When you’re carrying a baby you quickly realise that you’re public property. Anyone can touch your bump any time they like, and if they want to ask you about the conception that’s fair game too. I mean, we all know how babies are made, there’s no need to be coy…
I’m not coy but I’m also not fond of offending people, even if they’ve just said something that’s left my jaw hanging. As a hormonal pregnant woman I’m even less likely to respond with the honesty that’s holding back tears, so I’ve done what generations of women before me have had to do: I’ve learned the lies.
If you’ve had babies I’m sure you recognise some of these. If you haven’t then keep them in the back of your mind and listen out for alarm bells ringing!
What we say: It’s so lovely when the baby kicks.
What we mean: If this baby doesn’t stop sticking its feet in my ribs I’m going to vomit.
What we say: Haha, yes I’m sure there’s only one in there.
What we mean: Try telling me I’m fat again and see how fat my fist gets.
What we say: No, of course I don’t mind you touching my bump.
What we mean: If you stroked your hands over any other stranger’s abdomen you would get arrested. If you keep prodding mine YOU WILL BE GETTING ARRESTED.
What we say: My toddler’s always kissing my bump.
What we mean: I really hope my toddler stops headbutting my belly soon.
What we say: Yes, it would be lovely if the baby was to be born on its due date.
What we mean: GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME NOW!
What we say: No, I haven’t had the baby yet.
What we mean: If you think I would forget to mention the momentous occasion of bringing a whole new person into the world you probably don’t deserve to know when I do.
And of course the lies don’t end there…
What we say: Uhm, yes. I have had the baby.
What we mean: I GAVE BIRTH TWO WEEKS AGO! I’M NOT MADONNA, I DON’T HAVE A PERSONAL TRAINER, AND THIS IS WHAT WOMEN LOOK LIKE!
What we say: Yeah, he sleeps really well.
What we mean: My husband sleeps wonderfully. The baby and I don’t really know what it is.
What we say: Oh, the baby’s just dribbled on your shoulder, let me wipe that up…
What we mean: Oh shit, the baby’s just thrown up a whole titful of milk down your back. Don’t look! Don’t look!
What we say: Yeah, I’m loving being a Mum!
What we say: I love this bundle of joy more than I ever knew possible but sometimes – just sometimes – I want to walk out of the door, keep going until I reach somewhere quiet, and just scream. And scream. And scream.
What would you add?
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An idiot’s guide to talking to pregnant women