When you’re pregnant, you’re not only ultra-sensitive because of those uncontrollable hormones surging through your body; you also seem to be a magnet for nasty comments and embarrassing situations.
But being pregnant doesn’t give you the freedom to lash out at anyone. There is no excuse for rudeness. So what can you say or do when someone throws a criticism your way? Keep your cool and try these well-mannered comebacks.
Nasty comment # 1: “Buntis ka pala? I thought you were just fat/chubby/putting on weight.”
Neat comeback: This is a tricky one. You’re not sure whether the comment is meant to flatter or insult you. One way to deal with this: Smile and say, “I know. I can’t wait to get even bigger!” Or you can say, “Thank God I’m pregnant and not just fat!” Sometimes, it’s better to just roll with the punches and let these comments slide as you know they’re not meant to hurt. “Always remember, you can’t change how people think, but you can control how you react to their comments,” says Tisha Bautista, mother of four boys and managing director of Isdanco Foundation, an organization that focuses on women's self-esteem. She agrees it’s hard to take such negative comments in stride, but you can also avert them. “How you carry yourself and the clothes you wear make a difference. Always carry yourself with pride and positive energy,” she says. “If you look like you deserve nasty comments, people will dish them out.”
Nasty comment # 2: “You’re only four months? Why are you so huge?”
Neat comeback: It is hurtful to be called huge, pregnant or not. Bautista suggests playfully answering with, “Well, there’s more of me to love!” Or agreeing and saying, “Yes, I love being so obviously pregnant!”
Theresa Henson, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist at Makati Medical Center says it is possible that a pregnant woman may be too big or too small. Fetal length and weight can be calculated by measuring the mom's abdomen. She explains, “This measurement should correspond with the age of the pregnancy. It's one accurate way to determine if the fetus is too big or too small for the expected age of gestation.”
If your size is within the normal range, however, and you are still receiving unsolicited remarks like this, Bautista suggests taking a look at your wardrobe. It’s possible that your clothes may either be too tight or too loose. If you want, you could draw attention away from your bump by wearing something eye-catching such as pretty earrings or a necklace. Above all, Bautista encourages expectant mothers to wear their pregnancy with pride.
Nasty comment # 3: “Your nose is getting bigger. You’re probably having a boy,” or “Pumapangit ka. Lalaki siguro ang anak mo.”
Neat comeback: Bautista says try throwing the comment back by politely asking, “Do you really think so?” This question may make the person realize that he has said something rude and hurtful.
Dr. Henson explains that, contrary to age-old beliefs, how you look is no indication of your baby's gender, but rather how your body responds to the level of pregnancy hormones. She adds, “Women respond differently to pregnancy hormones, which can cause fluid retention and swelling, leading to a nose that seemingly gets bigger with the pregnancy.” These hormones can also cause darker pigmentation in different areas of your body.
According to Anthony Ancheta, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at The Medical City, carrying a baby boy produces more testosterone in your body. This causes hormonal imbalance, increasing the tendency for a woman to feel warm and for her skin to break out. On the other hand, a woman carrying a girl has more estrogen in her body, making her pregnancy easier for her.
Dr. Ancheta is quick to add, though, “Being pregnant doesn’t give you an excuse to look lousy.” So while difficult, try to pamper yourself a bit. This will change your outlook on pregnancy and will reflect on your appearance and how you feel about yourself.
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What to do when… Find yourself in an embarrassing situation? Here’s a little help:
...relatives and friends touch (or rub!) your tummy It can be annoying when everyone thinks your bump is fair game. Tisha Bautista says you can deflect this by putting your hand on your tummy. "They won’t dare remove your hand to touch your belly,” she says. However, if they still give it a try, simply smile and say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable when someone touches my tummy.” Honesty is your best bet.
...you’re starving, but you’re ashamed of stuffing yourself in front of others It’s amazing how your appetite increases after the first trimester. OB-gyn Theresa Henson, M.D., explains that this is normal because your metabolism also increases to support your growing baby. However, she warns against overeating: “Hormones can cause a lot of craving in some women, but it’s important to have self-control and discipline in order to have a healthy pregnancy.”
Bautista says you cannot forget your manners no matter how hungry or pregnant you are. Drink water before the food arrives. Avoid drawing attention by staying at the side, not the center, of the table. If you have no control over the seating, Bautista says, “Start slowly. Don’t eat fast. Do not overload your plate. That’s what draws out some horrible comments in the first place.”
...you need to pee in the middle of an important meeting The bane of pregnant women is their constant need to empty their bladder. Dr. Henson says this happens because as your uterus grows, it presses against your urinary bladder. “There is some relief in the second trimester as the uterus grows higher, putting less pressure on the bladder,” she explains. “But near the pregnancy due date, with the baby’s head going lower into the pelvis, the bladder gets pressed again.”
Prep the stage for your frequent absences, Bautista says. Apologize in advance and explain that you’ll need to take quite a few bathroom breaks due to your condition.