05/16/2013 05:25 pm ET Updated Jul 16, 2013

You Can't Say That to a Pregnant Woman

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I have been pregnant three times and delivered three babies. All girls. Now they are teenagers -- I have no idea where the time went but those are thoughts for another post. Each time I went through my pregnancies, I gained in the neighborhood of 30 pounds. By today's standards, that seems to be a pretty average amount of weight. (In 1965, the year I was born, my mother was only allowed to gain two pounds per month for a total of 18 pounds. She was so afraid of getting yelled at by her doctor that she would often fast before visits. Yeah, not a good idea.) I know some women gain more and some gain less. It is not about comparing. I promise you, Kim Kardashian, it is not about comparing, so don't listen to what people say.

But I will tell you that if I gained 30 pounds, it looked like I gained 100. I carried huge. It was in my face, my arms, my belly, my butt, my chest, just about everywhere. Needless to say, you could liken me to a whale, a house, or an elephant. Yeah, that big. Today's post is about what not to say to a pregnant woman. The first three are from personal experience. The next two are questions that you need to just trust me on -- don't ask.

  • 1. "Ma'am, do you think you could get off the ride?" This question is not a common catch phrase so it deserves some explanation. I was pregnant with my second daughter -- four days away from giving birth. I took my oldest daughter to a town festival. She was nearly 3-years-old and eyeing a little train-ride that chugged around the park. I bought us two tickets and we hopped on the train. We were holding hands and giggling, waiting for the train to pull out of the station. But there was a hold up. The train wouldn't move. The conductor got off the train and checked the engine, before attempting to start her up again. Still no action. Again, and a bit agitated this time, the conductor got off the train, fidgeted with another button or two, then got back on to pull us out of Grand Central. Still no movement. Finally, he got off the ride and walked down the line of cars. He took one look at me and said, "Ma'am, do you think you could get off the ride?" My eyes got wide, my brain a mix of terror (I can't leave my daughter on the ride alone) and embarrassment (I am not big enough to stop a train from moving). My daughter gave me a nod and a smile. "It's okay, Mommy," she said. I stepped off the ride. The conductor started up the train, and magically it moved, with a chugga chugga choo choo, around the park. I cried. I hope no other pregnant woman hears those ten words, strung together in just that way, while experiencing the same devastating results.
  • 2. "Where do you buy clothes big enough to fit you?" This time I was pregnant with my first daughter. Can you imagine? A real, live person actually asked me that. I was at work, putting change in the vending machine, trying to buy myself a Snickers bar (I was hungry) when the offender spewed out those words. Honestly, I don't remember my answer. If I know me, and I do, I probably smiled and giggled and avoided any kind of an answer. My answer I don't remember. Her question I will never forget.
  • 3. "I can tell you are having a girl because your nose got really wide." True story. Someone said this to me. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy staring at my deformed nose in the mirror, wondering how much wider it would get. And did its width really determine the sex of my baby? Apparently it did.
  • 4. "How much do you weigh now?" While nobody asked me this personally, just think about it. If you wouldn't ask this question of someone who isn't pregnant (and I am going out on a limb here thinking you wouldn't) then don't ask it of someone who is. You can think it. Wonder about it. Noodle it over. But for the love of God, DON'T ASK IT.
  • 5. "Can I touch your belly?" No. See above answer. If you wouldn't ask this question of someone who isn't pregnant (and I am going out on a limb here thinking you wouldn't) then don't ask it of someone who is. It is awkward and stalkerish. Keep your hands to yourself.
  • When you step near a pregnant woman do me, and pregnant women everywhere, a favor -- think before you speak.