Why You Shouldn’t Ask if a Woman is Pregnant

Why You Shouldn’t Ask if a Woman is Pregnant

Four. Four is the number of expletives women who have asked me over the past year if I’m pregnant. Actually, that’s not true; two of those four women actually said, “When are you due?” and, “When is your due date?” while the other two asked if I was having another baby.

Let’s analyze that for a second. Two people just assumed that I was pregnant. There was no doubt about it for them. At least the other two, even though still completely inappropriate sought confirmation. These four all have something in common: lack of sense. I mean, they’re women! They should know better, right?

Here are the exchanges:

#1 – At work
-Woman: Are you having another baby?!
-Me: Horror. No, do I look like it?
Woman: No, no! Not at all…

#2 – At a baby shower
-Woman: So when are you due?
-Me: Oh, I’m not pregnant
-Woman: Oh! I’m sorry, I thought someone said you were.
-Me: *Smiles* Uh huh. Sure. 

#3 – At work
-Woman: Girl, are you having another baby?
-Me: No, just fat
-Woman: Oh! It looked like it.
*2 hours later*
-Woman: To someone else in the room. I thought Shannon was having another baby; she looks like she has a baby bump!
Me: Annoyed. No, that’s just my breakfast. I have a food baby

#4 – At work
-Woman: When is your due date?
-Me: I’m not pregnant
-Woman: Oh! I’m sorry. I must’ve heard about the wrong person.
-Me: *Smiles* Yeah, not me. Uh huh. Sure.

As you can see, 3 of the 4 exchanges were at work. Call HR, you say? Well, the funny thing about that is… well, I am HR. So, there goes that idea. Umm, excuse me, Self. I’d like to file a complaint.

It’s 2016. Don’t people know that they should never {and I mean never} comment on a woman’s reproductive status unless she first volunteers information and brings it into the conversation herself? I mean, seriously, people. Unless there is a baby visibly crowning, this is an off-limits topic, and even then it’s questionable.

But, this blog post isn’t totally about me. It’s about things that have been said publicly before and obviously need to be said again. So listen up, people! There are a myriad of reasons why these questions need to be avoided but here’s a few:

1. It’s Rude.
The first time I was asked, it had only been about 8 months since Sweet E was born. The person who asked me knew I had just had a baby. Nothing says, “I see you’ve not quite lost your baby weight yet” like, “Are you having another baby?” I never wore the dress I had on that day again. And, whether you think the person you’re asking is fat or not, the receiver of the question will ultimately feel that way for a long time after every time they’re asked. So, stop it.

2. It’s Hurtful.
No one wants to be told that they look pregnant, whether directly or indirectly, if they aren’t actually pregnant. It’s hurtful to women who have had babies but haven’t lost the weight they’d like to lose. It’s hurtful to women who have had babies, lost the weight, but have diastasis recti and can’t “fix” their bodies {more on that in a minute}. It’s hurtful to women who may have been pregnant but recently {or even not so recently} miscarried or had another form of infant loss. Your questioning is a painful reminder that no, they aren’t {anymore}. It’s hurtful to women who so desperately wish they could be pregnant but aren’t due to infertility or conception issues. Your questioning is a painful reminder that no, they aren’t {yet and may never be}. 

3. It’s Personal
Even if someone is pregnant, maybe they don’t want to tell you. Maybe you don’t need to know the baby’s due date, or gender, or name. I guarantee that if a woman wants you to know any of these things, she’ll tell you. Pregnancy {or the lack thereof} is a very personal thing. And while we’re on this topic, please stop asking people when they’re going to have a{nother} baby! Maybe they just don’t want to. Or maybe they just had a miscarriage. Or maybe their marriage is in trouble and the timing isn’t right. Or maybe there’s an infertility issue. It’s personal and can be emotionally painful. Just stop it.

4. Diastasis Recti
I could talk a long time about this but I won’t. Instead I will direct you here, here, and here. Basically, diastasis recti {“DR”} is when your abdominal muscles don’t reconnect after pregnancy or extreme weight-loss. 2 out of 3 mothers have this. I happen to be one of them. Aside from surgery, there is no cure for this. It’s the actual cause of the “mom pooch that won’t go away”, and is the reason “mom jeans” and “mom bathing suits” exist. I, for one, have never been more thankful for mid/high-rise jeans, flowy tops, and tankinis. Why am I mentioning this here? Well, because 2 out of 3 mothers can’t do anything about this and, as a result, may look pregnant and be self-conscious. Stop asking us.

