Most of the time these comments and questions are well-intended, but poorly phrased. *Also published on HuffPost Parents
Wow! Was your pregnancy planned?
Both my husband and I were surprised by how frequently this question came up. Neither of us hesitate to share, but it is certainly a personal discussion. What if the couple was not planning on it? Are you really prepared to get into that conversation? Or what if they were having fertility issues and it has been an emotional rollercoaster?
Not everyone’s answer is going to be simple, and even if it is, why are you asking? I find it uncomfortable after answering this question, which typically leads to a dead-end discussion. Most people just nod and smile after I tell them that we did plan for this baby, and it comes off like you think we are not ready to be parents.
Try rephrasing in a way that gives more context as to why you are asking such an intimate question. If you don’t have good reason to ask, then don’t.
Do you mind sharing a bit about your journey to pregnancy? I ask because parenthood is something I’ve been thinking about lately.
Commenting on our weight rather than our pregnancy.
“You are huge! You look like you are going to pop any day now.” Or, “You are tiny! Are you sure there is a baby in there?” These are equally annoying. The last thing we want to be “complimented” on is what size we are; we all carry differently. I get it, our rounding bellies are adorable to you. You don’t mean anything hurtful by this, but instead of commenting on our pregnancy, you’re commenting on our general appearance.
Rephrase your words to make it clear that you are referring to the baby bump, not the baby weight. Also, end it with a question to show that you are actually interested in our journeys and that you are not just making fly-by judgments.
I love your baby bump; baby must have grown since the last time I saw you. How far along are you now, and how are you feeling?
Shutting down baby names like it’s a game
It is a big responsibility to bring a life into this world, and that responsibility starts with choosing a name. It is easy to look at this as the “fun part,” which can make you more comfortable than you should be at chiming in. Understand that it is way past fun and games for couples on a 9-month deadline, and chances are, the names we are sharing took hours of thought and likely hold sentimental value.
Sure, your opinion is warranted when we share our ideas with you, but there is a way to be honest while still being supportive. If you keep non-chalantly shutting down potential names with petty reasons, it can become unnecessarily stressful. Inserting a little less of yourself and having an open-mind go a long way in sharing your opinion without jabbing the couple’s feelings.
If you want my opinion, that name doesn’t really sit well with me. But here are some of my favorites that I’d love to share with you.