7 Things You Shouldn't Say to a Pregnant Woman in the Grocery Store
People think pregnant women are angry. In reality, you're just the 17th person who has touched my body today, and I'm only in aisle three.
When I hit my ninth month of pregnancy (did you know there are ten months? Nine months is a conspiracy.), I made my husband come grocery shopping with me. Typically I did the shopping, because I got off work earlier and because I did the cooking, so it just made sense. But once I was approximately the size of a barge, it got tricky.
He happily tagged along. By the time we'd hit produce and tried to bypass seafood, he stopped the cart and said, "I don't know how you don't kill someone every single day." By that point, I'd been touched, questioned, prodded, and opinioned damn near to death. Honestly, I was used to it, but he wasn't. "No wonder it takes you an hour to go through the store," he said. "EVERYONE talks to you." They did, and generally I genuinely didn't mind, but when I was in a hurry, tired from a long day, and feeling the pressure to smile at everyone to prevent the inevitable "you look miserable" comment (thanks! Helpful!), there were just some things I didn't want to hear among the grocery store aisles.
If you're looking to avoid being throttled by a zucchini-wiedling pregnant woman, here are the topics and phrases I suggest you avoid.
Your Birth Story
Don't get me wrong, I love a good birth story. Tell me the tale of your painful, pain-free, crazy-nurse infested, husband-fainting hospital tale all day long while I'm at work or at a baby shower. But you know when I don't want to hear it? When I have two kids in my cart plus frozen food that's going bad by the second. Bonus points if I didn't even ask you, because you know I didn't. I'm in a grocery store! And there's no casual way to transition the conversation to a story that includes "crowning", "epidural", or "He had a big head. It was like Sherman's march through the South down there."
"Any Day Now!"
No, Brenda. Not any day now. I'm not due for five weeks. I have roughly 35 more days to roll out of bed like a tumped over turtle and try to decide if I can wear the one pair of pants that fits me again before people at the office call the adult equivalent of child services for unkept behavior. See also: "You're about to pop!" and "Boy, no more room in there!" and "Are you sure it's not twins?"
"You Know What You Should Name It?"
I'm not naming my baby "Cheyanne, but with an S" just because you, noble seafood lady, told me that your sister should've but didn't. I learned long ago not to share the baby's name with anyone (hell, we don't even find out the sex anymore!) to avoid collecting unwanted opinions. I'm a firm believer that if you put yourself out there, you're opening the door for someone to reply, "Aw! That's our dog's name!" or "Wasn't that the name of that guy with the creepy van in high school?", and frankly, if we ruled out every name that happened to be affiliate with someone that my husband or I ever dated, argued with, or looked at funny across the table, we'd be down to basically HBO-inspired fantasy names, and the world doesn't need another Khaleesi. Which, frankly, it doesn't, but if you want to name your kid that, go right ahead! Becaues you didn't ask for my opinion.
"Are You Trying for a Boy?"
This only happened when my daughter was in tow, before my second kid (who did happen to be a boy) was born. Luckily she was just barely over one, but I couldn't figure out how the comment wasn't supposed to be insulting to her. Also, if there's a specific way to try for a boy, I don't really want to hear about it in the yogurt aisle. Now that we have one of each, people have deemed our family perfect, so I suggest you try for that set up next time.
"See How You're Basically Round All Over? That's a Girl."
For my second and third pregnancies, we chose not to find out the sex. For the life of me, I can't figure out why I didn't just lie to every check out lady I encountered. It would've prevented so much analysis about my body, including "pointy" verses rounded shape and a debate among cashiers I had never met before about whether I had gained weight all over. Note to self: Going forward, lie. Yes, it's a girl. Yes, I'm due tomorrow. Yes, actually, it is twins. Yes, her name is Sheyanne. Yes, Yes, Yes.
"You Better Enjoy Life Now. You'll Never Sleep/Go on a Date/Eat Out Again."
This was my favorite. It made parenthood seem like a giant conspiracy that we were desperate to trap others into. First, we let everyone run off and get married. Then we pepper them with questions about when they're having a kid. Then, when they get pregnant, we cackle maniacally as we tell them how they've ruined their life, body, marriage, mental health, and job prospects, all while they're trying to pick a pasta sauce. Suckers!
"You Know What Causes That, Right?"
No, produce man. I don't. Please fill me in on the birds and the bees while you restock the apple selection. I've been looking for someone to teach my four year old about the facts of life, and here, amongst all the fertilized fruit ovaries with a complete stranger seems like the best place to start.
You know what is safe to say? Congratulations. With a big smile. If you'd like to contribute more to the conversation, then you clearly know me well enough to pay for my groceries as a baby gift. Just hang on a second while I go grab some wine.