1. Due Date
Wait, when are you due? You have how much longer to go? You look like you're ready to pop any day now! Wow, I mean you are huge already!
Let me clue you in... a woman's patience is finite (and a pregnant, hormonal woman's patience is likely worn quite thin). Now that I'm nearing the end of my fourth pregnancy, I have become a fabulous liar about my due date. Well, at least to the random people I'll hopefully never see again.
It got to the point where I couldn't take the pure shock and horror on the faces of people who dared to ask, "So, you're due any day, right?" In my third and fourth pregnancies, I stopped being honest and simply responded with a big smile: "Yep, ANY day now!" and just prayed to God that I'd never run into them again. If I did, they would think I'd belong in the record books for carrying a 15-month-old baby in my belly.
How many babies do you have in there? There's no way you can only have just one! Are they sure you're not having twins? Is it normal to be this big, this early?
You've gained how much weight? Wow, I only gained 15 lbs. during my pregnancy, but really watched what I ate the entire time.
Can you still be hungry? Are you really going to eat all of that? You better watch it because you're going to have a hard time losing all of this baby weight once that baby comes. My youngest is 12, and I still can't lose the "baby" weight.
Ok, for your information...
Yes, I am sure there is only one baby in there, but if you'd like to accompany me to my next check-up, maybe you'd feel better asking the doctor or perhaps scheduling an ultrasound so I can prove to you that there is, in fact, one human being in there.
Yes, I've gained ## pounds and have ## weeks left. Is that OK with you? I certainly wouldn't want you to lose sleep over this tonight as you try to wrap your head around this unfathomable equation.
Yes, I am still hungry. Yes, I am going to finish all of this. And yes, if I have a healthy baby at the end of this when it's all said and done, then you know what? I'll worry about my baby weight then. But thanks so much for looking on the bright side of things and sharing your outstanding positivity with me!
3. Labor and delivery options
Hopefully, you get to have a 'normal' delivery? And if so, you wouldn't dare get an epidural, would you?
C-section is the way to go. Who would want to do the strangest thing in the world and push another human being out of their body? That is just so unnatural; I can't even bear to think about it.
Let's see here. My baby has one of two ways he/she can come out into this world. And if it will make your day go a little smoother, let's make an appointment so I can lay out and go over my entire birth plan with you, considering its utmost importance to you. And I mean, let's look at the options, here. Pushing a human being out of you or having your stomach cut open while you're awake... Hmmm, both seem pretty heroic to me in the scheme of the big competition that this all becomes. I pray to God I can make you proud no matter how I bring my baby into this world.
You poor thing. You look just exhausted. I bet you feel just terrible; you look terrible. Are you resting?
Aw. Your sincere concern is endearing. I'm truly touched. Thank you so much for pointing out how terrible I look because you know what? I feel terrible and massive and exhausted. And despite the baby not being here yet, I don't sleep. I'm up every other hour to pee for fear my bladder is going to burst or tossing and turning over a massive child laying on my sciatic nerve. But truly, I'm touched. However, it's nice to know how worried you are about me. My apologies for having to look at me over the next couple of months.
5. Size of your family
Was this baby even planned? You guys actually wanted another? How are you even going to afford another kid?
Darn it. My bad. I totally forgot to run it by you, our decision to bring another child into the world. I guess I also should have consulted you on what our birth control has or hasn't consisted of. Ahh, I hate when this happens. Maybe you should take this one up with God since it bothers you so incredibly much that I'm trying to over-populate the world. Wait... what's your name again since we're just now meeting?
6. Baby Names
So, what have you guys chosen for the name? Oh... really? I've never even heard of that before. How would you even spell that? That's trying a bit too hard, don't you think?
You know you're kid is going to hate you in kindergarten, right? That's crazy to give a baby that long of a name!
The name that I really love is ____________ .
Are you going to be the one raising this child and calling him/her by their name for, God willing, the next several decades? You're telling me it bothers you that we tried too hard or are deciding to spell our kid's name this way? Wait... you've got a point, you're right; our child is going to struggle writing this name in kindergarten. So you'll be here each day and night between the ages of 4 and 5 helping our child learn how to write and spell his or her name, sound good?
Society, complete stranger, dear family and friends: Our baby, our name.
7. What you do/don't do during your pregnancy
You know you're hurting your baby, right? You can't do that during pregnancy; it's not allowed. My doctor would never let me even think of trying that while carrying a baby!
I'll never forget the day a random woman told me, "You know you're hurting your baby, right?" I was carrying an iced tea (and yes, it had caffeine in it), and she acted as if I was sipping from a bottle of Jack Daniel's. "Oh, thank you, person I've never met in my entire life! I'm sure you didn't know I was just taking in my caffeine allowance for the day in hopes to help take away the horrific migraine I have rather than shoving a bunch of pills down my throat. But no, your words were of great help! Each time I ever sip an ounce of caffeine again, I'll know that I'm damaging my unborn child!"
Wait, really? Are you my doctor or spouse? No, first of all, you're someone I've never even seen in my entire 30 years of life. Pregnancy is pregnancy; however, we are going to have different views, our doctors may have different advice and each mother, unborn child and pregnancy will run differently.
8. Me vs. You
Well when I was pregnant.... When I had my baby....Since I'm the expert and know it all....
My pregnancy was much harder.
My delivery was much worse.
Oh, I'm sorry I don't have your medal handy right now. Every woman is different. Every pregnancy is different. Every delivery is different. There are scares, twists, turns, surprises and everything in between, and no pregnancy or delivery can be perfectly mapped out. Each woman's body is mentally and physically built differently and we handle situations differently. Period.
9. Maternity leave
So, how much time are you taking off? Wait, really... that's it? How are you even going to manage returning to work?
You do realize that babies need their mother with them much longer than that? It's so sad you can't stay home with your baby, but luckily, I got to.
Wow, thank you for making me feel so much better about having to leave my baby and return to work. Your words have helped reduce any and all anxiety about the thought of this dreaded experience ahead for me. You've completely helped ease my fears. (Wait, did this conversation really just take place?)
10. Your plans on how to raise the baby.
So, you're definitely breastfeeding right? Are you going to do what's right for the environment and use cloth diapers? You're not thinking of actually ever trying the cry it out method, are you?
Hmmm. Let me alleviate your intrepid concern and summarize it for you. I am going to feed my baby. I am going to make sure my baby's bottom is dry. And I am going to make sure I cuddle and nurture my baby and that he or she sleeps. Feel better? If you need more details, swing by at 2 a.m. one morning and I'll let you check things out first-hand.
Remember, no matter what relationship you have with the mother-to-be, you are not the be-all and end-all of information. If you're not asked, it's simple: Don't supply your two cents.
So, the next time you see a pregnant woman, smile politely, try not to stare too alarmingly at her belly as if she's the first woman you've ever seen carrying a child, and unless you have something spectacular to say, like how amazing she looks, just leave it at that smile.
Speaking to a pregnant woman.... strike that. A hormonal, pregnant woman.... no. Speaking to a hungry, hormonal, pregnant woman is one of the most delicate situations that you will encounter in this lifetime. You want to tread very, very lightly. Trust me: Approach with caution.
Long is a teacher, author, columnist, photographer, and most importantly wife and mother to three, soon to be four children under the age of 6. To follow her more closely, please see below: