"Hey Kate, you're FAT!" or The Top Ten Things Not To Say to Pregnant People

You know how it's not polite to comment about somebody's body size? Well I don't really see how that changes when you are pregnant. Yesterday at church, a woman came up to me and said, "Oh! You're STILL pregnant?" "Um yeah, I'm only 34 weeks." "Oh. How much longer do you have?" "About 6 weeks." I guess she realized I was somewhat annoyed because she tried to apologize by saying, "Oh, well, when I was pregnant I got as big as you, and everyone thought I was having twins!"

But it was okay because I told my friend what she said and her very first reaction was, "Oh, did so and so say that? [yes!] Yeah, she's kind of...blunt." Just the fact that she knew made me feel tons better.

My friend told me about her younger sister's comment. I guess her younger sister had always struggled with weight issues, whereas my friend didn't. They didn't live close to each other, but there was some kind of family get together event that brought them together while my friend was pregnant. I guess her little sister's first reaction to seeing her was something like, "WOW, you are FAT!"

"Um, no. No, I am pregnant. There is a big difference."

Before I was pregnant with Jane, I thought that a pregnant belly would be really jiggly and flabby. Actually, it's exactly the opposite. If you touch it, it feels like I swallowed a bunch of bricks. Also, the stretching of skin as this giant mass expands in my belly causes physical pain. More like achey-ness than pain. I'm just having a hard time imagining being able to get so fat in such a short amount of time that your skin stretching would cause the same achey-ness. Maybe this happens. I just know that other areas of my body are expanding besides my belly, and they don't seem to ache. Also, clearly if somebody were to make a comment like, "Wow, your butt is HUUUUGE!" that would qualify as rude, even though I am pregnant.

Two (two!?) other people at church said, "Wow, you're going to pop!" One of them was also pregnant. Sheesh, I would never say that to her; why did she say it to me?!

I think maybe it has to do with whether or not a person has already been through pregnancy. I don't think I've ever had a comment like this come from a non-parent (yes, one of the people who said, "wow, you're going to pop!" was a man. What!?). Maybe this is just my experience and I'm totally wrong. But my theory is that when you go through pregnancy, either as the pregnant one or the spouse, you suddenly feel like you have the "right" to comment on other people going through it. I guess it's a "right of passage" you have gone through, and your comments to others is an attempt to cheer somebody on from the peanut gallery. I guess comments on a person's size when they are pregnant are supposed to be sympathetic, like, "Wow, I've been there and done that, and I remember that parts of it sucked. Good luck!"

But why not just say, "Wow, I've been there and done that, and I remember that parts of it sucked! Good luck!" Why make comments that can easily be construed to mean, "I can't believe how FAT you are!" I mean, I've heard some crazy statistics about teen girls and negative body image. Something like 80% of American teen girls struggle with negative body image. I'm not a teenager anymore, granted, but having been one, wouldn't it be safer to assume that maybe negative body image was one of my "issues", and disparaging talk about my body should be avoided? Even without the whole body image thing, would you like me to point out how, "You are the size of a whale!"

I bet that people who had eating disorders in the past who get pregnant find this whole weird culture of you-are-huge-comments especially difficult.


10. "You're only seven months pregnant?" Yes, only.
9. "Wow, you are HUGE!" Oh actually, I hadn't noticed any change!
8. "So, how much weight have you gained?" Um, excuse me???
7. "Are you having twins?" No, just one. But thanks for pointing out how you think I'm twice as big I should be.
6. "When [insert name of friend/relative here] was pregnant, they didn't show at all! Like, you couldn't even tell they were pregnant at all." How nice for them. And you're telling me this...why?
5. "You look like you're going to pop!" Thanks, you look nice, too.
4. "Hey, you're FAT!" No, that's called a BABY.
3. "You're still pregnant?" Yes, obviously.
2. "Oh, well, when I was pregnant I was as big as you, and everyone thought I was having twins!" Thanks. Thanks a lot.
1. "Oh, I didn't know you were pregnant!" - after you have the baby. Weirdest thing is, when I got this comment, I was also HOLDING the baby. I guess some people don't think before they open their mouths. "Yes, I am five months pregnant, and I also have this newborn! It's a biological anomaly"


  1. Let me say I hope I am being supportive and not rude. The longer you go between pregnancies the more you forget about the suckey stuff. It only really comes back with full recognition when you find yourself in the same position once again.

