The Quickest Way to Ruin a Woman's Day
Don't do it!!!!
You think it's nice and friendly and acceptable small-talk but it's not. Never ever ever ever assume that a woman is pregnant.
"But what if she's very clearly at least nine months pregnant?"
NO! Only mention it if she brings it up first. Maybe she wants to take her mind off of it... or maybe she's NOT pregnant.
"But what if I want to give her unsolicited advice about parenting her baby?"
NO! Double no! Don't burden an expectant mother with your tips (no matter how solid they are) unless she asks. And maybe she's not even pregnant!
"But what if I want to tell her to enjoy her sleep while she can?!"
NO! Triple no! If she is pregnant, she probably isn't getting much sleep and her hormones may make her hate you. If she's pregnant she doesn't need your negativity. Speak positively about parenting IF SHE BRINGS IT UP, because again... maybe she's not even pregnant!
"But what if she has other children with her and I want to tell her that she has her hands full?!"
No! See above about being positive. She's not going to tell you how awful your job and life sounds, so don't speak negatively about her motherhood. ALSO MAYBE SHE JUST HAD A BABY AND ISN'T PREGNANT.
Okay, now that I got that out of my system. Here's my story:
I was at Costco buying a membership. I was excited to take advantage on their savings on diapers, wipes and formula. A cheerful middle-aged female Costco-employee was helping me, let's call her Deborah. Deborah seemed sweet and was a wonderful saleswoman. She really was pushing hard for me to buy the upgraded membership, and I was thinking about getting it, until she casually asked the most wretched question: "When are you due?"
Back story: This is October 2016. I am three months post-partum after having twins. This is what I looked like literally three months prior to this exchange.
I had already lost 45 lbs at this point, and was wearing a medium REGULAR (not maternity) shirt from Target and it fit well.
At first I didn't know what she was saying.
She pointed at my mid-section and smiled.
"Oh. I'm not pregnant. I just gave birth to twins recently. I know I haven't lost the weight"
*I wanted to just yell. I'M RECENTLY POST-PARTUM AND KIND OF LOOK FAT, GIVE ME A BREAK*
But I kept composure. Somehow.
At this point, what was really bothering me about this exchange were these things as follows:
1. She was a middle-aged woman. Even if she didn't have kids, I am definitely surprised that none of her friends ever educated her on the etiquette of never ever ever assuming a woman is pregnant. This sounds like something an ignorant old man would ask.
2. I'm ashamed to admit this. I really am. But I thought I looked amazing. I was wearing a shirt that I thought really flattered me. & I wore it with such confidence. UGHHHHH.
3. She didn't apologize after I told her I wasn't pregnant. Like come on! At least admit you were socially awkward and shouldn't have asked.
She justified her statement. "Oh I was just asking because it looks like you're wearing a maternity shirt."
"Nope. This is just a normal medium shirt from Target."
At this point I desperately just wanted the exchange to end and go home and cry. But she just wouldn't stop talking. She kept trying to up-sell me. After everything we went through together, there was no way.
*After five minutes of ranting and raving about the upgraded membership*
Me: "Yeah, I just want the normal one."
"Well what I'm telling you is that the other one pays for itself. It's the better option."
"I just want the regular one,"
"Well why? The other one is better."
"I have to go soon. Can I please purchase the membership I came here to purchase?"
After muscling through taking a picture with a forced smile and filling out tons of forms with her right there, I was finally free to go home and cry. & I did. Our exchange made me feel awful.
Once again, you don't want to do that to someone. New moms rarely get out of the house as it is. You don't want to make their time a bad experience. It's simple, don't ask, don't assume, and only talk about their pregnancy if they bring it up. (and even then, try to stay positive).