A couple of days ago, the lady behind the counter at the supermarket asked if she could offer my 4 year old a lolly. I agreed, and she held the jar down and told her she could have a couple. I suggested maybe taking one for herself and one for her friend we were going to visit. A man I didn’t know leaned down to my daughter’s level and smiled kindly, pointing to my midsection, and said “And don’t forget one for the baby inside, eh?”.

Fuck. Off. Way to make a woman you don’t know all ragey. My head may have swiveled around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

what happens if you ask a woman if she's pregnant

I snapped that there was no baby inside. He swiftly backed away, which was probably the safest option for him and prevented me from giving him a few choice opinions on his appearance in return. And yeah, thanks for the awkward exchange that followed with my 4 year old, random guy with no concept of basic good manners!

My Tummy.

I have had two kids. Whether I’m a size 12 or a size 18, I have a mum-tum. That’s a fact. Depending on my outfit, my posture, my menstrual cycle (hello, fluid retention!) and the size of my lunch, you might look at me and wonder if I’m up the duff regardless of my current dress size.

should you ask a woman if she's pregnant

Depressingly, I know this from experience because I’ve been asked at various sizes. It’s literally just my shape now! I’ve actually had my not-pregnant belly patted when I wasn’t even overweight. Saying “Actually, no, I’m not pregnant…”  while someone is patting you is mortifying. Judging from their reaction, it’s not fun for the belly-patter, either. Awkward.

Women are Allowed to be Pudgy!

If a woman isn’t a certain size or shape, she must be pregnant, right? There’s no other logical explanation! She couldn’t possibly just be a bit fat, could she? No! Women apparently only get two choices: thin or pregnant. So if she isn’t thin, she must be pregnant. And if (the horror!) she’s not thin AND not pregnant, it’s fine to embarrass her by commenting on it, right?

Should you ask a woman if she's pregnant

There’s no law against being a bigger person. I’m living proof; pudgy and yet to be arrested for it. Women are not actually obligated to be thin any more than men are. In fact, statistics show that more Australian men than women are overweight. So what’s okay for the gander is totally fine for the goose, right?

None of  Your Business.

This is what it boils down to: A woman’s body is her business and no one else’s. Her appearance is not something to be held up for scrutiny and comment from strangers, acquaintances or anyone else. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. Commenting on someone’s body and asking them for intimate information? Not appropriate. End of story.

ask a woman if she's pregnant-mind-your-business

I don’t comment on the weight or bodies of people that I do know. I sure don’t approach people in the supermarket to tell them their bellies look big enough to be housing a fetus, either, because that’s just bloody rude. It amazes me that not everyone knows this. Putting aside all the body image stuff and societal expectations for just a second, you also never know what someone else is going through. They could have had a miscarriage. Perhaps they have a health condition. What if they desperately want to have a baby but haven’t been able to conceive? Is your idle curiosity really more important than how your words might impact them?

So, When IS it Okay to Ask a Woman If She’s Pregnant?

Perhaps if she appears to be giving birth and needing your assistance? Even then- proceed with caution! Her pregnancy might seem obvious but never assume. You run the risk of upsetting her or embarrassing yourself if you’re wrong.

If a woman wants you to know that she’s pregnant, she’ll tell you. Whether it’s a casual reference to her unborn bub, a save the date for a baby shower, a fabulous Facebook announcement or an explanation for her sudden need to spend half an hour in the work bathrooms each morning- she will let you know if she wants or needs you to. You might look at a female colleague or neighbour and wonder. You might glance at a woman in a shop and assume. All you have to do is keep those thoughts to yourself. You might just be excited for her and want to offer your congratulations, which is fine, but wait for her to tell you.

When it is okay to ask a woman if she’s pregnant?

#FYBF @ With Some Grace.

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  • LydiaCLee

    The last time I saw a friend she was all running mad (yawn) and super svelte and then when I saw her recently, she looked pregnant and I was so excited and about to say “OMG! I can’t believe you didn’t mention that!’ but I thankfully didn’t. And over the course of the lunch she didn’t mention it, and ate oysters so I’m guessing there’s an injury or something that stopped the running…Me? I’m just lucky you don’t carry bbies in your butt because I’d be asked daily…

  • I’ll never forget being at work about a year after I gave birth to baby number one. I was wearing a sun dress. I was still carrying the extra belly. A girl came racing up to me so incredibly excited and said “OMG nobody told me you were pregnant again, how exciting!”
    I just smiled and said “I’m not” and she was mortified. She actually went every colour shade and stammered and stuttered.
    The poor girl, I felt so bad for her. I just said “It’s ok, I still haven’t lost that damn baby weight. Easy mistake.” She thanked me for my kind response and slinked away.
    I then went to the toilets and cried.
    I felt bad for her and I think she learned her lesson.
    But I felt bad for me too.

