The Pregnancy Ten Commandments
1. The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is “Congratulations” with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you a jerk.
2. Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father- not grandparents. Unless the baby is in your uterus, or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase “my baby”
3. On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in #2, the pregnancy, birth and the raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it.
4. The body of a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other body. You would not randomly touch someone’s stomach if they were not pregnant, nor would you inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.
5. Likewise, no woman wants to hear comments on her weight- ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about to pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is “You look fabulous!”
6. Most of us have picked up on the fact that summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don’t need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes.
7. There is a reason that tickets to Labor & Delivery are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, mother-in-law or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt or genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents.
8. Like everything else in life, unless you receive an invitation, you are not invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital and the parents’ home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to “help out”. If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.
9. If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from various locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.
10. The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask you to wait 3 weeks to visit, appreciate that you are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.