I’m astounded at how many people speak or touch before thinking whenever there’s a baby or pregnant woman on the scene. It drives me mad.
Before you’re pregnant you never realise how quickly your body seems to become other people’s. Or so they seem to think. Once your bump sprouts, everyone wants a piece. Thankfully I managed to avoid most of this but I know of many friends who had strangers and family members just reaching out to touch the bump without even asking. Just plain rude. You wouldn’t go up to any non-pregnant person and touch their tummy.
Then you go through the ‘everyone wants a piece of your baby’ stage. I was quite happy if friends or family wanted to hold N, although most people I saw when he was newborn, had their own babies to hold. I did have a few strangers nosying into the pram, but being a fast walker avoided too many episodes.
I also found (and I don’t seem to be the only one amongst my mum friends), that strangers would easily confuse the sex of the child when interferring and asking questions. Many of these occasions must have been a matter of mouth talking before brain has engaged.
My classic example was N being in the car seat in a supermarket trolley while we were shopping. He was wearing navy blue trousers and a brown striped hoody, plus at around the 3 months he was, he really did have a ‘boy’ look about him rather than the general ‘baby’ that can sometimes be confusing with newborns. I still had a middle aged woman come over, stick her head in the carseat and say ‘is she enjoying her shopping trip?’. Seriously, engage brain first before speaking. Anyone who’d stopped and assessed before leaping in would have recognised the clues that would indicate that in 90% of cases, a baby dressed in these colours would be a boy. She was quite embarrassed when I pointed out it was quite obvious he was a boy, and admitted that she didn’t think beforehand.
What’s more astounding is when you hear of babies wearing pink and being pushed in a pink buggy being taken for a girl.
I can understand confusion if the child is in neutral unisex clothes, or you just see long hair, but my view is, if you can’t tell, speak in neutral terms to avoid upsetting parents (and potentially the child if they’re older).
I have to say that unfortunately, after the baby has grown, it doesn’t mean the comments stop coming (well, unless you’re as svelte as a gazelle with no indication that you have had a child).
Recently, even after losing some weight I’ve had comments on two different occasions asking when I’m due. I wouldn’t mind so much but my tummy isn’t bump like at all, it’s just like a normal csection ‘double tummy’. The first person wasn’t even mortified at having assumed and got it wrong, just said she hoped I wasn’t offended, the second person was embarrassed and did at least say the next time she saw me that she could see I wasn’t pregnant.
It does obviously show that I do still need to lose some weight (I knew that anyway), but people really should be sure before assuming and asking questions. I know that I would always want to be sure of someone being pregnant before congratulating or asking…a comment could really hurt someone as you never know their circumstances.
So my request to all those people who like to comment and touch when there are pregnant ladies are around, or babies, please think before you speak, and ask before you touch.