I think it's time to set some ground rules about asking if a woman is pregnant. I have been asked the question (dreaded by all women who aren't a size six) many times in the past few months. For the record no, I'm not pregnant and no, I don't plan to be any time soon. Now for the rules. Never ask a woman if she's pregnant. Never, even if she is "obviously" pregnant. It's a good time to point out that once you have a child, your body is forever stretched, and yes, fat congregates in the belly area. What once was flat may never be again, and those of us who are still in mourning for our pre-baby bodies are well aware of the bulge. Instead of asking if someone's pregnant, here's what to do. Say, "Hi (insert name here). I haven't seen you for a while. What's new?" At this point, the woman will tell you she's pregnant if she wants you to know. She may be pregnant but not telling anyone about it at the moment. If you suspect she's pregnant, just wait nine months for the chance to say, "I knew it," and keep your suspicions to yourself.
If she tells you she's pregnant, follow up with, "Wow, congratulations! You look great."
Yes, tell her she looks great, even if she's fat and tired and smells a little funny. I had the unfortunate experience of being repeatedly asked if I was carrying twins while pregnant with my daughter Kaitlyn. The comments sent me home crying, and my husband was forced to answer the dreaded "do you think I'm fat" question. I wasn't carrying twins, just fat. I gained 60 pounds while pregnant because I quit all my bad habits, and food was my last vice.
I've since lost the weight and was feeling quite good about myself until last week, when two separate people commented, "I didn't know you were pregnant." "I'm not," I answered. They said they were sorry and tried to back track, but by then it was too late. I was already feeling my appearance was less than perfect. After the pregnancy comment, I wanted to buy a roll of duct tape and make a body suit out of it.
And while we're on the subject of pregnancy etiquette, let's address the belly-touching issue.
Here's my opinion: don't do it unless you're invited to.
A pregnant woman can see in your eyes if you are in awe of her growing baby and want to feel a connection to the tiny soul. If she sees that, she can ask if you want to touch her tummy, at which point it's good to aim for the belly button area to avoid any accidental groping.
When I was blimpishly pregnant, dozens of people I hardly knew asked to touch my stomach. Although it made me uncomfortable, I never had enough courage to say no.
One old man simply grabbed me from behind while I was in line at a coffee shop, patting my mid-section and asking when the little bundle was due. So please, even if you're "sure" that woman you see on the street is pregnant, don't ask. And keep your hands to yourself.