Have you spoken to pregnant woman today? Yes, you say? Well, I'm willing to put money on the fact that you pissed her off. I know, I know, you didn't mean to, but I'm afraid you did. And so, probably, did the ten people who spoke to her before you, because ordinary people are sometimes complete dicks to pregnant women.
There's little I can say that will stop this phenomenon from occurring, but I will try and impart a few tips to the non-gestating that will help in one of life's more tricky social situations. Of course, the only way I can guarantee that you won't upset a pregnant lady is by advising that you avoid talking to them altogether but, should you decide to take the risk, here is a handy list of things that you almost certainly should not do or say.
1. Bump touching
Just don't do it. Bumps look like they're stuck onto our fronts, but they're not. They are covered in our own skin and nerve endings and are joined quite closely to our genitalia. If invited to, then touch away but otherwise it's a hands off situation.
2. "Wow! You're huge!"
There is never a correct time to tell a woman that she is enormous. To those on the outside she of course looks beautiful and womanly and natural, but she probably started her day with gentle weeping as she tried on the fourth outfit that morning and stuffed her oversized boobs into a too-small bra. And the truth is, pregnancy weight doesn't just appear on your tummy; it also spreads to the bottom, thighs and anywhere else that it's not wanted. When you tell a woman that she's massive, we don't hear: "Your bump is big for XX weeks", we hear: "You absolute whale. I know you're pregnant, but seriously, it's time for a diet".
3. Pregnancy Comparisons
All pregnancies are different. Of course, this doesn't stop people from constantly pointing out how their pregnancy differed to the one that is currently happening to someone else. This always feels a bit like you're being told that you're doing it wrong. If you were full of boundless energy and libido during your pregnancy, with zero mystery aches or causes for concern, then that's fantastic, but try to resist the urge to screw your face up with confusion when your friend tells you she feels like shit. All of the time. She's just going to end up feeling like a failure at reproduction.
4. Criticism of Decisions
If someone wants to find out the gender of their unborn, then let them find out. They have obviously considered the options and decided that this is the best path for them. If it's not for you, then fine, but please don't feel the need the bang on about 'The Last Big Surprise'.
5. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
We live in a society where it's acceptable to tweet a picture of every single meal that you sit down to, or to update the internet in general with distance, speed and time whenever you go for a run, but in which it is an absolute sin to discuss any big life events. More than one facebook update or genuine conversation a week about the upcoming life changer and you're nothing but a baby bore. Sorry folks, but it's on our minds and we don't complain about all of the cat pictures.
6. "You have no idea what you've let yourself in for."
No, you're probably right, we don't. However, pregnant women are vulnerable, especially when carrying their first, and just a little bit afraid of what the future holds. They are worrying about things like finances, the changes that are going to take place within their relationships and the huge responsibility of keeping a whole other human being alive. Horror stories about childbirth and children who never sleep are not what they need to hear in this rather fragile state. They'll soon find out for themselves anyway, and that's when she'll be knocking on your door asking for help...