What not to say to expectant women and new parents:
Expectant Mothers –
“So when are you due?”
Don’t. Seriously just don’t. There are three occasions when it is ok to enquire about this. Firstly if you happen to be an actual midwife and you are in a medical setting with no room for error. Secondly if you happen to be delivering an actual baby. And thirdly (although potentially still a grey area) if the woman in question has told you directly in first person narrative, with precisely no ambiguity that she is, in fact, expecting.
Following these rules avoids the awkward scenarios of you commenting on the neatness of a bump that turns out to harbouring slightly too many Mr Kiplings rather than an offspring. Or the “ooh you look like you’re almost ready to pop”………..”I already did, ‘baby’ will be five on Tuesday”
“What are you hoping for?”
Err well, probably a baby. But fingers crossed for a 10 speed jet ski in sky blue. There is no good that can come from asking this question.
Best case scenario: “well a little girl would be lovely but we’ll be equally delighted with a little boy”.
Worst case scenario: “I have informed Mother Nature that I will be delivering a pink bundle of joy. I have consulted with my solicitors and have an insurance policy drawn up should she fail to uphold my request. You have to let them know who’s in charge from the offset.”
“Ahh enjoying a last bit of peace before baby arrives are you? Good idea, after all you won’t have a second to yourself very soon, you won’t be able to go out then.”
It’s an impending baby not an impending apocalypse. Why do people feel the need to install horror into prospective parents? It’s the beginning of a new life, not the end of your existing one. Funniest thing was when someone made this comment to me when I was expecting Wombat (yeah, you know baby number 4)!
“Eating for two?”
Yes I bloody well am, and do you know what, just in case they happened to miss a foetus on the scan I’d better have another slice of cake to make it fair to the poor neglected imaginary twin. As long as they’re following guidelines, then pregnant women’s eating habits are not up for discussion.
The correct approach is:
- “I noticed you were running low of marmite to dip those gherkins in so I picked some up for you.”
- “Of course you can share my chips, even though you didn’t want any of your own ten minutes ago when we ordered.”
- “I’m not sure if McDonalds will put lemon curd inside a Big Mac but I’ll phone and ask.”
New Parents –
“Are you feeding the baby yourself?”
Don’t be silly, Janet from next door but one nips over every so often and feeds the cat and the baby. Of course I’m feeding him myself, whether that’s via a real boob or a fake bottle shaped one is really none of your actual business. Move along.
“Does she sleep through?”
Through what…….? Oh I see what you mean, no unfortunately not, sometimes I don’t get to finish washing my hair in the bath but she might sleep through a shower…if I was quick. She does sometimes sleep through Eastenders so we’re fairly sure she’s advanced for her age and destined for greater things in life.
Oh at night. No. Oh yours slept through from 2 hours old. Bully for you.
“Haha funny, what’s she really called?”
People get very defensive about their name choices. Never ask if they have decided before baby arrives as you will case a row, a scale of which hasn’t been seen since a rather disturbing episode of Jerry Springer in the early 90s.
Once the name has been announced the process is: smile, nod, smile, nod, bite tongue, smile, nod, send psychic sympathy thoughts to the baby, smile, nod. If it looks like a comment is expected then play safe:
- Ah how lovely.
DO NOT TRY:
- Oh um, that’s…..unusual.
- Oh well I’m sure she’ll grow into it.
- Really? Are you sure.
- You’ll never find a mug with that on.
“It’s natural to worry less about your appearance after you’ve had a baby”
How very dare you. I’ll have you know I brushed all my hair today and washed it (dry shampoo totally counts). I even shaved my leg. Yes leg singular. Who needs more than one hairless extremity at a time. It’s better for the environment. Probably. Oh my ‘I am 6’ badge? Well it was all Tesco had that completely covered the baby vomit stain on my top, I’m calling it ‘reliving my youth’.
“Well in my day……..”
Yes Ethel. In your day, 7 children rattled around unrestrained in the back of a reliant robin. Yes you never had sleep problems thanks to a drop of brandy in baby’s milk. Yes babies were eating a full roast dinner in liquid form by 3 weeks old. Fortunately things have moved on in 60 years.
“You’ll spoil that baby if you keep holding it”
Huh? It’s a not a dry clean only white silk blouse. The lady at Antiques Roadshow said it wasn’t a priceless piece of ancient Chinese pottery handcrafted by Tibetan monks. We got her to double check and everything. Therefore I’m fairly sure that no spoiling will occur by holding this baby as much as I see fit so kindly remove your slightly oddly nose from my business before I ping it with the strap of the baby sling.
“Ah before you know it, they’ll all be grown up and moved out”
Oh really, I don’t suppose you could narrow that down to a particular date could you? I might get a good holiday deal booking this long in advance and I can start gathering a mood board to turn their bedrooms into a museum of elongated snail shells, a Ghost themed pottery studio and a minimalist gym (mainly the spa and bar to be honest).
This is an non-exhaustive list please feel free to add you own.
Welcome to my world