There was an outpouring of kindness on my Instagram feed the other day when I posted that someone asked my due date at work. I’m proud to say that I weigh today what I did before I found out I was pregnant with Lady A back in 2012. But, because of my DR, I do have a bit of a slight pooch and so am very intentional about my clothes. I don’t wear anything form-fitting. Ever. The dresses I wear are either A-line, empire waist, shift, or trapeze style;  basically anything that flows away from the body. And, here’s a fun fact: to tighten up/flatten my midsection, I wear Spanx or some kind of shapewear every. single. time. I wear a dress, regardless of the outdoor climate. Also, anything “boyfriend” cut is also a big win in my book. Give me all the boyfriend things. So basically, I go through great lengths to make sure I don’t “look pregnant”. That said, I don’t appreciate it when people make comments or ask questions about my waistline. I’m already extremely self-conscious and don’t appreciate the reminder that my body doesn’t look the way it used to and never will again unless I go under the knife. Mommy makeover, anyone?

5. Other Medical Issues
The body is a crazy thing and all kinds of crazy things can happen. Fibroids, cancer, G.I. issues, just to name a few. Please don’t ever ask anyone a question that may make them feel like they need to explain their medical condition to you. It’s hard. It’s personal. Just stop it.

6. It’s Embarrassing
For you. For them. Why would you ever put yourself in a situation that may end up being embarrassing and awkward for everyone involved?! And, what’s even more awkward than the question itself is the backpedaling that ensues when the words “I’m not pregnant” are uttered. I will literally never forget any of the 4 ladies who have asked me. Seriously. It may be awkward forever. Save yourself, people!

Going forward, in an effort to teach people this lesson that they desperately need to learn, my go-to answer for any “am I pregnant” type questions will be responded with a smile and, “It’s a burrito!” With gusto, of course.

You’re welcome.

 

Share This Post:

48 Comments

  1. Roothie
    August 30, 2016 / 2:40 am

    I seem to put on weight around my stomach so get a little ‘baby belly’ (I have no kids). My worst “are you pregnant” moment came when someone asked me whilst touching my stomach! The woman had her hand on my cheesecake and chocolate fat! It was awful – for both of us!!! XX

    • August 30, 2016 / 7:46 am

      Cheesecake and chocolate! 😂😂😂

      What an awful experience. It’s where I gain weight, too, Mama!! So sorry that happened!

  2. July 16, 2016 / 9:08 am

    We cannot get away from the “So when are you going to give Blaire a sibling?” question. And fine! Maybe they genuinely care. But if we say “Hopefully someday!” DO NOT ASK MORE QUESTIONS. My favorites have been “Well do you have plans for another one?” “Are you trying for another one?” “Do you not want another one?” I wish I was brave enough to invite them to my next Fertility appointment, or to tell them all about procedures I have to have to remove the polyp from my uterus… Maybe someday! Or maybe just tell them we have prayed for another baby every day for over a year. But definitely, random Facebook friend, we’d love to share our family plan with you. But seriously. Thank you for sharing! This is just what I needed to read.

    • July 16, 2016 / 1:44 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with this! People mean well but can be so dumb. It’s infuriating. I hope it gets better soon!

  3. June 27, 2016 / 7:50 am

    It’s honestly shocking what people say sometimes. Like, really?! Lol. So sorry mama!! xo

  4. June 26, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    I live in dread every day that someone is going to ask me this. I’m 14 months post baby and cannot seem to lose the weight around my middle. There are plenty of days I look pregnant. I shy away from anything form fitting. Buying a swimsuit was a miserable experience. Fortunately, I’ve never had anyone actually ask, but I’m waiting for it. You are right on with this post!

    • June 26, 2016 / 10:50 pm

      I feel you! I wish I could say that it won’t happen but it probably will. Try to shake it off and say “It’s a burrito” if it does!

  5. June 25, 2016 / 7:56 am

    I just can’t even believe women do this! It’s crazy. Good for you for standing up for yourself. (And ps – you look amazing!)

  6. June 25, 2016 / 5:39 am

    People sometimes don´t know when to better stay calm.

  7. June 24, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    I 100% agree with everything said! Two months after I had my first baby I was in the bar for alumni weekend visibly drinking a beer and someone asked me when I was going to have my baby…..like I said I had given birth two months prior. I was mortified and we left right away. That one has stuck with me for a long time! Words can hurt and I agree people need to watch what they say. I think you look fabulous!

