I’m six-months-pregnant with my second little girl and even though I’ve been here before, some things continue to shock me. I forgot how hard it is to sleep despite the exhaustion, how often I would need to pee, and how strange the food cravings can be. But way more shocking than all of that is how creepy, weird, and downright rude people can be to pregnant women.
We all know that when you’re sporting a bump, friends, colleagues, and even strangers often have the weirdest things to say. But you know what’s bugging me even more this time around? The things they do. I try to keep my emotions in check, but when someone comes in with one of these rude actions, I must admit I see red. And no, not due to “hormones.”
I will never understand the need or desire to gawk at pregnant women. It’s not like pregnancy is this wild and out-there thing: if you’re alive and able to stare at a pregnant woman, then you in fact came from one at some point.
Our bodies are changing drastically. It’s uncomfortable and draining for most, and for some who’ve suffered from body image and eating issues in the past, it’s especially taxing and hard to take. We don’t want to feel like a spectacle, so please just stop staring. It can really make us feel self-conscious at an already vulnerable moment.
2. Not Give Up their Seat
I don’t need you to open doors for me as I waddle into a store or even help me with my bags. But if I wearily haul myself and the extra weight I’m carrying onto a bus, into a subway car, or over to the waiting area of a packed doctor’s office, and it’s clear I could use a seat, please give yours up if you can. Every mercy we’re granted (especially in the heat!) is important.
3. Touch Our Bumps
I’m talking to you, random co-worker. From poking to straight-up grabbing and fondling, this is just inappropriate. The only people who should ever touch my bump are me, my partner, and my doctor during an exam. I get that pregnant bellies are cute and fill people with excitement about babies and nostalgia about their own past, but it’s never okay to touch someone else’s body without permission. Especially if you do not know this person.
4. Mock the Waddle
Not even kidding, I’m still in my second trimester and I’ve already seen it happening. Last pregnancy, it happened as I duck-stepped around the mall at 38 weeks, but it was a couple of teenage boys so I begrudgingly let it go. Just last week I was grocery shopping with my daughter and a grown man did a fake waddle alongside me while snickering in my direction. WTF? Doing errands with a toddler in tow is tough enough when your walking is strained; who wants to be teased about it in the process?
5. Refuse to Serve Us Coffee
Toward the end of my first pregnancy, I made my (slow, painful) way into a local coffee shop and ordered a small cup of coffee. The woman taking orders refused to give it to me, saying that pregnant women shouldn’t drink caffeine. I was livid. Here’s the thing: You are not a doctor, Starbucks barista. My own highly qualified doctor says that one cup of regular coffee or tea a day is absolutely fine. If you refuse to serve me something I’m ordering, you’re questioning my abilities as a mom. Downright uncool and uncalled for.
6. Steal Our Parking Spots
If you’ve never been pregnant, you might not understand the need for “Expectant Mother” parking. Let me break it down for you by trimester: For the first 12 weeks, many pregnant women are so nauseated and exhausted that it’s difficult to get out of bed or keep down so much as water. If she makes it out for crackers and ginger ale and the lot is full, she needs a spot close to the entrance so she can jet in and out with a prayer of not puking. The three months after that, she stands prone to round ligament pain, a severe cramping in the abdomen, on top of bouts of fast weight gain that make her uncomfortable. And by the end, Mama is so round, puffy, and drained, every part of her body is crying with each little step. Do not steal our parking spots. There aren’t nearly enough of them, and we need every last one.