When I was pregnant with my first child my husband and I attended a few parenting classes at the hospital. One day before class I passed a new mom sitting in a wheelchair with her brand new baby, waiting by the door for her husband to pull up with the car so the nurse could help her in. I remember looking at her and thinking, wow, I definitely will not look like that when I leave the hospital, noting the woman’s still large stomach and general lumpiness.
A few months later, the joke was on me. No one told me I wouldn’t be able to wear my non-maternity clothes home from the hospital – and it never ever occurred to me my body wouldn’t immediately return to its pre-pregnancy state the day after my daughter arrived. Maybe I had been living under a rock or missed reading the right helpful pregnancy book or had just not been paying attention to anything said in my prenatal baby classes because for some reason I thought I’d be able to wear my regular jeans home. Ha. I could barely walk after my c-section, let alone dress myself in something cute. I looked nothing like my pre-mama self. And in fact, it would be almost two years before I got my body back after having my sweet baby girl.
Fast forward to now and my eight-week-old twins. Not one, but four people have asked me when my baby is due. While I was holding one of my twins. Let me repeat that: Someone asked me when my baby was due while I was holding a brand new baby. Does no one know basic reproductive math these days? More importantly, does anyone have any manners? Yes, I still have a bit of a bump after delivering more than 13 pounds of babies. No, you do not need to comment on it. FYI – no one leaves the hospital in their skinny jeans!
NEWSFLASH: You don’t ask a woman if she’s pregnant. Ever. Nor do you have the right to comment on her pregnant belly or the size of it. In fact, you don’t have the right to ever say anything to a woman about her body and its current state of reproduction. It’s none of your business. Unless she brings it up to you or is currently in labor in front of you and asks for your help delivering the baby.
I had no clue until I had my first baby what a new mom looks like leaving the hospital or during those really difficult postpartum weeks. And I had no clue that one should not ask someone if they’re having a baby, or when they’re having a second baby until we went through four years of fertility treatments. I’d like to apologize to that woman my judgy self saw leaving the hospital that day and to everyone I ever asked about their baby plans. I’m sorry, and I didn’t realize.
Learn from my mistakes – you can now consider yourself informed: Don’t ask. Don’t comment. Don’t speculate and don’t assume. Especially when the un-showered, exhausted-looking woman in drawstring pants (not skinny jeans) in front of you is holding a brand new baby.