Society loves a pregnant woman. The way their hands protectively clasp their swelling bellies. The waddle as they get themselves from point A to point B. The glow that some may be lucky enough to have. The prospect of that sweet little baby and those adorable little outfits.
There’s an aspect that many miss though. The look of rage in their eyes as they try to stop themselves from exploding at well-meaning others. If you’ve missed this, never fear, it’s not hard to create. Having been pregnant, I’m pleased to offer you my best five tips to cause the white mist to descend over that otherwise adorable human incubator unfortunate enough to cross your path.
Get in the way of her three basic needs Woe betide those who get in the way of a pregnant woman and food, the toilet or sleep. When hunger comes on, it’s desperate and sickening. The need for the toilet, urgent and painful. Sleep is almost a constant desire as the pregnancy progresses and growing the spawn chews up any energy reserves. Your highest chances of having your head ripped off are interfering with any of these three. Be particularly late to dinner with her but in a way that she feels she can’t order until you arrive (ie keep on texting that you are five minutes away). Make use of the sole bathroom to do inane activities like checking your social media sitting on the toilet. Interrupt her just as she’s about to sleep. Bonus points: visit her around the point she likes to go to bed (for many pregnant women, it’s early – I’m done by 9pm personally) and sit on her bed talking. Ignore all her requests to leave so she can sleep and only leave when you personally get tired.
Vigorously sprout and endorse old wives tales Old wives tales – such good fun and a great way to tell the gender, right? Wrong. You could do it gently and with good humour and no one minds. Or you could make it miserable by detailed commentary on the way her bump sits, her weight gain (in particular, whether the size of her bottom has increased) and analysing her food cravings. You can also add to the experience by telling her that the blood tests which revealed the gender were wrong because of the way her belly sits. There are some risks to genuine rage in this approach though – weight discussions are sensitive. You may just be sending her home to cry to a trusted other about whether she’s getting fat (long-suffering partners who don’t want the rage – the correct answer is always “you look perfect, you are gaining what you need to grow a baby and it’s a miracle”.) Bonus points: Buy lots of gender specific presents for the baby because you “know” the baby is that gender.
Express a strong preference for the gender of the baby Forget the fact that the ability to have a child is a gift and many have struggled in their path to have one. Make sure to say you “hope” or “want” the baby to be one gender. Say it regularly and in detail, imply the other gender is inferior, and would be disappointing to you. This works even better when you are the baby’s grandparent or if this is not the first child. Bonus points: Make your commentary as sexist as possible. You know what to say – “little girls will take care of you when they are old and are more fun to dress as children” or “little boys are easier to raise and carry on the family line”.
Undermine their attempts to follow the guidelines The average pregnant lady has been supplied with eating and activity guidelines by her highly qualified medical professional. Don’t let this information stand between your anecdotal evidence and the seven year university degree and ongoing training of her obstetrician. You ate the sushi from that corner store and didn’t get listeria so she’s just being silly and over the top. Processed cold meats? Why is that a problem? Serve it to her anyway as her only food option when she visits you – or make sure to draw loud attention to her efforts not to eat those foods when you are with her. Bonus points: Pour her a glass of wine when she says she can’t drink – fie on that! Our mothers had a glass or two and it hurt no one. These doctors are over-the-top these days.
Share pregnancy, birthing and parenting horror stories No one is under any illusions about pregnancy, childbirth or parenting. Chances are, your pregnant friend is well aware there will be pain involved and struggles after the birth too. They may even be scared about it – openly or secretly. Make sure to enhance this by sharing every horror story you know. The terrible morning sickness and blood pressure problems. The delivery that ripped you apart such that you couldn’t use the toilet for a week. The emergency caesarean. Then the permanent sleepless nights and the baby’s unusual allergy that nearly killed them. Force them to hear every word. Bonus points: Compete with them over their own experiences or shame them over it. Suffering morning sickness? Your own was worse. Having a caesarean? Make them justify it then tell them they can’t really understand childbirth.
May these five tips carry you well in your efforts to enrage the next pregnant woman you see – and if they don’t work, perhaps you are dealing with a better woman than me.
Disclaimer: Dear well-meaning old women. Please don’t be offended or angry about this article, I know you want to share in the excitement and these are the ways you choose to do it. Surely you remember being pregnant and hormonal? Your old tale might just be the 50th time a pregnant woman has heard that same comment today and they are exhausted so their patience and tolerance is wearing thin. If you can be a little gentle with them, you might have a better chance of getting to cuddle the baby when its born. Deal?