    It seemed like my body stretched more with each child so my condition was noticeable earlier and earlier. I remember being in a Motherhood Maternity store trying on dresses. I found a red one that I really liked. While I was standing in front of the mirror admiring its beauty another customer came in. She was a tiny thing who was probably still wearing her regular clothes. She saw me and said in full voice, "I am going to look like that?" I was insulted, but I also knew she would be sorry because in a few months she would look just like that.

    My husband always told me I was beautiful. That is all that really mattered to me.

  2. My general rule of thumb is not to bring up pregnancy at all unless the woman brings it up, and then only to ask polite questions such as "when are you due?" and "is it a boy or a girl?"

  3. Oh geez, I've never been pregnant and those things are still some of my biggest pet peeves. My mom told a friend once how big she was and I told her she can't say that to women and my mom said, "Oh, you WANT to be big with your first baby, you like being told you're big." Whatever.
    Is it okay to tell pregnant friends that they look small and cute? That's what I sometimes do (tell them how small they look).
    I also know A LOT of people who don't tell people the names they're considering so IF I ask about names I always follow-up with "if you're telling people."

  4. I was just complaining about this to my husband saying all that I want to hear is a sincere "How are you feeling?" At least that shows interest in your well being. My least favorite is, "When ARE you due!" Especially as a conversation starter. Makes you feel like when someone sees you all that they see is your belly. All the other comments I don't mind being blunt in return for because, well they aren't really polite.

  5. So I think I agree with Yvonne; my husband's opinion of my looks is the only one that really matters to me.

    I also think probably my brother has a good point: don't bring up pregnancy unless it's brought up by the pregnant person, unless you are asking the routine questions. But actually, Leah's right too, it totally depends on the tone when you ask, "When are you due?" And that question gets old when it's clear that you are due soon, and that's a very predominant thought going through your head: "When the heck is this baby going to come!?" Other people bringing it up when you already think about it every day several times a day, yeah that gets obnoxious.

    I think my friend Brianne made a great point a while back on my blog, about getting offended. It's a choice. I mostly blogged about this because it REALLY gave me pause, wondering why it's somehow okay to say otherwise COMPLETELY socially unacceptably rude comments to someone, just because they are prego. Yeah, it kind of stung to be told that I looked big enough to be having twins (sniff sniff) but being a big girl (ha. ha.) I can handle it without it ruining my life. Like Yvonne said, people just forget what it's like. Sometimes some people don't think. Well, rather, sometimes all of us make mistakes and don't think!

    Anyway, Kelli, to be honest, I think I probably wouldn't like it if you said that I looked small. It's definitely not as bad as saying, "you're a freaking whale!" but commenting on how "small" I am would be...pretty much...lying! haha. Maybe it's just good to not comment on other peoples' body size, big or small? Maybe I'm just weird though; my family has a history of eating disorder issues. My sister in laws often compliment each other on how skinny something makes them look, and it's totally normal to them even though it makes me feel uncomfortable. I think part of that has to do with just years of overthinking the cultural motives behind beauty and its connection to one's fat. So, maybe it's just me. :)

  6. Love your blog. I just had to comment here. Can I just tell you how many times I have forgotten you were pregnant?! Seriously, it's finally registering that you are about to have your second. So, to combat other comments (and I sympathize with you....I've had them said about me while pregnant, too) I think you look fantastic and I'm excited for you!

    And as a side note: Here's my favorite thing ever said to me.

    After buying just pregnancy tests at Costco (nothing else) the person who had to mark my receipt said, "Oh, are you excited?! Is this your first? Is this a planned pregnancy?" I was like Hello, my name is Marea what's yours? I have to go now. Can I have my receipt back? I'm still laughing about it EIGHT years later! :-)


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