    • I bet ๐Ÿ™ Some people do not think. i hope she learned!

  • All I can say is “How rude!!!!”
    Bodies change all the time. I have three daughters and I try so hard not to talk about my body in a negative way (it is pretty difficult some days!) I don’t want them growing up with all that pressure of looking a certain way.

  • I’ve got this wrong once to try and offer assistance! Never again though!

  • I had to physically restrain myself from holding my aching abdomen for support when I was going through IVF.

    I looked pregnant but I most certainly wasn’t.

    I just didn’t need all the comments to make it even worse.

    Whilst on this topic, almost every time I left the house when I finally was pregnant, someone would tell me my belly was so big that I must be carrying twins. They then insisted I must have my dates wrong.

    Unless anyone actually says “I’m carrying twins”, shut the fuck up about this. I was carrying twins but I lost one late in the first trimester. In the second trimester, this caused me to haemorrhage and I nearly lost my remaining baby.

    It just brought it back every single time some smiling assassin ambushed me with their stupid questions.

    And no, dates are not wrong with IVF. And no, fuck off, I am not telling a random about my IVF.

    Whoosh, so off topic! But I feel better. Thanks for the therapy! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  • I offered to describe to my husband what was going on in my stomach yesterday and he declined. Apparently he knows I’m too gross.

  • it’s never OK to ask that question. Unfortunately some members of the older generation have absolutely no filter and think it’s their right to say whatever they want. After 4 kids I also have a tummy and there is nothing I can do about and I don’t particularly care anyway. Magazines also have a lot to answer for also, claiming every celebrity in a bikini is pregnant, when all she did was probably have a large lunch.

    • Yes!! How many times have people like Jennifer Aniston been reportedly preggers in the tabloids over the years? Outrageous!

  • Mel Roworth

    I like to respond with an equal amount of tact as the commenter – “No, I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat.”
    I find this gives quite a satisfying level of embarrassment and hopefully they’ll think twice before doing it to someone else.

  • You’re really running into some situations lately! It’s like the universe is sending you blog posts!
    I was asked this question once by a man, who was admiring my baby in the pram. He worded it “I see you haven’t lost the weight from your baby!” Thankfully, I was 18 weeks pregnant at the time with another child and had the pleasure of correcting him. His comment made me damn mad though! I can’t imagine how deflating this comment would be otherwise.

    • I want to stay home for a few weeks- I need a break from people!

  • That last meme about when to ask a woman when she’s pregnant is one of my favorite things ever. I’m one of those women who happens to carry all my weight in my stomach, so I’ve gotten this question now and again for most of my adult life. It’s never fun for anyone. Even when I was pregnant and people would ask me in the first few months, I thought, “I don’t look much different from normal. You are skating on thin, thin ice there, friend!”

  • I’ve never had this asked of me but only because I have become an expert at hiding my tummy because I KNOW I look pregnant if I don’t! It’s actually one of my fixations to hide it. I buy all my clothes explicitly to be of good disguise which is actually an exhausting pursuit to be honest!

    • I bet! All because people don’t realise we can have tummies and NOT be preggers!

  • Makes my blood boil! I’ve had this comment a few times and it really pisses me off! One lady at Dan Murpheys even leant down and spoke to my belly?!! Can she not recognise a beer belly when she sees one?!!! A lady at Bunnings once asked, then proceeded to say, I just don’t get why girls today wear tight clothing?!! All the RAGE!!!!

  • Off topic. Can I just share my appreciation for the Phaedra gif. She gives me life.

  • Nope, it’s never ok to ask or say something like that. Why do people need to comment on the shape and size of women’s bodies all the time? I have had three kids and definitely have a ‘mummy tummy’, nothing wrong with that!

  • Vanessa Connor

    I had someone ask me if was pregnant once in the office I was working in, in front of everyone. Considering it was 20 years ago long before I had kids and I was slim at the time, I don’t know what drugs she was on. And at the time we were trying to have a baby and couldn’t, so it was doubly insensitive. Then at my son’s christening, when he was only a few months old, a family friend make a comment about my tummy. You’re absolutely right, we’re not obligated to be thin. It’s bullshit and people should SHUT UP.

  • Amen, sister! I’ve been asked this loads of times, and my belly has never housed a foetus! I’m with Mel, I often retort “I’m not pregnant, I’m just fat.” I find this soon shuts them up and makes them almost as embarrassed as me!

    • Way to throw the awkward back at them! Love it!

  • Oh absolutely… NEVER NEVER ask someone… unless she’s a close friend and not drinking cos that’s a dead giveaway.

