Is Commenting On Our Pregnancy Bump Unacceptable?

There have been quite a few articles lately along the lines of “things not to say to a pregnant woman“.  But also quite a few about mums to be who find others touching their pregnancy bump rather offensive.

Woman with her hands on her pregnancy bump
Your pregnancy bump will attract interest

Why is it, having spent months and sometimes years trying to conceive and at a time when surely there should be celebration and congratulations, some expectant mums seems to join the ranks of the professionally offended and regard any casual comment or glance at their baby bump as a social faux pas of such magnitude that it borders on an insult?

I remember being about 4-5 months pregnant with Caitlin, having spent a good year or so trying to conceive after a miscarriage.  The Husband took me to a local Italian restaurant and we asked for a table for 2.  “3, surely” said the waitress with a smile.  I was absolutely delighted.

There’s no denying that pregnancy, and particularly the early stages, can be a rough time for lots of us.  Your hormones are all over the place.  You are too big for your old clothes and too small for maternity wear.  You’re still in the “intensive research phase” of working out what you can and can’t eat and are totally enthralled by the changes appearing in your body on an almost daily basis.

When you get to that blooming, glowing phase where your baby is developing fine, your scans are OK, you are happily nesting and putting plans in place for your new arrival, then others may notice and comment on your contentment.  It’s human nature, surely, to be fascinated by the most wonderful thing our bodies can do.

I do understand that, for some, any intrusion into their personal space may make them feel uncomfortable.  And to have your pregnancy bump clumsily prodded without asking you is a little rude.  But an interest in pregnancy is surely the most natural thing in the world.

Of course, some will want to touch your bump and see the baby kicking.  Seeing a foot push out of your belly is amazing.  Ieuan used to move about so much it looked like he was doing a Mexican wave.

Yes, you will be inundated with advice, much of it based on old wives’ tales, but most of the time, people are just showing an interest and for the rest of it, they are not sure what to say.

But to be offended by questions like “have you chosen names, what are they?” or advice such as “sleep when the baby sleeps” seems a little extreme.  Questions such as “are you going to breast-feed?” and “will you be having a natural birth”, on the other hand, are going too far.

Pregnancy is a stressful time but I think you have to let others in a little.

Having had my kids so late, I was well aware that both my natural pregnancies were miraculous and that I was extremely lucky to have the experience of motherhood.

There are thousands of women struggling to conceive, and some you probably know quite well, who would give anything for someone to comment on their growing baby-bump.

And if you think some of the things said to an expectant mum are beyond the pale, trust me, the some of the things said to us older mums are far worse!

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