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To remind new mothers/pregnant women that people are just being POLITE

(200 Posts)
paperlace Sun 11-Jan-15 07:58:15

Have seen endless moans threads over the years on MN from mums-to-be and new mums outraged over people's comments and questions.

Am I being unreasonable to remind them that people are just MAKING POLITE CONVERSATION?

There is really only a finite amount of things you can say about a newborn baby or a pregnancy and people are feigning interest half the time - they are NOT being rude or nosy when they say:

Ooh your bump is big/small

Ooh your baby is big/small

I think you are having a girl/boy

Do you want a girl/boy?

Are you going to breast feed?

When are you going to stop breast feeding?

When is he/she starting on solids?

What are you going to call him/her?

cogitosum Sun 11-Jan-15 08:02:02

I agree with you on all apart from the feeding ones as I think they tend to be quite loaded.

But yes when pregnant and with newborn ds I loved questions and comments about size, sex,names etc!

M27J5M Sun 11-Jan-15 08:02:13

I totally agree (I am currently 30weeks) but I think what some people (not all) are getting at is that some people can be too personal with there questions! I had some1 I didn't know the other day quite roughly touch my bump and ask if I'd even planned this child! I was a little shocked but didn't let it get to me!

UmizoomiThis Sun 11-Jan-15 08:02:16

Do you go around asking people what kind of diet they follow? Are you going to be following a carb free diet? What about cutting out alcohol and sugar? Wheat?

No, because it's intrusive and has hidden implications. Same with asking a mother to be how she's planning on feeding her baby.

Blackout234 Sun 11-Jan-15 08:02:41

yes YABU.
saying someones bump is big can make them feel fat and insecure.
saying a baby is "small" (i.e smaller than "average") Can worry new mum. she may think baby is not eating enough. also could cause upset if the baby does have a problem.
Gender predictions are annoying as shit.
Breastfeeding is no ones business.
weaning is no ones business.
as for names I don't mind but some do.

LaLa5 Sun 11-Jan-15 08:02:41

I have to say I agree - I am pregnant now so on receiving end but before I always thought it was polite to say such things as to not ask would appear like I'm not interested. I didn't realise people found it annoying until I came on here.

TurquoiseDress Sun 11-Jan-15 08:03:58


I was pregnant and became a new mum last year...I remember back in the non-baby days I'd ask quite a few of the above questions to pregnant friends/colleagues.

Yes I was just trying to be polite, I really didn't care whether they were having a boy or a girl but it was just, you know, showing interest and trying to enjoy some of their excitement!

Some of threads I read on here make me raise an eyebrow.
When I was pregnant I don't think I was ever even mildly offended by people's questions.

Often I reckon there is a bit of a back story or some history between the pregnant person and the individual making comments.

KnackeredMerrily Sun 11-Jan-15 08:04:04

I agree, and still find myself using questions i found annoying during my pregnancies when talking to a pg woman!

Royalsighness Sun 11-Jan-15 08:05:36

I am happy to nod and answer questions when strangers ask, being a pregnant mum of a toddler but one thing annoys me. When my baby cries and people stare and or input advice on what it is he needs, IE maybe you should feed your baby he sounds really hungry.

Go away.

Royalsighness Sun 11-Jan-15 08:07:38

And yeah it started to wear thin when I was 2 weeks overdue and the supermarket cashier would ask "when are you due" TWO WEEKS AGO OK BYE. But that's because I was a mardy cow, not because they particularly annoyed me. People just want to show they are interested but don't want to get too personal with the questions.

TurquoiseDress Sun 11-Jan-15 08:08:54

Well that's really not on- having a stranger touch your bump and then asking if the child was planned!

I would understand totally why a pregnant person would get annoyed by this.

Luckily I only had people I wanted touching my bump, friends would politely ask before putting their hands all over!

I've pulled my OH up before as he kept doing it to our pregnant friends- it's polite to ask first, no matter how "chilled out" they are about it!

paperlace Sun 11-Jan-15 08:11:04

But even then, Royal, people really are just making conversation/trying to help.

And all say inane things at times in all manner of public/social situations whether it's 'have you had your hair cut/is that a new coat/how was your Christmas/how's the diet going?' etc etc etc, it's all the same shite really!

Some mothers/to be are just too precious and need to remember that people really aren't that interested!

