Guest Post: Almost Everyone who Interacts with a Pregnant Woman is Drunk

by MargaretOH

I’m pregnant, due in February with my third child.  That’s all I feel comfortable telling you, although the chances are good, if you’re like the majority of people I interact with these days, you’ll want to know more.  Much more.  And you’ll probably ask in the rudest, most intrusive way possible.

When exactly are you due?

Are you sure you’re not having twins?

Did you get pregnant on purpose?

I’m an introvert and I realize that I’m more sensitive than most about being the focus of attention when I walk in the room.  I don’t like discussing private concerns with most of my friends, let alone complete strangers.  And yet, I know I’m not unique in my frustration with the lack of privacy pregnant women receive.  The hands on the belly, the constant comments about body size, the unfiltered questions—every pregnant woman I’ve ever talked with is bothered by these impositions.

I recently came up with a strategy for dealing with this behavior.  I imagine that everyone I talk to is a little (or a lot) drunk.  Alcohol consumption is the only other social situation, besides pregnancy, in which we’re all expected to have patience with the total lack of inhibition or politeness from strangers.  It’s not their fault.  They’re just drunk.

So when I’m walking down the sidewalk and a stranger shouts from the other side of the street, “When are you due?  You look like you’re going to burst!”  I don’t get annoyed. I just imagine that they’ve just left the ballpark and are randomly shouting “Let’s go Orioles!” because they had a few too many.  When the librarian checking out my books asks for my due date and then says, “Are you sure you got just one baby in there?” I think, “Poor woman. Tipsy at work.  She’ll sober up when I leave.”  I think of my swollen belly as radiating some kind of fermented radio waves that make everyone feel just a bit sloshed.  It’s not their fault.  They can’t resist the effects of pregnancy drunkenness.

A friend of mine had a due date of December 20.  When a patient of hers asked when she was due and she told him, he responded, “Well that was certainly poor planning!”  Pregnancy plastered.

The produce guy at the grocery store looked at me disbelievingly and said, “Are you pregnant again?!  How many kids are you going to have?”  Pregnancy bombed.

While shopping for a crib, a friend of mine was approached by a complete stranger and asked, without any preface, whether she was planning on “delivering vaginally or by C-section.” Pregnancy smashed.

What’s your best inappropriate question/comment you’ve received about pregnancy?

I’ll start.  When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was horribly sick and in graduate school.  I regularly had to leave class to throw up and sometimes I didn’t make it to the bathroom.  Once one of my classmates walked out of class and saw me throwing up in a trash can in the hallway.  I know I looked terrible and he regarded me with a kind of horror.  Worried that he thought I was infecting everyone with the flu, I said weakly, “It’s okay.  I’m not sick.  I’m just pregnant.”  If anything, the look of horror deepened.  Finally he said, “Are you going to keep it?”

It wasn’t his fault.  I was the one throwing up, but he was the one who was drunk.

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39 Responses

  1. Em says:

    That is a good strategy, I hadn’t thought of that! I’m due in March, and I have been pretty consistently sick throughout, vomiting my way through the holiday season. At a party a friend who KNOWS I’ve been sick came running toward me hands out at my belly waving them like she was planning to shake me like a cocktail. I instinctively deflected her physically and managed to get her to hug me (you know, the human she knows) instead. It would have served her right if she got what happens when you wobble me around. I hate the commentary on my body. When else do you just comment on the size of someone’s breasts over dinner? Or take pictures of someone’s body without permission or subtlety? Hmph. Everyone is drunk.

  2. oregonmum says:

    I’m due in April with my fourth (and last) baby. A single male co-worker said that he didn’t need to worry about having kids because I was taking care of the global population overload. Yeah. To myself I’m thinking “I’m glad you think that way, because I’m pretty sure you’d suck at being a dad, and I can see why you’re still single.” But not being pregnancy drunk myself, I righteously filtered the brain-mouth connection.

