Over the last few weeks, as Michelle’s bump gets bigger and bigger, I’ve noticed that not only is she immensely proud of her growing belly, but she’s also fiercely defensive when it comes to people’s comments.
Michelle’s bump is the centre of our world now, almost every topic of conversation we have had for the past few months has been in some way related to it and our life will change exponentially as that bump becomes our daughter. Michelle spends lot of time with her hand on her belly, excitedly shouting “she kicked, she kicked” every so often. I can’t feel the kicks on the outside yet, but it’s still early days, the midwife said I should be able to feel it from week 24 onward so we’ve got a few weeks to go yet. It doesn’t stop me trying though, when Michelle gets excited by the big kicks I sit with my hand on our bump for a few minutes, hoping to feel even the faintest of movements, anything that would make our baby tangible.
We take a weekly photo, tracking the progress of the bump and on the back of Michelle’s office door, the girls that she works with have made a chart, measuring week by week. There’s a lot of talk and focus on our growing daughter.
With the exception of close friends and family, it seems as though the majority of people are in an unwinnable situation when it comes to making any kind of comment about the baby bump and saying the wrong thing can bring on the wrath of an angry pregnant lady. It’s not very often that Michelle gets angry about anything, but when it comes to the bump, she’s fierce.
Here are just a few things that you shouldn’t say to a lady with a bump….
When are you going to start showing?
When a colleague of Michelle’s said this, circa week 14, she was definitely not happy!
Following tradition, we told family, friends and Facebook, after the 12 week scan. At that point Michelle was just starting to get a little bump, and each week it got a little bit bigger. In those early weeks anyone who didn’t know that Michelle was pregnant would never have guessed from the little bump but that didn’t matter.
From the minute that Michelle knew that she had that little bump she was extremely proud of it.
“What does she mean, when are you going to start showing?” she raged
“What does she think this is?” she said, rubbing her belly. “My breakfast? Bloating?”
“I’m already showing”
“I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it” I said, trying to calm her down.
I was surprised at how Michelle had reacted but I knew she was just really proud. If you’re going to make a bump comment to Michelle you’d better be pretty tactful.
Your bump is so small!
Michelle has an app on her phone that gives her a week by week size comparison with fruit as the reference, so as soon as anybody dares to comment on bump size she is armed with a response.
“My bump is not small, my baby is the size of an avocado this week and my bump is just the right size for an avocado and a placenta”
Your bump is so big!
“Somebody said my bump looks big today” Michelle told me
“Yeah” I replied, “It’s getting bigger everyday now”
“Oh no, am I getting fat?” she said looking in the mirror.
“Last week you were complaining that someone said it’s small, now you’re complaining that it’s big?” I questioned
“Yes, I don’t want to be fat though, I’ve put on a stone” she said, still looking in the mirror.
“Does my bum look bigger? What about my hips, are they wider? Have I got a double chin?” she said, without giving me chance to answer no to any of the questions.
When it comes to making comments about bump size, my advice is just don’t say anything about size. You can’t win. If you have to say something, say something like “Your bump is exactly the right size”. Maybe you should download that app that Michelle has and say things like “Aahhh 18 weeks, you’ve got a cute little bell pepper in there”. Then you’d be in the good books and speaking a language that Michelle understands.
Oh, and one more thing. All of this belly rubbing is a bit weird. Friends, family, colleagues, old ladies in the street. You don’t all have to rub my wife’s belly, and if any of you feel that baby kick before me I’ll be the one having the irrational rant.