What Not To Say To A Pregnant Woman

[Updated from the archives.]


The other day we looked at the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, announcing to her God’s plans in her impending pregnancy. But some people aren’t so good at knowing what to say to a pregnant person.

Advice for Those Married to Pregnant People

Ever been married to a pregnant person? I have. Still am, as a matter of fact. Married to her, that is, not that she’s still pregnant. I remember some of the pregnant life vividly, and one moment always stands out when I think back to those times a couple decades ago. But first let me tell you about an article I just read.

What Not to Say to a Pregnant Person

I found this enlightening article about the things pregnant women hear from friends, family and complete strangers. Here are some excerpts:

Size –”Did you swallow a watermelon,” ‎”You can’t birth a toddler,” “You sure it isn’t twins?” and “Wow! You’re HUGE! Have you got a litter in there??”

Age (looking young) – “I had an old woman in Kroger ask me ‘Do your parents know you are pregnant?’ Totally serious. My fingers were too swollen to wear my wedding bands, so she just assumed I was an unwed teenage mother in need of a pre-birth intervention.”

Age (looking old) – “I was 37 yrs. old and dressed in what I thought was a pretty cute maternity outfit. When I went to the register to pay for my items, the clerk asked me if I was purchasing the items for my grandson. Ugh!”

Family – “My grandmother: ‘I carried my babies like a basketball all in front, I didn’t get big all over like you.’”

Free Medical Advice – “I had a teenage girl at Wendy’s refuse to sell me a Diet Coke, and then proceed to lecture me on the dangers of diet soda and pregnancy.”

Paid Medical Advice – “The worst was when a nurse in my Dr.’s office told me that I had to be lying about exclusively breastfeeding my daughter because there was no way I could be pregnant again if I had.”

Pretty bad, right? I’ve got all of them beat.

What Not to Say to the Pregnant Person You’re Married To

Our son was born 24 years ago, and our daughter 2 years after that. I remember when my wife went into labor that first time as if it were yesterday. She woke me at 1:00 in the morning and told me her water broke. Having paid attention during our birthing classes, I knew to ask how far apart the contractions were. She said they were far apart, so I confidently, although sleepily, told her “I’ll be a lot more use to you if I get some more rest. Wake me when they are closer together.” I proceeded then to go back to sleep.

And she let me.

You might be thinking, “Tim, you should be thankful you’re still married, let alone that you went on to have another kid.” I agree, although I don’t think it’s really a matter of Liz overlooking that extremely poor sleep-addled decision I made that night. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a true blessing in my life, as are both our kids. But my thankfulness for her and them is that, despite the fact that all four of us have made our share of poor decisions over the years, God has blessed us into being one of the best families I know. I think I know how he did it too, at least in part.

It’s What You Say after the Pregnancy

Except for falling asleep on her as she went into labor that first time, I found it pretty easy to do the supportive things for Liz when she was pregnant with both our kids. Whatever she needed, I was on it. And, as you might have guessed, by the time she was nearing the end of her pregnancy with Jenna I had also learned not to go back to sleep when delivery was imminent.

But it’s after the kids were born that the real support began. A baby in the womb is fed and carried and grows. Once outside, it takes more effort to nurture them: feeding, changing, bathing, cuddling, dressing. All these things and more take a ton more effort.

So what is it you say to them after the child is born?

You say “Yes.”

That’s what you say: Yes.

Yes, I’ll change the diaper.

Yes, I’ll cook dinner.

Yes, I’ll run to the store.

Yes, I’ll come home early from work today.

Yes, I’ll _____________.

Because the Bible says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” and “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19.)

Is “No” ever an acceptable response? Sure, at times, but if you ever say “No” in a situation where “Yes” is called for, if you ever say “No” harshly, if you ever say “No” in order to keep yourself for yourself instead of giving yourself up for your wife, then – as soon as possible – change it to “Yes”.

That’s what you say.


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15 Responses to What Not To Say To A Pregnant Woman

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    How many have broken the “yes” rule?
    Rare is the word “no”needed – note word RARE…..