    • MargaretOH says:

      Ugh. That sounds less like unwitting-pregnancy-drunk rudeness and more like deliberate-passive-aggressive rudeness. Best wishes for you and your baby!

  3. Kirsten says:

    I was asked if I had swallowed a watermelon with my first pregnancy and if my second pregnancy was an accident… Sigh

    • Amelia says:

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  4. Em says:

    I wonder how rude it would be to just ask “are you drunk?” when people start acting wildly inappropriately around pregnant people. Just a little reminder about how normal sober humans behave…

    • MargaretOH says:

      I have often replied to rude questions with a wide-eyed look and genuinely curious smile, “Why do you ask?” It takes people off-guard and usually prompts them to realize that their question is inappropriate and unnecessary.

  5. Melody says:

    This is hilarious! I love the whole idea. .. I wish I had stories to share, but it’s been far too long since my pregnancy days. Good luck with yours. Keep smiling. (Or cursing under your breath. Which ever works.)

  6. violadiva says:

    An older guy from church asked me (a few weeks away from delivering), “Now, you’ll let us all know when you foal, won’t you?”

    I said, “No. I will not do that. I am not a horse. I am having a child — a human child, and for that remark, I may not tell you when I do.”

    Another time someone texted me (when I wasn’t pregnant….just hanging on to the last few pounds from the last one) and said, “I saw that picture of you and wondered if there’s something you’re hiding? You don’t have to keep it quiet from me, I would be thrilled for you, regardless what happens with my pregnancy.”

    Comparing me to a horse. Calling me fat, and then making it about herself — the only explanation that makes sense is: Pregnancy Beer Goggles.

    • Caroline says:

      Totally laughing, ViolaDiva. I love all these stories!

      I’m sure people said inappropriate things to me, but luckily I think I’ve blocked them out of my memory. 🙂

  7. Julianne says:

    The bishop in my ward was the worst: from my 5th month onwards, he would remark EVERY SUNDAY on how I was putting on weight. I’m like, yup – it’s called a baby. Your wife had 8. Didn’t you learn some discretion then? And when I went overdue, he kept “joking” with me saying that I would be pregnant forever. Oh man.

    A co-worker also kept telling me for the last 2 months that he was going to bring in a wheelbarrow to help cart me around soon. (And then began qualifying it by saying “oh, but don’t worry, I’ve seen women who are bigger.”) GAH.

    But my favourite is when I sat down in a cafe and the young dude next to me looked in awe, and stated “you’re about to burst!” His girlfriend shut him down immediately and said how rude it was, and turned to me and sighed, “only a guy would say something so lame.” (I wish that were true, but glad I was at least stood up for 🙂

    (p.s. not that this matters in the least – but my midwife was actually concerned because my bump was measuring small. I put on a total of 20 pounds in my pregnancy. I realised it’s just the bump, no matter it’s size, that throws people off. No one is actually that huge. We are just pregnant for heaven’s sake.)

    • MargaretOH says:

      Oh, I should have included the senior missionary in our ward who, every week for probably two months before my son was born, would say, “Well, I certainly didn’t expect to see YOU here this week. When are you going to have that baby?” There was actually a week that I skipped church because I just couldn’t bear hearing that same comment.

      And there was the time that my sister-in-law’s neighbor walked into her kitchen where I was chopping vegetables. I was overdue and it was one of the hottest springs on record (96 degrees every day). He said, “You look uncomfortably large.” I had to consciously refrain from throwing my chopping knife at him.

      Thanks for the stories!

  8. Trudy says:

    People get pregnancy drunk if they even suspect pregnancy. A few years ago, I had a medical condition that, among other things, caused nausea and weird food cravings.

    One morning at work, I was eating ranch Doritos and gummy bears for breakfast. A colleague called out “are you pregnant?” I responded that I wasn’t, and he asked if I was sure. I said I was quite sure. (Since I wasn’t pregnancy drunk, I refrained from informing him that humans don’t reproduce by parthenogenesis.)

    Poor guy. Sloshed at 8 in the morning.

