What is it about seeing a pregnant woman that makes some people lose all common sense? I know what you may be thinking: why is a man writing this article? Well, let me tell you—this man lived with a woman who was pregnant for 20 out of 24 straight months. So…yeah, I’ve learned a thing or two about how people seem to treat pregnant women, either by witnessing it firsthand or hearing about it later through frustrated tears and scoops of ice cream.
To get rid of the elephant in the room (no, not my wife!), my wife and I had two kids literally back to back. Our kids are 367 days apart, to be exact. Essentially, my wife went back to work from maternity leave pregnant, again. I left my wife and newborn daughter in the hospital to take our son to his one-year pediatrician checkup. You get the point. So I’ve heard a lot.
Some of you may be thinking that the majority of insensitive comments towards pregnant women probably come from men, which I assumed would be the case as well. Let’s face it: if you’re a guy and you’ve never had a kid, you’ve been somewhat trained to run in fear at the sight or even thought of a pregnant woman. And if it’s not fear, it’s a sense of being mesmerized at the thought of a baby growing inside of a human body, often resulting in silly questions like “can I touch it?” (as if that’s ever a normal thing to ask anyone). There was even the one dude in our apartment elevator who compared my wife’s stomach to the shape of a basketball. Huge technical foul! Because elevator rides weren’t awkward enough. But from my experience with my wife, it seemed like some of the strangest and most off-putting comments came from women, too. And even stranger, it was often employees at the stores we were shopping at.
For example, one time when my wife was shopping at Trader Joe’s and went to buy cookie dough, a checkout lady at the store politely told my wife that cookie dough isn’t good for pregnant women to eat because it contains raw eggs. Umm…what? As if my wife was going to buy cookie dough, go home, and just peel back the wrapper and start going to town on it, like it was a banana…? How did, at no point, the thought occur to this woman that my wife might be planning on, I don’t know, actually baking cookies like most civilized people do? Not only that—the cookie dough was for me! And while I admit, sure, I’ll snag a piece of dough or two, but the majority of that roll is getting baked. I’m sure this woman meant no harm and was only trying to be helpful, but what would have actually been helpful would have been to treat my wife like any other customer that day and not provide extra bits of knowledge that were uncalled for. If you want to do something extra, allow her to cut the typically long line and/or offer to help carry her bags out. Don’t cookie dough-shame her.
If people typically say unwarranted things to pregnant women in general, you can imagine the insensitive things people would say to my wife when she was five months pregnant and walking around with an eight-month-old. One time, we were looking around in a furniture store and one of the managers looked at my son in his stroller, commenting on how cute he was. At that point, I liked her. Then she proceeded to raise her eyes upward from my son’s smiling face towards my wife’s pregnant stomach, and the smile quickly turned to confusion. The conversation went a lot like this:
“Wait, how old is he?”
“And you’re pregnant…again!?”
“Yep…Five months. ”
She was like Rain Main trying to calculate the math in her head. Now, this isn’t the craziest reaction in the world, as it’s a comment we’ve heard often and still hear today. So at this point she was still OK in my book. And then she continued:
“My niece had Irish twins also…She was miserable. Really hard stuff when they’re so young!”
Umm…OK, lady. Now I no longer like you. We did not ask about your family history or your input on the matter, but thanks. And she didn’t even stop there:
“It’s still so tough on her. They fight over everything. It never gets easier.”
Never gets easier? Can’t even give us a little glimmer of hope? And to think—we’re customers in her store. I hid my true anger behind some sarcastic remark and immediately exited the store. There was not a chance I was giving this woman a dollar of my money, but part of me did want to drive back there later without my wife and break a few lamps as I really let loose on her for how inappropriate her comments were. My wife was going through a lot both physically and emotionally, and the last thing she needed was the manager at some furniture store to be comparing us to her miserable niece. If you ask me, her miserable niece has a pretty miserable aunt.
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Ultimately, these are only two instances that I’m referencing here in detail, but there were a ton of other off-putting conversations, too. It feels like some people think that when they see a pregnant woman, they have to address the matter in some way, whether with a joke, bits of advice, or some comparative story—when the truth is that sometimes they’re better off just saying nothing at all. It’s OK to just treat a pregnant woman like any other person. I do believe people should always help by opening a door, offering a spot on line, or helping them carry something heavy, because those are all considerate things to do. But striking up a conversation where you let them know about your miserable niece is not necessary at all! Just let them go about their day as they were; there’s enough on their plate.
But again, I’m just a guy who was married to somebody pregnant for a considerable amount of time. I mean for zero husband-splaining. I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant, emotionally or physically. The only physical toll my wife’s pregnancy took on me was the scars on the bottom of my feet from constantly walking around on eggshells. I just really didn’t appreciate when other people sprinkled more eggshells in my path.