HappySeven Sun 11-Jan-15 08:11:04

It may not be intended as rude but it can upset someone and so it isn't really polite. If you want to show interest it's best to just show general interest. The best comments I had when I was pregnant were from older men with several children (who had perhaps learnt the hard way?) They would just say general comments like 'you look very well'. I knew I didn't but it always made me smile.

paperlace Sun 11-Jan-15 08:11:59

Knackered me too! That's exactly what I mean though, there really are only a small amount of comments or questions you can think of to say!

Loletta Sun 11-Jan-15 08:14:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wormatthebottomofthegarden Sun 11-Jan-15 08:17:45

I never liked people telling me my bump was big, the 'oh god you're bump's huge'. Maybe I was over sensitive but at a time when you're body is changing it's not the best thing to come out with. Just made me feel fat.

And no one should be touching bumps without asking!

ChristmasEva50 Sun 11-Jan-15 08:18:54

I think YABU and those questions are intrusive. If you want to feign interest you could ask if they are all organised or still have lots of stuff to get if they are quite far on or if they are keeping well at any stage. That offers lots of scope for conversation or a short polite answer if they don't want to engage.

With ds1 I kept being told that my bump was small, you could hardly tell I was pregnant, I couldn't possibly be 30/35/40 weeks, they were really big at that stage. On and on and on until I felt quite worried. Ds1 was 9lb 8oz. I just had great stomach muscles something I didn't have a problem with in consequent pregnancies.

Memphisbelly Sun 11-Jan-15 08:20:35

It is the tone some people say it. Not ooh you have a small/large bump. I have had 'your bump is TINY are you sure there is nothing wrong with the baby?' And on the same day by someone else 'you are huge are you sure there is only one in there?' Both enough to make a hormonal woman upset.

Royalsighness Sun 11-Jan-15 08:23:21

Someone saying my baby sounds hungry and maybe I should feed him implies I don't know when to feed him and Ieave him to get to the point of screaming before I do this, I had just breastfed him and was walking him home in his pram for a nap. That isn't trying to be helpful, that's being blatantly rude, it wasn't said in a concerned tone, it was said in a tone that implied that I didn't know how to read my babies cues.

If you want to comment on strangers personal lives then fine, but be prepared for them to not like it or to be offended, that's the nature of engaging with people you don't know.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sun 11-Jan-15 08:23:29

OP you might think you are making polite conversation, but the Preg Person has probably answered that question 320 times.

It is OK (and should be encouraged!) to talk to a pregnant woman about non-pregnancy things you know. Once they conceive they dont suddely get a lobotomy.

OddBoots Sun 11-Jan-15 08:24:18

It's not polite to say those things though, they aren't the same as inane conversation. Fair enough to say that a woman has a lovely bump but unless you are a medical professional involved with her care don't comment on its size.

If you just ask a pregnant woman how she is feeling she will tell you as much or as little as she wants you to know. If she doesn't seem to want to say much then have the same conversations you'd have if she wasn't pregnant - talk about the weather or the news.

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 11-Jan-15 08:25:04

I thought this thread was going to be 'The reason you are left standing on public transport and elsewhere is that no one wants to ask you to sit down in case you are merely large rather than pregnant.'
I agree that people are only being polite, but some of the questions in the OP are rather loaded, and more sensitive types could take them the wrong way.
Perhaps there ought to be a MN list of safe queries?

paperlace Sun 11-Jan-15 08:25:45

But Eve you say people went on and on - it's actually a few people making the same remark. It's just an obvservation.

People just aren't that interested and just say the first thing that comes in to their heads!

Also with the small bump comments - it's often meant as a compliment that you have not put loads of weight on.

LittleBlueHermit Sun 11-Jan-15 08:26:27


People being 'well-meaning' or mindlessly engaging in small talk doesn't mean their comments aren't hurtful, innapropriate or intrusive. Effect matters more than intent.

Well-meaning, 'polite' small talk has left me in tears more than once.

If the endless threads on here encourage just one person to actually think before they open their mouth, then its a good thing.

Royalsighness Sun 11-Jan-15 08:26:36

Pregnancy is a happy and exciting time for everyone but a lot of people don't get the idea of tact, personal boundaries or manners. If you want to overstep these lines as markers because you feel your comment is worth it, don't be surprised if you don't get a fanfare back. It's simple isn't it?

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