TO POP!" or "ARE THOSE ALL YOURS? AND YOU ARE PREGNANT?" or "ANY DAY NOW, EH?" Your wave and smile will be enough and instead of me feeling like a circus act, I may walk away thinking, "Wow, that person must like pregnant women to wave and smile at me."
 
7. "Where are you delivering?"
 
This comment is in place of just about any other comment a stranger can make to me in regards to my birth experience. The following are a list of comments that you should never even think about asking a pregnant stranger who you are making small talk with in a public place:
"I bet you had a C-section with your twins, so you'll need a c-section this time, right?"
"I bet you'll be able to just pop this one right out."
"Did you have all your other ones naturally?"
"Are you scared to give birth? I mean, it, like, hurts, right?"
Basically, just don't go there. Don't talk about it. I don't want to talk about it with you, truly. And it isn't your business if I had c-sections or not and I really don't want to talk about my lady bits with you. Ever. At all. You won't get a nice response from me.
 
8. "Best of luck to you."
 
This comment sends good tidings to someone instead of any other comment you want to make regarding breastfeeding. Why should you avoid making breastfeeding comments to strangers? Because it isn't your business.
Yeah, I said it. It isn't your business.
Especially to a first time mom.
Especially to a mom with older kids.
If a mom chooses not to breastfeed, that is her business and your comments may add guilt to a decision that she wrestled with or she may feel you are attempting to put feelings of guilt on a decision that she is comfortable with. If she can't breastfeed for whatever reason, she may remember your comments about the importance of breastfeeding and breast is best and yadda yadda and feel even more like a failure-- WHEN SHE ISN'T.
When people make comments to me about breastfeeding, I really want to tell them it isn't their business. Instead I say, "That's the plan!" and smile. I can't believe that some people pry further and ask which of my other kids I breastfed and for how long. Rude.
And TRULY it is a mom's choice how she wants to feed her baby. And that decision should not be surrounded by guilt or feelings of failure.
Now, this is NOT to say that I do not discuss my experience breastfeeding. This is in regards to the comments you receive from strangers making small talk at the store, randomly, not actually seeking breastfeeding advice or camaraderie, just shooting the breeze.
Read my post on breastfeeding twins: "Breastfeeding."
 
9. "Congratulations!"
 
This comment covers the comments that people want to make regarding how many children we have. I hear, "You are brave!" all the time. Brave for having four? Brave for having another when we already have three boys? Brave for leaving the house?
The other comment I hear is, "Better you than me!" What a philosophical statement... Is this person trying to say that a curse was hovering somewhere over our town and that it happened to land on my house instead of theirs? The curse of four children? Or is this person saying that if they were in my shoes and lived my life and married my husband and had my kids, they would not have chosen to have a fourth child?
However you look at it, just don't say it. Say congratulations and then later, in the privacy of your home, tell your family, "Man! Saw this lady at the store today! Pregnant with her fourth kid! Can you believe it?" And they will all say, "What a crazy lady!" Your family will agree with you because, clearly, my family does not or we wouldn't be having our fourth blessing.
 
10. {Silence}
 
Best kind of comment when a comment eludes you. No need to scrounge around in your mind trying to think of something witty when you see me waddling around Target with my hoard of kids. No need to tell me to find a hobby (found one!) or about how astronomical our food bill we be (as if we hadn't thought of that) or that pretty soon we'll need a 12-passenger van (already researching them, thank you). No need to remind me how hot and humid it is outside when you see my puffing along with swollen ankles, "Man! You look sweltering!" No need to jokingly accuse me of going into labor when I stop to catch my breath or rest my feet a moment. Best just avoid any one of those comments.
 
 
Well, I tried to make this a friendly list of things to say to a pregnant woman. I think the 10 comments themselves are polite, perhaps my explanations could be a little less bitter sounding... I think the heat has finally gotten to me. So now I will answer the most common questions I hear when I go out:
 
"Man, are you READY to have this baby? You look ready!"
Yes, I am ready. I am hot. I am tired. I already have three kids and, yes, they do keep me busy.
 
"Are you trying to pop this baby out?"
Most commonly asked question when I do anything-- run errands, take a walk, take the kids out... Apparently what people want me to say is yes, that that is the only reason I would be doing any of my daily activities.
 