  9. Annie says:

    So funny! I will tell my pregnant client’s this strategy, I’m a midwife. I’ve heard it all. I have so many stories. It just got worse as I had more babies. After my second baby, so many people said, “you have a boy and a girl now you can stop.” Then we got eyebrows raised when I was pregnant with baby number three. Apparently, number four is the threshold for crazy land. The very first thing my boss said when I told her I was pregnant was, “was that planned?!” Shall I discuss my sex life with you? I think not.

    • Stargazer says:

      Haha! I am also a midwife! I will definitely file this away as a “technique…”

      The rudest comment was from an older family member who we saw exactly 6 weeks after my wedding day, who came and put his hand on my belly and said, “you’re not pregnant yet?” Agh! Still makes me mad.

  10. Emily U says:

    Near then end of the first trimester with my first, a woman at church said, referring to my clothes, “Come on Emily, you can’t hide it forever!” As if I was a pregnant teenager or something? I wasn’t wearing maternity clothes yet, because I didn’t have any yet (we were students, small clothing budget). It made me feel ashamed of myself in some weird, totally unnecessary way. I should have chalked it up to pregnancy goggles.

  11. EmilyCC says:

    I can’t think of any gems from when I was pregnant, but I do remember a couple people saying, “Wow! You have porn star boobs!” while I was nursing. Some people just don’t know when it’s time to admit they have a problem…

  12. Stacy says:

    I have some gems. (This is of course what happens when you’re pregnant 8 times and everyone around you is drunk!)

    First pregnancy ended in miscarriage, and it was pretty traumatic for me, emergency surgery in the ER, etc. My VT’ers came over and had no idea that it had happened. I told them I had miscarried and one of them says to me, “Well, at least you have nice couches.”

    I was working through my pregnancy with my first daughter, and on the way to the bathroom, a male coworker says “we should just move your office closer to the bathroom, since you’re making so many trips there.” Um, why are you monitoring my bathroom habits, creepy stalker sexual harassment man?

    And bless my sweet supportive husband, when I got pregnant with my 4th son, I was about 6 weeks along when he says “Honey, you’re just not hiding it very well this time around.” So even husbands get to get pregnancy drunk.

    I stopped going to church almost entirely this last time around. I would show up to sacrament meeting during the opening hymn and leave during the closing so I didn’t have to talk to anyone. People at church are sometimes the most drunk.

    • MargaretOH says:

      Maybe the lack of built-up tolerance to alcohol makes Mormons even more susceptible to pregnancy drunkenness?

      Your story about your visiting teachers is unbelievably horrible. I’m so sorry.

  13. Liz says:

    I had a woman in the produce section ask if I was due soon, and I was only 17 weeks. Then she loudly announced that I was DEFINITELY having a boy, because I was carrying the whole pregnancy in my butt. Then she asked me if I’ve had a “mammygram” lately, and proceeded to demonstrate said “mammygram” on herself by squishing her boobs in different directions.

    I think she might’ve *actually* been drunk. But either way…

    • Lakesha says:

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  14. Lonicera says:

    I got pregnant within a month of getting married. During that pregnancy, some ward members would ask when I was due, then count backwards on their fingers to see if the dates lined up. Tipsy enough to be tactless.

    Another time, I was pregnant with #3 while the first two were still toddlers. We were on the city bus and a random guy asked me if I knew how to say “no.” Definitely drunk.

  15. Pepper S. says:

    I’m right there with you – 8 months with my third and SO ready to have my identity back.

    The worst comment I got was one week after my last child was born, being asked “Are you sure you didn’t have twins? I think they left one in there!!”

    I’ve gotten so sick of the “When are you due” question this time around that I’ve started pretending to misunderstand the question as “What do you do?” Then I attempt to describe my profession and business endeavors until they stop to correct me. Then I say “OH! Sorry, I thought you might be treating me like a normal person or something.” This is very effective in getting conversations back on track, I highly recommend it.

