When a woman gets pregnant, she has to eat more to nourish the baby. Her belly expands as the baby develops. Sometimes other body parts expand too. She may have the perfect pregnancy. She may not. Every pregnancy is different. Doctor's advice varies from pregnancy to pregnancy and doctor to doctor. And meanwhile, she is trying to dress this unfamiliar body and maintain some level of dignity while often shelving her favorite heels in favor of more sensible flats.
That's a lot for anyone to handle. But now add to all of her physical and mental changes the fact that people think it's okay to comment on her size, her habits and just about every bit of her life ... it's not right.
So, what is the right thing to say?
Just because a pregnant woman's belly is getting big doesn't mean that you should just say it with glee. It's probably not the thing she wants someone else to toss in her face.
Erase the notions of 'getting big' or being 'huge' and just change how you think about the pregnant body.
"I hated being told that I was getting so big. No woman, no matter how pregnant, wants to hear that she's getting huge. It drove me nuts. It does zilch for your self-esteem especially when it's coming from skinny women! I had one co-worker who had two kids of her own already grown and she really loves motherhood. She never told me I was getting big or huge or giant. She always came over and just told me I was "blossoming". I thought it was the sweetest way in the world to describe what was happening to my body. It made me feel beautiful and reminded me that I was getting bigger for a great reason," said Carla Molina Martins.
Also, if she looks great, just tell her so.
Pregnant women have a certain look about them. It's a radiance, a glow. Capitalize on that to offer a compliment that will really make her feel good."The best compliment was from an unfamiliar woman who approached me in the grocery store when I was about eight or nine months pregnant. She said, 'I just want to let you know how beautiful you look!' It felt good because at that late stage of the pregnancy, I felt very large and unattractive," said life coach Robin Belkin of MyVeryOwnCoach.com.
Another way to make her smile about her glow is to say something really nice about her attitude.
"The best compliment I've received while pregnant is 'you are the happiest pregnant woman I've ever seen.' I have wanted to experience this miracle for so long and didn't want to complain about the little aches and pains that accompany it. It was nice to hear that I looked grateful for the blessing inside of me," said Ansley Welchel.
Have a birth horror story? Were you on bedrest for a zillion years? Did you not see your feet for months? She doesn't really want to hear the worst things about your pregnancy. So, instead of telling her how awful labor was, share good wishes. "I always tell pregnant women, 'May your labor be easy and may your joy be a thousand times what you expected it would be.' I always get a smile," says Sharon Campbell.
While misery may love company, let her bask in the joy of her own experiences.
"A co-worker inquired about my due date and after my response, I started to prepare myself for what always follows, another tale of childbirth horror. Much to my surprise, this women told me that the story of my daughter's birth was going to be unique to me and very special and that I shouldn't let anyone else influence my experience or tell me the story before it happens. She said that the birth of every child is different and I should disregard all stories I hear from other women and let my daughter's birth just happen. That was the kindest and best advice I ever received when I was pregnant. Unless someone asks, I don't share my birth story," said Kimberly Day.
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