    • And even then- ssshhhh! She might just be on antibiotics! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I cannot imagine EVER thinking it was a good idea to pat a stranger’s belly, even if it was bleeding obvious that she was about 14 months pregnant!! I even asked permission from my sister when she was pregnant to give her gorgeous belly a bit of a rub ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I think the world is divided into two camps. Those who ask questions, pat bellies, give kids they don’t know a smack if they’re annoying…..and THOSE of US who DO NONE of those. It’s rude, it’s crude and it’s bloody …can’t think of another rhyming word bit I am sure you get my message. LOUD and CLEAR. xx

  • Best gifs ever! I have been asked before by our size 22 female real estate agent (you would think she would have had my back) at a time when we were desperately trying to fall pregnant with our second. Knife! My sister once had someone give up their seat for her on a train as they thought she was pregnant, she played along and took the seat! She’s not silly. Bahahahaha!

  • Bree

    It is never ok, it is absolutely none of your business if a woman is with child or not. Unless she turns around to you and says “i am pregnant, please pat my stomach and comment on my current personal state”, it is not your place!

  • Yep. Nup. Never okay. If you don’t know whether or not a woman is pregnant it’s because she hasn’t told you so it’s none of your business.

  • I was seven months pregnant with Lottie when I finally decided the time was right to tell my work. Up until then everyone just side-eyed me but nooooobody dared to ask me, even when it was bleeding obvious. Just the way I like it.

  • I can’t believe someone said that to you – what an invasive person. I wonder how many women a day he says that to? Maybe it’s his pick-up line…LOL

  • Oh what a rude person! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that! The last bit, “wait for her to tell you” is so important. I’ve been stuck in a crowed elevator with the office gossip and the manager of my friend, who was off sick as she was having a really difficult pregnancy, although she hadn’t told anyone apart from myself and her manager. The gossip mentioned that there would be another baby on the way and not just mine, and announced she was “so sure” my friend was off as she was pregnant – that she had just been going around telling everyone. I was completely lost for words and just started at the manager, who said nothing, as I muttered something about I’m sure she would have told us if she was….I thought of a lot of clever responses when we were stuck in the team meeting immediately after, but by then it was too late and I felt so horrible for my friend. I’m just glad everything turned out okay with my friend and her baby. Some things aren’t yours to assume or share!

  • Urrrrgghhhhh people commenting on / patting and just being stupid about women’s bellies infuriates me. Had a man ask me 2 weeks post-birth if I was sure there wasn’t another baby inside. Dude. Seriously? I have housed a human. I am *supposed* to look like this. It’s just what happens. Idiots.

  • omg! The number of times I have been asked if I was pregnant. Just after I had my son, possibly 2 months after I was pushing the pram with him in it and wrangling my two year and was asked “when are you due?” I probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it (NEWBORN AND 2 YEAR OLD) and lost it.. “DUE? DUE? DUE FOR WHAT? WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK I’M DUE FOR???”

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    Just don’t do it. OMG. I can’t believe people think that’s appropriate. Than again, people voted for Pauline Hanson… #idonotunderstandtheworldsometimes

  • Yep…been there…silently raged. Oh the shame when the lovely, elderly Italian neighbour commented on my tummy in front of many, MANY people…or so it felt. Booooooo.

  • Oh man, this makes me want to punch people in the face. I think that it’s crazy that people think that actually being pregnant opens up women to take whatever thought pops into their head. Hey, obese guy in the supermarket, I don’t need your commentary on why my hot chips aren’t great for my unborn baby – they are stopping me from throwing up all over the place! Hey, old lady following me in the supermarket, I don’t need to know that you think it is crazy that I’m having another baby – you don’t know me or my circumstances and this is 2016…if I didn’t want to be pregnant, I wouldn’t be. Oh and don’t get me started on the lady that was all like ‘lucky you, with your wide, child-bearing hips – F**K OFF.

  • Grace

    It’s amazing how many people in this world walk around with filter-less mouths. I had suspicions that one school mum friend was possibly pregnant but waited until she told me. She said she was actually a little surprised I hadn’t said anything because her bump was pretty obvious. I just told her I was happy to wait till she was ready to tell me the wonderful news.

    • Look at you, surprising people with your basic good manners- I bet she found it refreshing!

  • Lauren Threadgate

    here here! I had a male friend or my husband’s make a similar comment to me pre-kids – I wore a size bloody 12 in clothes and was tiny! But then he had the nerve to elbow my husband (after I’d flounced into the toilets to have a cry) and tell him that should get me running to lose my pudge for him. Some people are so crass.

  • Yep ๐Ÿ™