    • June 24, 2016 / 11:11 pm

      Thank you, Abigail! I feel like if it were 2 months PP I wouldn’t be as upset only because there’s an expectation that you’ll still have the weight left. But the fact that you were drinking a beer should’ve been a dead giveaway. People are the worst.

  8. June 24, 2016 / 7:36 pm

    Thank you for writing this. As a mother of 2 with a belly pouch, this is my worst fear. This has made me more obsessed with clothes than I already was. I appreciate you bringing light to this.

  9. June 24, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    YES!! Love this so much! Once someone grabbed my burrito baby and rubbed it asking when I was due. Seriously, hands off before I get violent.

    • June 24, 2016 / 7:41 pm

      What?!? Now that’s just some line crossing business right there. Completely out of line! I would have throat punched someone. You’re a better person than me. 🙂

  10. Juliet @ Bowl of Cherries
    June 24, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    This is so true! On the flipside, I could not believe how many people were so reluctant to ask me if I was pregnant when I actually was. They always prefaced it with, “i’m so sorry, but . . . ” luckily I was actually pregnant so it was a nice conversation we had. It could have definitely just been a burrito day though, also! Great post.

    • June 24, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      Ha! I didn’t have that experience at all. When I was pregnant I used to get, “Are you sure there’s only one in there?” and “You’re about to pop” and even, “You’re huge!” One time an old man in the grocery store told me I needed to go home. I can’t make this stuff up. I’m glad you had the opposite! xo

  11. Rose M Martin
    June 24, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    I wish this blog and others like it had been available to my generation. Most of us suffered in silence and felt very alone.
    KEEP WRITING!

  12. June 24, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    The bottom line is that if you have to ask, don’t. You can usually tell when someone is pregnant but if you are iffy on the answer take the safe way out and don’t ask.

    • June 24, 2016 / 1:46 pm

      That’s a good rule of thumb! I would venture to say not to ask at all, though. For example, someone close to me had a medical condition that caused them to have extreme bloating and they legit looked 7-8 months pregnant all the time and people made pregnancy comments about it a lot. There’s also people who suffer from late term infant loss and still look pregnant for a long time afterward. Being asked is a painful reminder of their loss.

  13. June 24, 2016 / 11:24 am

    Yes! I have no idea why people think it’s their place to ever make these comments. Even though I have four amazing girls (that I did not give birth to), the one I get is: when are you going to have a baby of your OWN? They are my own, please stop speaking now. 🙂

  14. June 24, 2016 / 10:51 am

    Ugh! and most of all, it’s just RUDE!

  15. brittanyputman15
    June 24, 2016 / 10:28 am

    I love this! My older sister has a 2 week old newborn and my baby sister just announced that she is pregnant. If one more person asks me when I’m having one I might just lose it.

  16. Naomi
    June 24, 2016 / 9:43 am

    You go girl! I have DR too…it sucks! And it’s really hard for me to lose the last few lbs while breastfeeding as well. This issue of asking, bothered me a little until recently. Now I get seriously angry about it because as soon as my poor sister got married (like first Sunday back at church from her honeymoon) people were relentlessly asking her if she was pregnant – HOW WOULD SHE EVEN KNOW?!?! And why would she tell that early anyway?? All those people did was make a newlywed, who’s going through tons of changes anyway, insecure and emotional!! *rant over* thanks for the post!! 😊

  17. June 24, 2016 / 9:22 am

    I love this! As a mom of a 6 month old I still haven’t lost all of my baby weight and I keep waiting for someone to ask me if I’m pregnant!

    • June 24, 2016 / 12:33 pm

      I’m sure it will happen, unfortunately, but I’m so glad it hasn’t yet! Just keep “It’s a burrito!” in your back pocket as your answer. 🙂

  18. June 24, 2016 / 8:17 am

    Ugh that is so rude! I was a witness of this happening and it made ME uncomfortable hearing it! I once got my nails done with my SIL and the nail tech asked her “when are you due?” She then goes, “oh, I’m not pregnant.” Nail tech responds with “oh you look like it!” So embarrassing and so rude. Just don’t do it. At all! Lol.

  19. June 24, 2016 / 3:37 am

    Absolutely right! Your reasons are spot on. I NEVER assume that I can tell whether or not a woman is pregnant – I’m just not going to put either of us in an uncomfortable position like that. :/

  20. June 24, 2016 / 12:57 am

    Totally agree with you. Mine is when they ask me when to have a baby. Is it really an obligation to have babies? *sighs*

I love to hear from you!