What not to say to pregnant women

When I had my miscarriage, I received plenty of unsolicited advice, meant (I hope) to comfort me. This is your body’s way of getting rid of a baby with problems; it wasn’t meant to be; aren’t you glad it happened now, rather than later when you were really attached to the baby?

My co-worker, a woman who never wanted to have children, was the only person who actually got it right, when she simply hugged me and told me that she was sorry that I was hurting. To curb the bad advice, we created some lists of what not to say and what to say in common situations.

What NOT to say when someone is experiencing pregnancy problems

“If it’s meant to be, it’ll be.”

“Just relax, it will happen.”

This makes me so mad—not only is it insulting, but it makes it sound like this is my fault. – Stephanie Fosnight Regester, a youth pastor at the Evanston Vineyard Church in Evanston, who has been battling infertility with her husband for five years and is currently awaiting a foster child

“When are you having another baby?”

“I have some suggestions for treatments you should try.”

What TO say when someone is experiencing pregnancy problems

“I’m sorry for your loss. I’m here for you if you need anything.”

“I’m going to try to get pregnant. How would you like me to tell you if I do get pregnant?”

It’s horrible for me to find it out through the grapevine, I feel isolated. – Stephanie Fosnight Regester

What NOT to say to pregnant women

“You must be due any day. How much bigger could you possibly get?”

I had nine weeks left of my pregnancy. – Marci Lehnert, a Lakeview mom of a 2-year-old and owner of a catering company

“Are you having twins?”

When I replied, ‘No,’ she said, ‘Are you sure?’ – Ellen Sternweiler, Wilmette mom of an 8-year-old, 11-year-old and 13-year-old, and owner of The Sensory Kids Store, a store for kids with developmental differences

“I keep waiting for your hips to get bigger, but it hasn’t happened yet.”

I was six months pregnant, working in an office environment, when a co-worker said this to me. In that moment, I didn’t know if I should feel flattered or offended. – Melissa LaHann, mom of a 3-year-old in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood and founder of Happy Fig Latch Pal, a breastfeeding clip that keeps your shirt from falling down

‘Wow, did you plan this?”

What TO say to pregnant women

“You’re glowing.”

What NOT to say to moms in general

“Did you breastfeed your child? That usually prevents allergies.”

“Enjoy this time.”

This collection of words burdened me with guilt because I was underslept, overtired, maxed out and just trying to make it through the day. – Melissa LaHann

“It must be really hard to be a teen parent.”

This was said to me while my boys were having a tantrum at the supermarket because they didn’t get cookies. Oh, and I was 32 at the time. – Amanda Collins Simkin, a Mount Prospect blogger and mom of 3- and 4-year-old sons

“How could you make your child an only child?”

What TO say to moms

“It gets better. It gets so much better, hang in there.”

It was from a stranger at Starbucks, when my oldest was 21 months and I had a 1-month-old strapped in the Ergo. My kids were both hot messes, I hadn’t showered or slept in days, and I felt like frazzled sludge. That was literally the whole interaction, but that carried me through a few more days. Oh, and it helped that he turned out to be totally right. – Kate Rockwood, a writer and a mom of a 3-year-old and 1-year-old in Roscoe Village

“Let me take your bags for you.”

“He did so well on the plane. We didn’t even know there was a baby on the plane.”

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