    • Pepper S. says:

      Almost forgot the sister who stopped me several months ago and asked if I was expecting. I told her I was, to which she acted SO relieved and said “Whew! I was watching you last Sunday thinking ‘Oh my – Pepper is starting to get kind of heavy!'”

      This woman happens to weigh over 400lbs.

      And an all-time favorite was a young guy who sat next to me in a lab class during my third trimester. I had a very, very active baby that time around and at one point this guy dropped everything he was doing and scooted his chair away from me, staring in horror. “Your belly just MOVED. By ITSELF.” I tried to explain that yes, it really is a real living person in there, but he still packed up his stuff and moved to another station. It totally cracked me up.

  16. Marilyn says:

    I can’t resist adding this. My first two children were just a year apart, and when I was six months pregnant with the second, I was shopping at an upscale department store. I had one baby in my arms and was obviously expecting a second. I was in the elevator, and when the doors opened, a sales clerk in a nearby department took one look at me and loudly exclaimed in horror, “Not another one!” Everyone in the area turned around to stare.

    • Cinderella says:

      Foi pena que a &quo&;nossatquot; Grande Fábrica de Sacavém tivesse terminado! Gostei deste blogue, li com atenção e apetecia-me poder entrar numa máquina do tempo para poder adquirir as peças que hoje já nem se encontram. Limito-me a comprá-las quando surge a oportunidade. Continuação e parabéns, HC

  17. Joni says:

    Dude, I must have missed something, because in three full term pregnancies not once did anyone say something clueless/rude/jaw-droppingly offensive to me.

    • Della says:

      Hugs from my ash and chestnuts to yours Pauline and from me to you. What a wretched situation it seems to be and no solution in sight. How to go about burning ash leaves is quite beyond me – just one puff of wind and you would be thwarted before you could even coeatmpltne making a bonfire of them. Who has come up with such an unrealistic suggestion?

  18. Jenny says:

    Love it!! I look really young for my age so when I was pregnant with my first baby, whom my husband and I had worked pretty hard to get here, a lady at Wal-Mart stopped me and said, “Oh you poor dear, are you keeping the baby?”

  19. Pandora says:

    This post and comments totally crack me up. I love the drunk metaphor. I had to use a cane toward the end of my first pregnancy – I lurched about on a bad hip. One woman shuddered and put up a hand to shield her eyes when I walked by. “Ugh! I can’t even look at you, it just makes me so uncomfortable!” Um. Sorry?

  20. Bill McNamara says:

    Meg – You are beautiful. You guys are always in our prayers. Keep smiling. You are an awesome mom.

    • Kaylee says:

      I found the Fox Sports Jerome and Turkey campaigns hilarious. And the recent Skittles ads. And Nextel Dance Party. And…oh nothing from this country. Including that Bear Fight for John West. Unlike millions of others, I didn’t find it funny.That Gorilla is funny, though. I think funnier than that weeystb.Funni, funny, funny. Ha ha ha ha. He’s a funny monkey. Look at him go. With those drums. Funny.

  21. Kjirstin says:

    When I was six months pregnant with our daughter (who is due the end of next week, and keeps getting asked if she’s carrying twins) my husband and I went to Europe. Most people just smiled affectionately, but on the flight home, a man said, “I don’t think you should get on this plane; you look like you’re going to pop.” I told him if I did, I hoped he would catch it. The look of horror on his face was so totally worth it.

    The next time someone asks her if it’s twins, I think I’ll suggest Rachel say, “No; it’s quads, and we already have four at home, can you believe it?” She’s an actor, and great at comedy. She could actually pull it off…

  1. January 7, 2015

    […] Here’s an excellent coping skill for all those oh-so-annoying and intrusive pregnancy questions from strangers: Almost Everyone Who Interacts With Pregnant Women is Drunk […]

  2. January 8, 2015

    […] “My cervix is none of your business,” my client responded when asked by a stranger how dilated she was. Why is almost everyone, who interacts with a pregnant woman, is drunk??? […]

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