Think about what happens any time a female celebrity steps out looking slightly less svelte than normal — the baby bump speculation starts immediately. Recall a time an influencer you follow referenced a “major life update” in a post and you can practically see the hundreds of “pregnant?” comments on her feed. And then consider a time when you turned down a drink, only to have your friends ask you…well, you get the picture.
Chances are, someone in your life has, at one point or another, asked you if you’re pregnant. Maybe you were able to laugh it off, but maybe the question seriously struck a nerve for you — because there are several reasons why this may be the last thing someone wants to be asked.
“Are you pregnant?” isn’t considered a taboo question along the lines of, say, “how much money do you make?” — we all know to avoid the latter at all costs, right? But as far as we see it, people should understand that pregnancy can be a really sensitive issue for a lot of women, and that being forced to answer this question can make a difficult situation even harder.
There are a whole collection of reasons why someone may not want to be asked if she’s expecting. Here are just a few of them:
She may be hoping she’s pregnant:
Consider this: Maybe your friend is sticking to water instead of wine because she’s trying to have a baby. A lot of women eat and drink as if they’re already pregnant between ovulation and the time when you can take a pregnancy test because…well, they’re hoping they are already pregnant! It seems harmless enough, and your friend may choose to explain that she’s trying to conceive, but this question may be tough to hear if she’s been trying to get pregnant for a while. And a word of advice? If she says she’s not drinking because she’s on antibiotics, doing a cleanse, or getting over a stomach bug….just don’t question it further even if you’re not buying the excuse. Maybe she’s just not ready to tell you what’s really going on….and that’s her right!
She may not want kids at all:
It’s 2018, and we’re finally starting to realize women can be complete individuals even if they don’t choose to become moms. Even so, countless women who are upfront about their decision to not have children find themselves on the receiving end of pregnancy speculation time and time again (see: Jennifer Aniston). Even if her answer is a clear “no, I’m on birth control”, this question may seriously rub a woman who is committed to the child-free lifestyle the wrong way.
She may be self-conscious about her weight:
We’ve all been there: Suddenly our jeans are feeling tighter and we’re instantly dealing with that icky feeling of self-doubt. Weight fluctuations are totally normal, but the last thing you want when you’re already feeling down on your body is for someone to ask if you’re sporting a baby bump. And while this seems like a no-brainer, so, so many women have been questioned about pregnancy due to minor body changes. So whether someone has just eaten a big dinner or has packed on a few pounds, remember this: Staring at someone’s belly while asking if she’s expecting is just not ok…and it may even come across as body-shaming.
She may have recently miscarried:
We all know how heartbreaking miscarriages are, but here’s something not many people know: Sometimes the symptoms stick around even after the pregnancy has ended. Dealing with morning sickness and mood swings while grieving a loss is already incredibly tough; the last thing someone in this situation wants is to be questioned about it. So if your co-worker gets sick during the workday, don’t ask her if she’s pregnant. Instead, just ask if there’s anything you can do to help her feel better. Trust us, an offer of Ginger Ale or some crackers beats pregnancy speculation any day.
She may not be ready to announce her pregnancy:
Most women choose to stay tight-lipped about pregnancy news through the first trimester, and if you think about it, that’s a really long time to keep such a big secret. It may be totally obvious that she’s expecting, but it’s also really unfair to ask someone to reveal her news before she’s ready. Whether she’s waiting for her miscarriage risk to go down or she’s simply not prepared to reveal her pregnancy for a personal reason, no one deserves to be put on the spot like that.
The bottom line? If someone is pregnant and wants you to know about it, she’ll share the news herself — so there’s really no reason to ask. And if you’re ever on the receiving end of this question, feel free to explain why you feel it’s not an appropriate thing to ask! It’s time we started talking about this issue, because the last thing we want is to make a hard situation even worse for someone who is working through it. Ever been in this situation before? How did you handle it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!