"Are you done?"
I don't know. I don't want to be done having kids. I would love to have five or seven kids, seriously. My husband is leaning more towards being done. When I met him he wanted two kids and this will be our fourth. So one day in the next couple years we will have to have a conversation about it. At this point, I'm not sure our life could get any crazier.
 
"Are you going to go for that girl?"
Yeah, I would love to have a daughter. I love my relationship with my mom. Read my blog post: "Four boys." Obviously God has a different plan for me and my husband and I trust him. Maybe one day we will have a daughter and I would absolutely love that. For now, I absolutely love being the momma to each one of my boys.

For the record, I have heard all the above statements and questions from strangers this pregnancy.

Pregnant mommas, what would you add to this list?


****Just to reinforce the point, this post is NOT in regards to having conversations with my family, friends, or acquaintances. This is about complete strangers stopping me in public-- such as at the cash register or as I'm walking through Costco or at the park. I am always happy to discuss with my friends or fellow mommas my breastfeeding experience, especially in an appropriate environment or when there is a genuinely curious momma (like fellow multiple moms asking me about my experience with twin newborns).


Comments

Spring said…
People are crazy bold with their invasive & inappropriate questions & comments! I've learned to just keep walking & pretend I never heard them. My boys have started making strange faces at people too & it make the people feel awkward, which they should since my boys are old enough to know they are being talked about now.
Good luck to you on your upcoming delivery :)
BOYS ROCK!!! ;)
Kimber said…
Haha! Thank you, Spring! :)
Anonymous said…
OH MY!!! Some of these comments I wouldn't even make to you, let alone a stranger!! I always tell people, the "normal" rules of being a human being with privacy go out the window when you have a pet with you, a child with you or are pregnant. For some reason, the normal boundaries are no longer visible and people touch, talk, and comment on whatever the heck that comes into their mind.
Well, to be honest...I hope you don't "pop" i've never thought of the miracle of birth and that process as "popping". Popping implies an explosion or something that happens within an instant...and even though I have never had a child...I do know it isn't that quick. LOL
I pray for you and your family, not because you have four boys or you are in the south pregnant and hot but simply for the fact that being a family in this day and age is hard. People feel they can judge what they don't understand. Raising 4 Godly children (boy or girls) is difficult and a road less chosen. Raising children who not only respect their parents, but others as well is very rare. So Kimber...no matter what others say to you (ignorant others) know you are loved and prayed for. Also know that because of this blog, I will not only continue to keep my mouth shut to other momma's to be but I will be reminded to offer up a prayer for them instead. That they know God and know His love and that their family be blessed!
Love you Kimber and baby BOY #4. I would love to meet all of them!!!
Andi :)
Kimber said…
Hahahahaha-- yes, Andrea, the "popping" comment REALLY bothers me. So un-ladylike and definitely does not encompass the "miracle of childbirth." It also, for some reason, makes the feminist in me cringe. LOL! And I can't wait until you meet all our little ones! You'll have a blast with them. :)
Your prayers are always welcome and much needed! Love you!!!
Barbara Blue said…
Kimber (uh, Mrs Reach), you are such a brilliant and talented woman. I am in awe of you. I love reading what you write and you are completely spot on with all of it! I love watching your family grow and your children grow up. You handle life with such grace and humor. You are a godly example to everyone who knows you. I have many choice words for strangers and pregnancy comments, but I won't go there here. :)

Much love to you and your entire extended clan, Mrs. Blue
Kimber said…
Mrs. Blue!! Thank you for your sweet comment!!! I miss you and would LOVE to hear your choice comments-- haha! ;)
<3 Kimber
Lauren Tamm said…
Agh...all the dreaded pregnancy questions!! The craziest thing to me was if I wasn't pregnant would this stranger be talking to me?? The wildest thing that ever happened to me was a stranger talking to my belly and then telling me what the baby was 'saying' back to us. Very weird. Very creepy.
Kimber said…
Hahahahaahahahaha!!! Lauren, omigosh... I have no idea how I would respond to that. That is seriously hilarious. And creepy. :D
Katelyn said…
Great post!! I so love this. And as a mom of twins, you already hear so many comments, my *favorite* being the "I'd kill myself" comment!!! Seriously?

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