This week I posted an article, I’m Not Pregnant (And Why You Should Never Ask, disclosing my experiences as a woman of child bearing age. In twenty four hours, the article was viewed nearly 600 times and sparked some great dialogue both on Social Media and in person. So many women have approached me to talk about a time they were asked about family planning, pregnancy and even if they were going to stop having babies after birthing or adopting a specific number of children.
Thank you to so many women (and some brave men too) for sharing your experiences, speaking up about awkward situations and bringing to light a subject most of us are too self conscious to talk about (up until this point, I hope).
Why am I posting about this subject matter on LinkedIn, a business networking site? Because many times, these encounters happen in a business setting. At a meeting. During an event. In the first few seconds of a handshake and business card exchange. By talking about this, we can hopefully reduce these incidences and eventually make questions and comments about a woman’s body and fertility socially unacceptable – in any setting – whether it be social or professional.
Here are 8 reasons why you should never make comments about a woman’s ability and decision to have children:
1. Did She Gain Weight?: Just because we’ve gained weight, doesn’t mean we are pregnant. If a guy gains weight, should we ask him when his beer and burger baby is due? Please cut us women some slack. Many of us gain weight at times throughout our journey. It DOES NOT mean we are with child.
2. Did She Just Have a Baby?: Maybe we had a baby a month ago, maybe six months ago, maybe 2 years ago. In any of these scenarios, we had a baby. For most of us, the pregnancy weight doesn’t just fall off. That doesn’t mean we are doubling down in the childbearing department. Please, give us a break.
3. Is She Newly Pregnant?: When a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she may want to wait until the second trimester before telling people. Just because you ask, doesn’t mean we are going to tell you before our parents, family and closest friends. So please don’t put us in that situation. Seriously, don’t.
4. Does She Struggle with Her Body Image?: Many women struggle with feeling comfortable in our own skin. We experience days when we feel fat or bloated. Some of us have eating orders, such as anorexia or bulimia. When you make reference to us being pregnant, when we are not, you are adding more self doubt to our body image struggles.
5. How is Her Self Confidence Level?: Like having a positive body image, it’s not always easy to feel good. Like really good. You know, the dang-this-dress-makes-me-look-awesome kind of good. And when we feel this way, happiness can radiate off of us. Nothing kills this confidence like someone asking us when we are due. Please don’t kill our sunshine.
6. Is She Experiencing Relationship Issues?: The only shoes you walk in, and life you live, is your own. You never know what people are going through – regardless of if they are single, in a relationship, married, divorced, dating, separated, playing the field… Okay, you get it. Don’t add fuel to the fire with a comment or question.
7. Is She Struggling with Infertility?: So many women struggle with infertility. If you ask a woman when she is due or when is she’s planning on having a baby, you could be adding salt into the large gaping wound in her heart. Every woman knows her age. Please don’t make reference to a biological clock ticking. The only thing she’ll be ticked off at is you.
8. Has She Miscarried or Lost a Child?: Perhaps the woman you say something to has recently experienced one or more miscarriages. Maybe she has gone through the unimaginable and lost a child. In this situation, the days are hard. They are sad. Do you want to contribute to the sadness or even worse, force her to disclose her loss to you?
Bonus Reason: It’s none of your business. Period.
Bottom line, we are all adults. We are educated. We are civilized. We can certainly find something to talk about in a social or professional setting. If all else fails, reference the weather, sports or even President Trump. In most cases, that’s a safer bet!
*originally published by Danielle via LinkedIn on May 25, 2018. Reposted with permission