I’ve been doing some lurking in forums and, cobbled with my own experience, I think I’ve come up with a pretty decent list of things you should really say to pregnant women.
First of all, offer all the unsolicited advice you can think of. Especially if you haven’t had a baby, but have maybe seen one sometimes, or if you have had a baby (because really all babies are the same), or if you had a baby thirty years ago, or if your neighbour had a baby. And make sure to use the term “making a rod for your own back” lots of times, if the pregnant woman even thinks of doing something you don’t agree with.
Share your horror birthing stories. A woman shouldn’t have gotten pregnant if she can’t handle what she’ll be in for. Sure, making her more stressed out about her birth could lead to a longer, more painful labour, but just think what a favour you’re actually doing her – she can now join the ranks of people with a horror birthing story! Just make sure never to mention the people you know who had a quick, easy, drug-free birth – that’s nowhere near as mentally stimulating.
Let her know whatever she’s going through in pregnancy is nothing. She might complain about being tired now, but that’s just ridiculous. Offer no sympathy. She needs to understand, multiple times, that pregnancy insomnia is just preparation for a sleepless baby, which of course every woman has. Any stories of babies sleeping through the night before they’re, like, two years old is a myth. Comments like, “HAH! Wait till you have the baby!” should be repeated often.
Be sure to let her know how you really feel. If you are upset because she is pregnant and you’re not, that is totally her fault for being so insensitive. She should have waited for you to fall pregnant first. It is okay to write snide obscure comments on Facebook that may or may not be directed at her and her working womb. Goddamit, she should have known better anyway.
Announce her pregnancy for her. Truthfully, she is probably wondering the best way to do it and working herself up into a tizz, so do her a favour and let everyone know before she has to (social media is a good way to reach all of her friends, family, and acquaintances at once!). If she doesn’t thank you, don’t worry, she’s probably too overwhelmed with gratitude.
Start some rumours. Everyone loves to be the centre of attention. She will secretly delight in knowing people are discussing how she probably just wanted government money for staying at home. It may be a pittance compared to what she was earning, and a baby may be a 24/7 job, but come on, don’t let truth get in the way of a good story! In fact, throw in there how she probably deliberately trapped her man into a relationship by getting pregnant. Because everyone knows it’s the woman’s fault anyway. Look, she may not show it, but even negative attention is attention, and she’ll love it.
If she’s struggling, let her know your pregnancy was worse. If she has had to take some days off work or even quit entirely because she can’t get her head out of the toilet bowl, the self-centred cow needs to understand that you managed to work all the way through your pregnancy, as well as studying, running an international charity, and training for Iron Woman.
Don’t invite her to social events in the daytime. If she can’t go out drinking at night like she used to, that’s her problem. In fact, she should probably go out with you more often at night, because now she can be your designated driver. It’s perfect, really. So if she says she’s “tired” or asks to meet up during the day instead, just fob her off and find some new friends that actually care about your social life.
Remind her that she needs a sense of humour. Okay, she may claim pregnancy hormones, but seriously, nothing is funnier than asking her, “Are you sure that’s not twins in there?” If met with a blank look, it may be just baby brain making it slower for her to understand, so repeat it again, and again, until she gets it.
Let her know abortion is an option. Especially if she hasn’t mentioned it herself. But if you feel she is financially, mentally, or emotionally unstable, or if you feel she will regret this baby later and should be following career and travel plans, or even if the baby may have something wrong with it and she has decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, please let her know she is actually being pretty selfish. She has obviously come to the decision to keep the baby very lightly, and needs your guidance. If she starts avoiding your calls, send e-mails. In fact, send her links to reputable clinics.
Ask to be present at the birth. Especially if you are her partner’s relatives. Go on – she really would love to share the moment with everyone! If she says otherwise, she’s just being shy. Too many people at the birth could make her tense up and have a long and painful labour, but afterwards I’m sure she’d love the relaxation of sitting back while everyone else handles her baby before her and gets their smell all over it and makes the moment about them. She shouldn’t keep such a precious time to herself.
If this is her third plus time she is pregnant, ask if it’s an accident. No-one would willingly want more than two children. After all, these days we have contraception. (Also, see this as an opportunity to start some more rumours, and call her a “breeder”.)
Let her know how grateful she should be. If she’s unsure about her pregnancy, bang on repeatedly about how at least her ovaries work, and how so many people want to conceive.
Dissect her baby names. Let her know how you, personally, really don’t like the names she’s chosen. After all, you represent society. In fact, suggest some of your own. Just not the ones you want for your own baby. If she comes up with a name that you wanted to use when you possibly have a kid ten years in the future, let her know you bagsed it first and she can’t use it.
Put her in her place. Everyone knows that when someone gets pregnant, their mammary glands are automatically open for discussion. If she chooses to exclusively breastfeed, let her know she is being incredibly selfish for keeping that bonding to herself. She needs to learn that this baby isn’t about her.
If her house is messy, she would appreciate knowing it. She may be “tired”, but that’s all the more reason to gently let her know her place has gotten out of control. She may have simply mistaken all the fluff on the floor as the dots from lack of sleep dancing in front of her eyes. Don’t offer to help her clean up, though – remember, women want to be independent. Just make your comments, leave the cup of tea she made you sitting on the coffee table in its little ring where you accidentally sloshed some, and go, so she can think about how embarrassed she must have made you for having to mention anything.
In summary, pregnant women do not make very good decisions. All those hormones floating around mean our baby brain makes us incapable of thinking about anything but what colour we want the nursery. We need as much guidance and advice as possible. Really.
(*Any sarcasm is directly in proportion to the seriousness of the reader. If in doubt, print out and iron to show the secret messages, then wash on a cold cycle and dry under the light of a half-moon.)