“Just wait…”

“Just wait…” and other horrendous things people say to pregnant women

Pregnancy has acquainted me with a phrase I have grown to hate: “just wait!” 

Let me take you back a few steps so you can understand why this simple phrase makes my stomach turn. 

Before becoming pregnant, and I’d say even going back to when I was a child, I absolutely feared pregnancy and childbirth. I used to tell my parents that if I was to ever have a child it would be through adoption because there was no way I was letting THAT happen to my body. 

When I began exploring careers based around childcare my fear only intensified, not because of the children themselves but because of the ongoing exposure I often had to pregnant women. I heard all the horror stories.

Oh the ripping… and the tearing… and the leaking… 

It was all too much for me, and I came to the resolve that if my destiny was to always be “fun Auntie Ashley,” I’d be alright with it. 

Then of course I fell madly in love, got married, and here I am, 38 weeks pregnant.   

Boundaries and other things people love. 

I have had to set up some serious boundaries around my pregnancy, and not the boundaries I expected I’d have to put up. I thought my biggest struggle would be people giving me unsolicited touches in the grocery store, and though that has happened once or twice, it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as people’s traumatic story-telling inclinations. Any woman who has ever had a negative pregnancy or birthing experience merely has to gaze upon my swollen belly, and all of a sudden I’m sitting front row for the re-telling of their birthing story. Instead of flicking hands away from my belly button, I have found myself stopping women (and sometimes men) mid-sentence to say, “I’m sorry, maybe this is a better story for me to hear after baby comes.” 

Here’s where the “just wait…” comes in. 

I have been working very hard to keep myself in a positive space about pregnancy and birth (hynobirthing is hugely to thank, but more on that later) but I have noticed a pattern develop. 

Whenever I am asked, “how are you feeling?” (or any variation of that) and I respond positively, the response is almost immediately receive is, “well, just wait…”

Person: “How are you liking maternity clothes?” 

Ashley: “Great! Stretchy and comfortable; I’m thinking about transitioning to maternity pants full time.”

Person: “Well, JUST WAIT until you’re further along; you’ll be sick of them.”

 

Person: “Being pregnant in the summer is the WORST.” 

Ashley: “Oh, it’s actually not that bad. We have air conditioning, so I’ve been more than comfortable.”

Person: “Well, JUST WAIT until it gets hotter and you get more pregnant. You’ll swell up and it’ll be awful.” 

 

Person: “How are you sleeping?”

Ashley: “Pretty good. I’m on summer vacation so if I need to nap, I take one. It’s awesome.” 

Person: “Well, JUST WAIT until you have a newborn. You’ll never sleep again.”

 

Person: “What’s your birth plan?” 

Ashley: “I’m hoping to try natural, and see how we do.”

Person: “Well, JUST WAIT until you’re begging for an epidural, because you know it hurts right?” 

Needless to say I avoid talking pregnancy and childbirth with a lot of people because it’s depressing AF. 

I’m a “7” on the Enneagram; don’t hate me because I’m a positive enthusiastIMG_0669.jpg

I am not delusional ; I understand things can be challenging. I also understand I have had a unique experience in that becoming pregnant was not a struggle, and my pregnancy itself has been pretty peaceful. But I don’t think these factors make my experience any less valuable, or un-shareable. I don’t want to live my life in an “Eeyore” state of mind: “it’s not raining now, but it will some day soon.”

I know things aren’t always easy, but I kind of wish more people could have leaned towards the positive side of the “just waits…”

 

Ashley: “I felt the baby kick!”

Person: “Well just wait until you look at her for the first time!” 

 

Ashley: “I’m trying to be positive about childbirth”

Person: “Well just wait until you see what your body can do; it’s amazing!”

 

Ashley: “I think my pregnant body is adorable!”

Person: ”Well just wait until you see all of the beautifully weird and wonderful things it does to sustain your baby; it’s a miracle!” 

 

Just wait until you see how beautiful all of this life is. Just wait for the joy, the excitement, the giggles, and the new adventures. Just wait! 

SO in celebration of our due date nearing, and soon getting to meet our little bundle, I’d love to hear your POSITIVE “Just Waits…” 

Let me have it. 

Are you pregnant?

I am not pregnant.

Just in case you were wondering.

I thought I would let you know because I am asked… often.

How often?

Modestly: once a week.

Let me repeat: I am not pregnant.

I know I am a married woman, of a childbearing age, but I do not feel these facts should give people carte blanche to look me up and down and ask me intimate questions about my reproductive health.

In my opinion, there is never a good time to ask a woman if she’s pregnant.

I do not care if the woman looks 10 months pregnant, and is waddling so hard it looks like she is crowning, I will NOT ask about her ripe pregnant belly until SHE mentions she is currently “with child.”

Until that time, I will carry on talking about the weather, and the latest episode of Broadchurch.

I have had a few stand-out instances when I was asked if I was pregnant.

Incident #1: I was registering children in for a church event. I was standing next to my very petite, very pregnant friend. She’s one of those gals who is “all baby” and looks like she’s got a basketball shoved up her shirt with every pregnancy. She looked adorable (and pregnant—not that I would have said anything to her if I was a stranger). I remember I was feeling particularly cute because I was wearing this flowy bohemian shirt. Flowy… not, basketball under my shirt. A father approaches our table; he looks my friend up and down, he looks me up and down, and then looks at ME and says, “How far long are you?”

I went home, burned my shirt, and cried.

Incident #2: I was dismissing my students from class on the last day before summer break. One of the mom’s came over to bid me farewell. As we stood chatting, she stopped mid-sentence, looked me up and down, zoned in on my stomach and said (in a whispered voice): “You’re not pregnant, are you?”

If you have to whisper it, you shouldn’t say it…

In my experience, when my friends are pregnant they are usually pretty excited to tell people about it. In fact, in many cases, it’s hard to get them to shut up about it. Which is wonderful, and should be expected.

However, if one of my friends does not immediately announce their pregnancy I am assuming there is a reason.

Jokes aside, pregnancy can be a really touchy subject.

Some people struggle for years to get pregnant.

Some people get pregnant but have suffered several miscarriages.

Some people (believe it or not) do not actually want kids.

I do want to have kids eventually. When I get asked if I am pregnant I take offence not because I do not want kids or because I have struggled with infertility but because it feels like I am being subtly told, “You look fat in that outfit.” In reality, I could have worse things said to me but I can not help but think about my friends who are actually struggling in this area.

So, in an effort to change the world, here is an exhaustive list to help you know when is a good time to ask a woman if she is pregnant:

  • She recently got married and should be pregnant by now.
  • She has a glow.
  • She is wearing flowy clothing.
  • You are related and feel you have the right to know.
  • She is starting to “show.”
  • She is really “showing.”
  • Her stomach is so huge she has to be pregnant.
  • She is rubbing her belly in a nurturing fashion.
  • You are so curious you can’t stand it anymore.
  • Her water broke. (At this point I would encourage the person to seek medical attention for their incontinence, not letting on any suspicions)
  • She is holding a baby in her arms… to which an appropriate response would be: “You were pregnant? I could not tell due to how thin you’ve looked over the past several months. Congratulations!”

Now go in peace.

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