"You Look Huge and Tired!”: Comebacks I Wish I Had During Pregnancy
During my pregnancies, I had strangers, family members and coworkers make the oddest comments. Some were about my appearance. Others gave unsolicited advice about its gender and what I should or shouldn’t eat. Some even touched my belly without asking.
At the time, I silently smiled and accepted their words like they didn’t bug me. But if I could turn back time, this is what I would have said to them.
"Wow, your belly is so big! You look huge!"
When I heard any comments about my size, I would grip and grin. Being pregnant is a physical, emotional and mental experience. But those who are witnessing your transformation from the outside only see the physical changes.
In addition to the hormonal roller coaster and trying to deal with my growing shape while facing my body image struggles head-on, this was the worst thing a person could have said to me. Upon reflecting, I would have loved to retort back:
“I know. It’s almost like I’m growing an entire human, eyeballs, toes and all. Oh right, I am.”
“Yeah, if only there was some other way to carry a baby inside me and not get bigger. Please let me know when they’ve figured that out. But I think by then, I would have given birth already.”
“Yup we are big, and we aren’t done growing yet.”
"Oh, you poor thing. You look exhausted."
Comments that related to my tiredness levels were especially frustrating. From heartburn, difficulty finding a comfortable position to rest in, and anxious thoughts that riddled my mind every night, it’s obvious that pregnancy isn’t something you can put off. My body was working 24/7 to grow a person. It’s not like I could have taken a break and have come back when I felt more refreshed.
The days blurred into the night and the last thing I needed to be reminded about was how tired I looked.
Some witty comebacks I would have loved to dole out include:
“Right…because I should have prioritized putting concealer on my dark undereye circles instead of throwing up in the toilet this morning.”
“Yeah, it’s probably because I’m tired of people telling me I look tired.”
"Are you sure you want that cookie? Aren't you worried about gestational diabetes?"
From coffee, tea, sushi, and hot dogs to cookies, what I ate became a point of contention for the people observing my “outrageous” food choices. Of course, I want to have a healthy pregnancy but it doesn’t mean I need to sacrifice every bit of fun for the next 9 months by eating vegetables, nuts and fruits all day.
If I want to occasionally enjoy a cookie, it’s not the end of the world. The person who is most worried and concerned about my health is the person you’re talking to.
“Yes, I am going to eat a cookie and I might even have another one.”
“My body, my choice.”
“You know, worrying too much isn’t good for your health.”
"You're having a ____, so you better do this..."
When I was pregnant with my daughter, people loved giving advice about having girls. For instance, they’d tell me they are angels when they are little but when the teen years come, they become that girl from The Exorcist. Some parents said I was lucky. Others told me to get ready for lots of drama and emotional baggage.
During my pregnancy with my son, people would warn me about how much energy it takes to raise boys versus girls and that I’ll need to be prepared to hear tons of fart jokes and clean up their disgusting habits. Some told me I should be grateful my other child is a girl. Others made comments about how my husband must be overjoyed since he’ll finally have someone to watch sports with.
Every comment stereotypes my child based on their anatomy.
“Maybe you should go back to where those stereotypes belong…in the 1950s.”
“You’re jumping to a lot of conclusions about a penis/vagina. Any opinions about the foot in your mouth?”
"Sleep now or you'll never be able to."
This always sounded more like a threat than a piece of advice. Being pregnant is one of the biggest deterrents to sleep, especially during the third trimester. I was going to the bathroom two to three times a night and waking up to round ligament pain. If heartburn didn’t ruin my sleep, the baby’s kicking would.
So when someone would tell me to sleep more, it kicked me when I was already down. Plus, it makes the next chapter as a parent seem like a nightmare. Does having kids really mean I will never sleep again?
I would have loved to snap back at these folks.
“It’s fine. I don’t need sleep. I just need 10 cups of coffee and a few red bulls.”
“Wow, I wonder how my parents and all the other parents in the world are functioning with zero sleep. I’d love to get in on what they’re doing or taking.”
"I'm sure your delivery will be fine but can I tell you this traumatic birth story?"
This comment was especially difficult to hear during my first pregnancy. I was already anxious and nervous about giving birth. I’d read about all the negative things that could happen and I didn’t need someone to share with me the nitty gritty details in person. But during that time, I didn’t speak up and let the story trigger me.
Instead, I should have said, “No.” And that should have been enough.
"Can I touch your belly?"
I was walking back to my office from the bathroom when a random lady stopped me and asked if she could touch my belly. Before I could refuse, her little hands were on my bump while she justified her actions by saying, “It’s good luck to have as many people touch your belly as possible.”
After that, I was livid but just walked off. I wish I could have pushed her hands off and said:
“Is my pregnant belly some sort of exhibition for you to partake in? No. I also don’t believe in superstitions so kindly back off!”
Does Katharine’s experience sound familiar to you? Get in touch on our socials if you have a personal story you want to share @familyeducation on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - or email email@example.com!
Was this article helpful?