Please don’t tell the pregnant lady that she is MASSIVELY HUGE
I really love being pregnant. I reiterate my deep gratitude for being able to become pregnant, twice, at my age. I truly am enjoying my second rather benign gestational experience.
While I am often surprised and pleased by the cheerfully solicitous behavior of those around me, such as total strangers opening doors and offering to carry heavy things for me, and the smiles, and the good wishes, I am also amazed at some of the really annoying behavior that my pregnancy seems to bring out in some others, like:
I have a lovely patient who is a Reiki practitioner. I don’t know her that well as a patient, but she is pleasant enough. Last time I saw her in clinic, I was at about 18 weeks. At the end of the visit, she asked me, “What are you having, a boy or a girl?” I said we didn’t know yet, it was still too early, then I smiled and stood up to open the door for her. “Wait!” She commanded. “Let me see-” And she clapped her hands, rubbing them vigorously together, like Mister Miyagi in the original Karate Kid. Then, she fastened her eyes on my protruding belly like she might eat it, and grabbed her hands right on there, tight. I was so shocked I couldn’t move. She had no hesitation at all, and I felt kind of trapped. Her hands were really hot. She closed her eyes, and started murmuring: “Oh, she is so beautiful, she is so lovely, so much love there… She is very healthy, very active… Ooh she is adorable! Bless her, bless her, bless her!” and she released me with a triumphant flourish of her hands. I didn’t know what to say. “Uh, thanks!” I managed. “It’s nothing,” she said. “It is my pleasure to share this gift.” And she left. While I felt very awkward about that encounter, and sort of, well, imposed upon, I have to say I have never felt hands that hot before. And, as we learned in the 20 week ultrasound, it is, indeed, a girl.
I have a colleague who does not (yet) have children. She is a great person to work with. The other day as I was walking down the hall, she stopped me. “I just learned that you’re not due until December! I can’t believe it!” She exclaimed. I must have looked confused, because she went on: “I mean, I thought you were due, like, next week! I mean, you are huge!” Now, I get comments along these lines quite often, and I don’t mind too much. After all, I have looked much larger than my dates for the whole pregnancy, I think because I am really short (short torso) and also this is my second baby. But her rather exuberant way of expressing this was a tad difficult to take in stride. “Uh, well, it’s just the way I’m showing…” I started, but she wasn’t done yet. “No, really, I mean, you are SO MASSIVELY HUGE! You look like you could deliver any second! Like you might POP!” She was smiling and laughing, not really aware that I was somewhere between snapping at her or walking away. I did manage a tight smile, and a “Gee, Thanks.”
MORE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS
Many people like to share their labor and delivery stories. I love to share the story of my first L+D, but usually only with close friends, and especially only with people who have already delivered, as it’s kind of a long story, and it was fairly traumatic. I am acutely aware of NOT sharing the traumatic parts with first-time pregnant moms. The reason for this is all the people who felt compelled to share HOW AWFUL and PAINFUL and BLOODY their deliveries were, when I was expecting my first baby. One story, from a patient of mine, no less, went something like this: “Oh! This is your first! Well, with my first, let me tell you, I had THE WORST perineal laceration. I was pushing and pushing- and THAT was total hell on earth, I have NEVER experienced so much pain, I mean, I thought I knew pain, but that was HEINOUS. I didn’t think it could get worse, but it did. When her head came through, there was a RIPPING sound, like [storyteller makes a very wet raspberry sound and even spits on me here]. They had to sew and sew for like, an hour. And then PEEING afterwards! Oh my god, it was TORTURE! …Well, I only hope your experience is better.”
AND MORE INNAPROPRIATE COMMENTS
“Are you SURE it’s not twins?”
“You’re not going to name her after you, are you?”
“You’re not really going to take 3 months’ maternity leave?”
“Are you sure you can eat that?”
(In a public ladies’ room) “Can I go ahead of you?”
Now, I’d love to hear from anyone out there, what baffling/amusing/ insulting experiences and comments you endured during your pregnancies!
6 thoughts on “Please don’t tell the pregnant lady that she is MASSIVELY HUGE”
One particular uncomfortable comment came from a patient as she was leaving the exam room. She said…. I only have one piece of advice for you, maternity underwear. Then she winked at me and turned around and walked out the door. I was thinking….what? Patients, they say the darndest things.
i was a 4th year med studen, working on labor and delivery at 28 weeks. one of the nurses came by and said “aren’t you about ready to have that baby yet!?!”–you know you must look pretty huge when even an L&D nurse gets it wrong
I also got the “are you having twins?” question THREE times while pregnant with my first. Just today my patient put his very large hands on my belly and said “Hey little guy! you in there?”. I know it was kindly meant, but really, I wanted to say “Now, now. Remember – don’t touch the doctor”.
I have gotten a TON of the “you’re so huge” comments, and the pretend falling over when I would tell them my due date (this was when I was in the 2nd tri, today I can proudly say the due date was “yesterday” and watch the eyes pop out of the head & people back up as if my water is going to break all over them). A colleague told me last week that she felt really bad for me because I pop out so early that everyone can tell when I’m 3 days pregnant. I am short & small-boned & this was also my second, so I was showing before I even made it to my first OB appointment. Most people were polite enough to not say anything.
After hearing at least a 100 “are you sure its not twins” I got a new one from a patient’s mom “Whoa. Twins or triplets?”. We live in the city where a lot of people like to sit out on their stoops all day with nothing better to do then cat-call “How many you got in there?” “you look about ready to POP girl!” and my favorite “oooooh. I know what YOU’VE been doing!” (really, do you know about Clomid and reproductive endocrinologists and IUI?”)
How about this impromptu advice, given to me at 39 weeks, about bringing on labor (from a significantly older male attending; I’m a fellow): “You should have lots of chinese food or lots of sex.” To which I awkwardly reply, “Umm, no Chinese food, I’m supposed to watching my sodium intake” — in retrospect thereby implying that I might be following his suggestion to have lots of sex.