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Five things not to say to a pregnant woman

Amy Unrau at WDAY. Forum file photo

Dear society,

On behalf of pregnant women everywhere, I'm about to do you a favor. It'll help keep pregnant women and their partners or friends from talking behind your back.

I'm referring to all the cliches, unsolicited advice and questions people tend to say to pregnant women. I'll give you my top five cringeworthy comments and then offer up some alternatives.

First off, let's address the elephant in this column. No, I'm not referring to my weight — it's hormones. You might think I'm just souped up on these emotion-inducing chemicals. That may be true, but either way, it's meant to be a lighthearted and friendly public service announcement. Here we go.

Are you pregnant?

"The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club."

For those who don't get my movie reference, my point is don't ask a woman if she's pregnant. It's off limits, even if she's nine months along. What if she isn't? I can't imagine the wrath she'd unleash, unless she's a saint. So, follow the Fight Club rule, unless you want a fight.

Alternative: There is no alternative.

You look like you're about to pop

If you had a camera in my home, you'd think you're watching a National Geographic special on beached whales. I flop around and can barely get off furniture. I know I'm getting bigger. I don't need people reminding me how I can't fit into my pants.

I'm going to throw a friend under the "pregnancy no-no" bus. Let's call her Lucy. At one point, I told Lucy I had gained 10 pounds. Her reply was, "That's it? You're huge!" She didn't know any better. I laughed it off and told her how pregnant women are supposed to gain 25 to 35 pounds.

Alternative: I love your bump! You look great!

I don't like kids

I understand not everyone wants a small human who poops, eats and cries in a vicious cycle, but when you say this to someone who's about to have that madness, it's stressful. I've had times when I didn't want kids. When we finally decided to start a family, it was scary. It still is! Please don't tell expecting parents how much you dislike kids. They could be struggling with fears themselves.

Alternative: I'm excited for your family to grow.

Get sleep while you can

Good idea! Let me just open a sleep savings account at the sleep bank and store up some hours. When the baby comes, I'll use my sleep debit card to make a withdrawal when I'm tired. Nope. Not possible.

Alternative: Babies are a lot of work, but they're worth it.

You're not the same

A man once told me this shocking story. Let's call him Jim. Jim's wife was nearing her due date. She probably wasn't feeling herself, which is completely normal. Jim says to her, "I want my old wife back." Ummm, what? No you didn't, Jim. She's growing your child and all you can do is complain? Instead of getting your "old wife back," maybe she wants a new husband.

I understand it can be difficult for partners when the person they love has a tiny human sucking the life out of them. Your feelings are important, too. Just tweak the message.

Alternative: I feel so bad for your discomfort. I can't wait for you to feel better.

The moral of the story here is to think before you say something — anything, really — to a pregnant woman. Most of the time, we'll just smile and accept your comments. If you catch us on a bad day, Godspeed.


A pregnant woman

Amy Unrau

Amy is proud to be a Red River Valley native and cover stories that matter to her community. She was raised in Hallock, Minnesota and received her degree at the University of North Dakota where she participated in the student run TV show Studio One. In college, Amy met her husband, WDAY’s Jody Norstedt, while interning at WDAZ in Grand Forks. She started at WDAY in April 2014 and is currently WDAY'Z Xtra News at Nine's anchor and producer. Have a news idea? Amy would love to share your story or investigate an issue you’re concerned about.

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