How to Annoy a Pregnant Woman

Annoyed pregnant woman with mop

If you want to annoy a pregnant woman, start your conversation with her by reaching out and resting your hand on her belly. That’s a nearly guaranteed first step toward annoyance.

Recently, we asked our Facebook followers to share the most annoying questions they were asked while pregnant. These are the oh-so painful questions they were asked.

“Was it planned?”

Ask the pregnant woman if she planned her pregnancy. Don’t stop there, though. Ask her, “Was it planned or was it an accident?” Be sure to mention the accident. That’s important.

Bonus: if she has several young children with her, stare at them while you ask.

Bonus for store clerks: if you are a cashier and a woman is buying a pregnancy test, say, “Uh-oh.”

Ask about Her Age

Everyone knows that women are only fertile when they are 29 years old—plus they love talking about their age—so if the pregnant woman looks younger or older than 29, ask about her age. Say, “Aren’t you a little young/old to be pregnant?”

Ask about Her Weight

The other thing all women love talking about is their weight. When you meet any woman, ask her, “Are you pregnant or just fat?” If you know she’s pregnant, change that to, “Do you feel fat?” You could also keep your question more open by asking, “How much have you gained?” Everyone should be about the same size, so, if she looks smaller than that size, say, “Wow, you’re that far along? You don’t look like it.”

Bonus: scrunch up your nose after you talk about her weight and say, “What is your due date?”

Double bonus:  tell her, “You’re so big! Are you due soon?” Make sure she’s pregnant before you ask this. Otherwise, it would be rude.

Ask about Twins

While we’re on the subject of weight and the ideal size of a pregnancy, let’s talk about the comments everyone should make to every pregnant woman at least once. Ask about the twins. There are so many ways to ask:

  • Start with, “You must be having twins.”
  • If you feel confident she is having at least triplets, say, “Wow! How many are in there?”
  • When she tells you it isn’t twins, persist with, “Are you sure it’s not twins? You look like you are ready to pop.” Ask her again next time you see her. Same question.

Bonus for store clerks:  whenever you see a pregnant woman, say, “You’re not gonna have that baby in here, are ya?”

Ask about Sex

Don’t ask about the act of sex by which she became pregnant. That would be impolite. Ask about the sex of the baby. If that seems too direct, just say, “What are you having?” or “Do you know what you are having?” If she’s already annoyed, she might answer, “We’re hoping for a baby.”

Bonus: if she actually tells you the baby is a girl, ask her, “When are you going to try for that boy?”

Ask about Plans for the Birth

Ask the pregnant woman about her plans for the birth, then be sure to question her plans. Say, “Are you sure you want to have it naturally?” Not “give birth” but “have it.” If she plans to give birth in a hospital, ask the variant, “Are you sure you want to have it in the hospital?”

Bonus: follow up with “What does the doctor say?”

When You Meet Again

If you’ve already talked to a pregnant woman about being pregnant, acknowledge that fact by going out of your way to talk to her again, then ask, “Are you STILL pregnant?” or “Haven’t you had that baby yet?”

Share Her Feelings

Especially if the pregnant woman you meet is an introvert, ask her about her feelings. Ask in a way that requires a “YES” or “NO” answer. Say, “Are you excited?”

Bonus:: instead of “Are you excited?” ask “Are you scared.” It’s really important to name feelings and have her check them off one by one. Keep going until you find a feeling that she feels.

Or, You Could Try This

Most of these questions are just efforts of the person asking to get a signal from the pregnant woman how to react. That’s good. That’s excellent. You want to share. What isn’t excellent is treating a woman’s pregnancy like a public event. If she is a generally private person, she hasn’t stopped being private just because she’s making another human being. She didn’t stop being a person with a name and privacy to become a public character called “the pregnant woman.”

The best bet is to be neutral in what you say unless you know her very well—and maybe even then.

As one of our Facebook followers suggested, you might say, “You must be excited!” or “You must be happy!” A neutral comment will allow her to invite more conversation on the topic if she wants it.

Image © Andrey Zametalov | Dreamstime.com

Nonviolent Communication with Children

I aspire to meet my children’s needs through clear, honest communication. I first met attachment parenting while pregnant with my first child, and I first met nonviolent communication (NVC) while pregnant with my second.

