I should know better. There are so many reasons why I should know better, but I went ahead and did it anyway. I blurted out to a colleague, “So are you pregnant?” You know what her answer was, of course: No. Not even remotely. The “baby” I’d overheard her mentioning was a work project.
Fortunately, I work with some fabulous people, so she simply laughed it off while I went three shades of scarlet and wished that the grey nylon flooring would swallow me whole. I’ve even written about this particular issue before, the great are-you-pregnant blooper
. It can result in a facepalm moment, but it can also potentially ruin friendships and family dynamics.Not now
One reason people make the blooper is recent weight gain. (I hasten to add that this isn’t the case with my colleague!) There’s a golden rule about asking someone if she’s pregnant in relation to weight-gain: Don’t. If someone seems to have put on a few kilos, it can be for a number of reasons such as eating more, period bloat, contraceptives messing with the metabolism, thyroid stuff.
The point is, none of these imply the existence of a baby. And almost anyone would be upset if it is implied that their non-pregnant tummy resembles a growing infant. Cravings for unusual food and tummy bugs are also no indication of pregnancy, despite what the movie industry would have us expect.Not yet
From personal experience, it’s incredibly hurtful to be asked if you’re pregnant when you’re either trying (but failing) to conceive, or if you are infertile
. It stings and makes you want to say rude things to the person asking. I have a friend who, whenever he was asked if his wife was pregnant, would answer that no, his sperm wasn’t working. That seemed to stifle any subsequent queries. Too many people have stupid advice for couples who are TTC.Not ever
Some women choose not to have kids
. Ever. And they’re absolutely at peace with their decision to be child-free. And yet their family members may not get the memo and insist on asking them when they’re going to have a baby. There will be stupid quips about ticking biological clocks and insulting chirps about the vulgarity of choosing a career
over motherhood. How to avoid the pregnancy blooper
As another colleague puts it, never ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless you can see the baby’s head emerging from her vagina.
If a woman is pregnant
, it’s her right to share that news with whomever she chooses to share it at whatever point in her pregnancy that she’s happy with. It’s nobody else’s business.Have you ever asked a baby-free woman if she’s pregnant?