So you’re at that age where friends are starting to get pregnant, and as a single person yourself, you’re not quite sure how to deal with this new information. Should you act differently around an expectant mummy? Do you speak in lower tones in case the foetus gets frightened? Can your friend still go out and…be normal?
We’re here to help all mummies and friends of mummies everywhere in this handy FAQ.
My friend looks pregnant. Should I congratulate her?
Yes, if you enjoy bungee jumping without the rope. The safest way is to wait for her to inform you. After all, most mothers would prefer to make the announcement only after the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is significantly lower! Don’t put her on the spot by compelling her to tell you, or worse, if it turns out she isn’t pregnant…
But I was told that she’s pregnant.
Whoever told you is a very bad friend indeed. Pregnancy announcements, unless made on Facebook, should be kept between you and the mummy. Wait to be told personally, and if you are, don’t tell anyone else unless she makes it clear that it’s okay for you to tell other friends. But why would you?
I wanna touch my friend’s belly. Can I pleaaaase touch her belly?
Only if you ask for her permission. Look at it this way: if your friend weren’t pregnant, would you randomly touch a body part just because you wanted to feel it? Her belly may be bigger than usual, but it still falls within her personal space.
My friend looks bloated and puffy. I think I should give her some health and beauty tips.
She’s busy making arms and legs in there! Her hormones would be all over the place, and bloating is common. Instead of telling her how she should look, try making her feel comfortable with herself instead. The first step is NOT to tell her that she looks bloated. That’s really 90% of what all pregnant women want.
Another friend took this amazing pearl soya goat’s beard milkshake and her baby came out so fair-skinned! I should tell my friend that.
Yes you could, but unsubstantiated health advice, however well-intentioned, will most likely be ignored. Your friend has the doctor to tell her what to eat and what not to eat, so don’t stress her out by giving unsolicited advice!
My mum’s friend’s aunt has this unused baby car seat and I think it would be perfect for her!
Hand-me-downs are fine, and even greatly appreciated by expectant parents because these things can be really expensive! But be sure to do your due diligence because a baby’s health and safety are at stake here. It may be unused, but it may not be in tip-top condition. The rule of thumb is: whatever you wouldn’t use for yourself or your future baby, don’t expect your friend to use it too. Some mums prefer their items brand new, so the best way to get around this, is to simply ask what your friend needs. Trust us, she’ll really appreciate it!
I think I’ll just be practical and buy diapers and milk powder. I heard they’re really expensive!
Indeed they are! But when it comes to consumables and baby products, it’s best to ask your friend which brand she prefers. A baby can be really fussy, and mum knows best! The last thing you want is to make your friend feel obliged to use what you’ve given her, or to have to throw it away.
I want to know what my friend’s going to name her baby.
By all means, ask! If she doesn’t want to tell you, she’ll skirt around the question, and don’t ask again. But whatever you do, If you don’t like the name, just don’t say it. Like, “My ex-boss’s name is Ashley and she was the worst.”
Since my friend had a baby, she hasn’t come out to see us at all. What’s her problem?
You’re in control of your own schedule, but a parent may not be. A baby’s mood can be rather volatile – they get sick, they get cranky, or they just won’t go to bed. Your friend is being considerate because she may end up having to take a last minute raincheck or cancel plans altogether. While your friend is adjusting to parenthood, you can offer to go over to her place instead, and have a quiet night watching TV or just having a girly chat!
My friend is breastfeeding/not breastfeeding/not expressing enough milk etc. and I don’t think she’s doing it right.
A recent study showed that young mothers are often “watched and judged“, which forces them into doing things just to ease public pressure. Parents, parents-in-law, and relatives often want to chip in with their two cents, and that builds up to a lot of stress for the mother! Unless the mummy is doing something harmful to herself or her child, it’s always advisable to leave the parenting to them and just be a supportive friend. If words fail you, take a leaf from the Gilmore Girls:
What are other questions that may not be appropriate to ask or say?
So, when’s the next one coming? – The number of children that your friend wants to have is entirely up to her. Having a child is a huge responsibility and is financially taxing; plus, your friend is probably worrying about which school to send her kid to!
Why aren’t you breastfeeding? You should try harder. – Some mothers may not be able to breastfeed for multiple reasons, or may even choose not to. There’s a lot of guilt that comes with being a mum, so as long as she isn’t doing anything harmful, it’s best to leave your friend to it.
It’s so nice to be a stay-at-home mum, life must be easy! – No, it really isn’t.
Read Next: 8 Common Pregnancy Myths, Debunked
Think you know the gender of the baby by the shape of your friend’s belly? You’ll be better off trying to hunt a unicorn down! Click here to #topupknowledge on the what’s what of pregnancy.