“NVC shares two key premises with attachment parenting: Human actions are motivated by attempts to meet needs, and trusting relationships are built through attentiveness to those needs.” Inbal Kashtan

I have been practicing for a long time; I have taken classes and participated in discussions; I have read Nonviolent Communication with friends; I have read the book with my husband. I’m still learning. Every time I spiral back around to similar points, I am more sure that I am closer.

Compassionate communication is a practice not an accomplishment.

Mother and son talking
The Basics of NVC

The assumptions of nonviolent communication are that we as humans act as we do in attempt to meet our needs, that we choose our actions, and that our interdependence with others can meet many of our needs. The way to meet those needs is communication.

By sharing our observations (in contrast to potential judgments), our feelings and needs, and by making clear requests we keep our communications from being all about escalating drama.

As I sat down to write this post, my son grabbed for a book and turned to run upstairs where my husband promised to meet him to look at the book. We just bought a book with 3-D maps of the mountains around us. He has been wearing the 3-D glasses and looking at the book for several days. He didn’t run up the stairs as I expected, though. He sat on the floor and said, “Oh. Oh. Oh.”

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I ruined it,” he said.

“I saw you whip around with the book.”

“I thought I was grabbing the whole thing, but I just grabbed the cover. I tore the cover.” The cover was torn nearly to the end of its spiral binding.

“What happened?”

“I’m tired, and I wanted to go upstairs and get my pajamas on and read with Daddy.”

We talked through it. Knowing I was about to write this post, I was acutely aware of the steps of NVC. I worked to keep judgment out of my observations. I told him how I felt (frustrated). I told him I want to know that when I buy him a book he will care for it.

He does care for it, he told me. I know he cares about the book. He was very sad to have it torn. I asked if he could think how he would pick up a book in the future. He wants to move more slowly.

What I wanted to do was whine and complain, but I was more conscious of his reaction than of my own. I didn’t want to turn our discussion toward guilt, but I would like to keep books usable. I think he wants the same, so there was really no need to make the situation tense.

As we talked, I tucked the torn pieces of the cover back into the spiral binding. He was calm. I was calm. He went upstairs and waited for his Daddy.

Even after so long I have no confidence that I ever get NVC right, but, then again, I don’t find myself that concerned about right anymore. When I first tried to use NVC, I felt like my voice got lost in prescriptive language. As I become more familiar with the practice, I was less slavish in following the four steps. I still find them a good reminder, but I’ve graduated to putting my focus on the conversation and the relationship. My NVC voice isn’t the same as others. I’m happier with my NVC voice than I was with my parrot voice.


How to Find Your Nonviolent Voice

As I have helped others learn about nonviolent communication, I have come to see several factors as important to success.

  • Revisit. Don’t assume you will learn what you need to know the first time. Remember the basics and come back to make your practice richer over time. Like I wrote about with my Groundhog Day reminders yesterday, I try to take every reminder as an opportunity to refocus and make sure I am moving in the direction I want to.
  • Group practice. I have been in short-term and long-term NVC groups, and I definitely suggest finding a long-term practice group. It helps to have new and experienced practitioners together. Those with experience guide and model. We all move through the practice at our own pace. We share stories of our attempts. We role play to come closer to getting it right.
  • Respect your children. I remind myself that what I’m doing isn’t about NVC. What I’m doing is about my children, my love for them, and my desire for them to become good humans.

I wish you well in your practice. Have you consciously tried nonviolent communication with your children? Please share your experience. I love hearing how parents find new ways to connect with their children peacefully.


Resources

There are a lot of books and articles on nonviolent communication. Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is the foundation of practice, but I have focused in my chosen resources on articles that a busy parent can wade through as a beginning—before diving into the ocean.

Resources for Parents from the Center for Nonviolent Communication.

Inbal Kashtan, “Compassionate Connection: Nonviolent Communication with Children,” Mothering, 110 January/February 2002. An introduction to feelings & needs as well as power-over and power-with relationships.

Inbal Kashtan, “Nonviolent Communication For Children & Youth,” Nonviolent Communication. Excellent summary of NVC and using NVC with children.

Image © Sergii Shalimov | Dreamstime.com