On a small island where everyone knows all everyone else’s business, pregnancy is an excellent opportunity to bond with mums-to-be and explore every last intimate emotion they’re experiencing, right? Wrong.
Here’s a few things expectant women are sick of hearing.
1. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl! L-aqwa li jiġi qawwi u sħiħ!
And if it’s not? Newsflash: not all pregnancies are straightforward, and not all babies are born healthy.
Babies that need a little help when they’re born are just as deserving of joy and love as the perfect child everyone dreams of having. Rethinking your words? Good.
2. Maaaaa, how do you cope in this heat?
In Malta, in August, 8 months pregnant? Guess what? She doesn’t cope. Blood pressures drop, women faint, legs swell to the size of watermelons, sweat pours out of every single pore and every single extra comment is annoying. Guess like which one? Yep. Yours.
3. Was it planned?
It’s easy to understand why you’re asking this, since details like these are too juicy not to be shared with everyone and their nanna.
Seriously. There’s two possible answers to this. “Yes, of course, we’ve been having it off like bunnies at every opportune moment…obviously after I’ve checked my cervical mucus for its exact consistency; it needs to be stretchy and…oh, not interested anymore?” That’s the easy answer.
The other is “No.” Which could mean anything from “no, but we’re super happy about it” to “my career, financial status, family and social life are spiraling down the toilet bowl.” Do you really want to hear the truth? Thought not.
4. You’re so BIG!
Every man’s dream sentence, every pregnant woman’s nightmare.
Yes, she’s larger than she was a few months ago. Because there’s a human growing inside her abdomen. This makes things easier to bump into, shoelaces impossible to tie and back pain a daily occurrence. Want to blurt out another glaringly obvious sentence? Try “I’m such a moron!
5. It looks like it’s going to be a boy!
Hooray Sherlock, you’ve guessed correctly! Pretty amazing, considering you only had a 50% chance of getting it right. Either that or you’re completely wrong.
Whatever your opinion about “the way she’s carrying,” chances are that an ultrasound scan is more accurate than your particular brand of voodoo. So she either knows what she’s having or else has chosen not to find out. Your contribution? Zilch.
6. Let me feel your tummy! Xi ħlew!
How about – No? Just because someone else lives inside her tummy, that doesn’t give you a license to fumble around her navel.
Advice to pregnant women: when people prod your belly without your permission, just do the same back to them. Is it as much fun when she pinches your love-handles? Serves you right. Hands off.
7. When I had little Żepp, I was in labour for four and a half weeks and then I needed three hundred and sixteen stitches!
Oh really? How fascinating! That’s exactly what a woman who’s due to give birth soon wants to hear.
Your horror stories are not acceptable anecdotes to tell someone who’s expecting. Do you really want to make her more anxious as she heads into the Delivery Suite? I’ll help you out with that question: the answer is No.
8. U ejja! Just one drink won’t harm ta! / You’re having the ġbejniet? Mhux you’re supposed to avoid soft cheese?
I’m sorry, is your uterus feeding this particular child? Thought not. I’m pretty sure this mum to be has been to antenatal classes, spoken to a midwife or obstetrician or even asked Google.
Your encyclopedic knowledge of gestational nutrition is indispensable. Not. Her mouth, her stomach, her womb, her child. Her choice. Back off.
9. You’re having twins? Prosit! Was it IVF?”
Are. You. Fucking. Serious.
Again, let’s take the two possible answer scenarios. “No, of course not! I was planning to have one, but instead, somehow, two future screaming toddlers found their way into my womb.” Awkward.
Alternatively: “Oh yes! I’ve just spent years battling infertility, spent lots of money and took heaps of painful and uncomfortable medication and this is the result!” If you don’t already know the answer to this question, then here’s one fact for you to ponder upon. It’s none of your business.
Bonus: What’s the name?
Ok, so maybe we’re guilty of this one – but it guess it must get pretty tiring, pretty fast.
In short, different women may find different things embarrassing, annoying or even downright offensive. If in doubt, keep it to yourself. And remember, a pregnant woman is also a human being. Not every conversation has to revolve around her waist.