Image: Tai’s Captures / Unsplash; betchesmoms / Instagram
Soooo your friend is pregnant. The time when you and your bestie can just soak up each other’s awesomeness alone is growing shorter. Soon she’ll be welcoming a baby into the pack, and you’re just going to have to learn to share. There will still be wine nights and happy hour and evenings you can’t remember, they just may be fewer and further between. In the meantime, though, she’s got a baby shower to plan, and you better be buying her the right sh*t.
We know she took weeks to put together her registry, and you should definitely buy her some of the stuff that’s on there, but here are the things your pregnant friends really want/need. Anybody can pick a gift off a registry; you will be a hero if you show up with some of this stuff.
Pampers Swaddlers Disposable Baby Diapers
I never in my wildest dreams could have fully grasped the amount of diapers a less-than-15-pound human could go through. At roughly six to eight diapers per day (some days are 10, let’s face it), there is no limit to how many boxes of diapers I want stashed at all times. I personally thought putting diapers on our registry was tacky, but, my God, am I glad we did. A 164-count pack of Pampers diapers, size 1, will run you around $40 on Amazon; more if you buy them at a store. Buy two boxes of these and have them delivered to your friend. She will thank you when she (or her partner) doesn’t have to run to the local WalMart at 5am with the other psychos because, in their bleary-eyed state, they didn’t realize they only had two diapers left in the entire house.
Oh, and don’t even think about looking for cheaper or discounted diapers. We bought a certain celebrity-backed brand of diapers that were half the price of Pampers, and I still have sh*t stains on one of my blankets. That, and my son thought it was really neat that he could pee right through the back of them. It’s my personal belief that with diapers, you really do get what you pay for.
Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes, Complete Clean Scented
Like diapers, wipes will be your friend’s best friend once she has a baby. From cleaning up countless spit-up situations to wiping off crusty fingers to, yes, truly getting down and dirty during diaper change time, wipes are the thing your friend will need multiples of, multiple times per day. Go ahead and order hundreds of these bitches for your bestie. I promise she’ll use them and thank you for them.
Fleece Footie Pajamas
Simple Joys by Carter’s Baby Boys’ 2-Pack Fleece Footed Sleep and Play
Tiny outfits with pants and shirts and skirts are like, so adorbs. But for the new mom running on roughly two hours of sleep, they just aren’t practical. The first few months I’ve been home with my son, he has LIVED in footie pajamas. They’re easy on, easy off, and easily changed when he has a blowout. They also are a one-and-done outfit, which can be layered or not. He’s warm, I don’t have to f*ck with socks or tiny pants, and he, like me, can hang out in loungewear all day.
So this kind of goes without saying, but your no-longer-pregnant mommy friend needs wine. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive or from a boutique winery. Honestly, showing up at her door with a homemade meal and two to six bottles of wine in hand will have her in happy tears. Grab your favorite bottle, ask when she needs to shower and have a moment to herself, and either show up and take the baby off her hands or leave the wine in her garage.
Kindred Bravely Ultra Soft Maternity & Nursing Nightgown Dress
If your bestie is #blessed enough to have maternity leave, you better believe she’s going to be sporting a lot of pajamas and loungewear. Because bringing home a newborn kind of zaps your ability to dress up and look put-together, having loungewear that looks cute, fresh, and is super comfy is hella important.
The sets from Kindred Bravely (which are also available on Amazon) are buttery soft, comfortable, and look good whether you’re wearing them to bed or need to make a quick trip to Starbucks. The nightgown/dress above is cute enough to wear out with a cardigan or wear as a top with your stained sweatpants while hanging out around the house. I should know—I have it in three colors. If she’s more of a pants and top person, the Amelia Nursing & Maternity Pajama Set is a soft, cozy, quality option.
Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter Breastfeeding Cream
Listen, I know it sounds kind of weird, but trust me. If your bestie plans to breastfeed, nipple butter will be her new normal. Whether she’s exclusively pumping, feeding, or doing a combo, her boobs are going to be a little worse for wear. Since you won’t be sure of her preference or the level of research she’s done, grabbing her an organic nipple butter without lanolin (which some say can be upsetting to a newborn’s tummy) like the one by Earth Mama is a great option. You could even grab her a few nipple butters, some nursing pads (her boobs will leak whether she’s breastfeeding or not), and some cooling gel packs for a nicely rounded kit.
Synrroe Muslin Burp Cloths
Not so glamorous, but so, so necessary since your friend may have forgotten to put the good ol’ burp rag on her registry. These are used for wiping your boobs after pumping, wiping your baby’s face after he’s spit up, for cleaning up water spilled on the counter while you only had one free hand, and for all the general grossness that comes with having a baby. There are no less than five of these within my reach at all times.
Also—aside from the physical stuff, one of the best gifts you can give a pregnant friend or new mom is a listening ear, conversation, and lots of support. Mommin’ ain’t easy.
Images: Giphy (1); Amazon (6);
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