    The most important words a Spanish speaking wife should hear from the husband is:
    “Si mi amor.” (Yes my love) — loosely – Yes Dear.

    Best to all and blessings.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Pastor Bob’s comment immediately made me think of Wesley saying “As you wish” to Buttercup in The Princess Bride.

    Last night I went to a party with 7 other women; our hostess told us that her husband plans and cooks all the Christmas meals, and we all exclaimed that he was a “keeper.” It sounds like you are, too (except for that momentary lapse 24 years ago). Every time you say a “yes” like that you make a deposit in the marriage bank — and then you look back and realize just how wealthy you are!

    • Tim says:

      The “As you wish” motif is even more powerful in the book than in the movie, Jeannie.

    • Jonathan Bee says:

      if the genders were reversed in that conversation everyone would yell SEXIST!!

      aah typical Christian marriage advice, husband is the slave to the wife, never is the wife instructed to say yes to the husband.
      Christ says a lot of No’s to the Church as well, surely the analogy indicates that Christ does not do whatever the church says.
      meh thank goodness and no wonder young men and men in general dislike church, anti male attitudes

      not to mention, how incompetent are these supposed christian women, in most countries even developed ones overseas women are able to be supportive the he husband when he comes back home from a hard day of work ( the reason she is fed, can go to a good hospital give birth etc someone is sacrificially working)

      it works both ways, every time a wife says “yes” it should be a jdeposit as well, but of course all women can just reply and call their husband sexist if he asks for anything…

      • Tim says:

        Jonathan, the post says there are times for yes and times for no but each should be said for the right reason. Forcing people into specific roles like the man working sacrificially and the woman having dinner ready at night obscures the focus.

      • “how incompetent are these supposed christian women, in most countries even developed ones overseas women are able to be supportive the he husband when he comes back home from a hard day of work ( the reason she is fed, can go to a good hospital give birth etc someone is sacrificially working)”

        Not sure what are the ‘most countries’ you refer to Jonathan Bee. In the countries I have been in it’s actually the women who do the hard work in the fields, factories, etc., and who are the staple support of the family (especially when the husbands are pastors). In many of these cases the husbands have left and mothers and grandmothers are trying to keep their families together. They do not have good hospitals in which to give birth and they are often fortunate to have one meal a day. And yes, I am speaking of Christian women. You seem to have a bit of an uninformed view of the real situation in undeveloped and also developed countries.

        It’s clear Tim’s post was not meant in the way you wish to imply.

        • Tim says:

          Well said, Cheryl.

        • Jonathan Bee says:

          yes but by and large it is men working hard look at any stat of men working vs women in developing and developed asian countries!!
          and even when these women work, they are bale to look after the home as well, unlike women that Christianity breeds who are simply taught that a good man is a man who says to whatever her wants are and does whatever she likes
          a man ho Always says “yes” and call it “giving up for your wife”

          if wives do not have to submit, husbands do not have to sacrificially love

          and as I said again all of you guys will be screaming “sexism” if the genders were reversed where if it was a man asking his wife for dinner or to do something for him.

          the christian religion in the west has basically become a way for lazy women to find a way out and blame everything on their husbands and justify why their husbands should do whatever they say.

          you never see a post about wifes serving husbands and saying yes regardless of how tough her day was with the kids etc- of course you guys won’t as feminism is more a priority than genuine equality…

          more men need to leave the church and abandon marriage- it is already happening , the smart ones seem to realise that this is basically a scam into internal slavery ( do whatever the wife says to keep her happy- you have no say as men are “scum”)

          there is a reason there are a lot of single christian women, anyone with any sense of slef respect will not sign up for these one way supposedly sacrificial relationships

        • Tim says:

          JB, the marriages you describe look nothing like the ones I see in the marriages of my friends.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          They look more like Manosphere talking points.

          (I have long suspected that a lot of Manosphere/Men’s Rights types got burned BAD in a marriage and/or relationship and rebounded onto a full-honk Revenge Binge against anything female.)

  3. This is so good it should be required reading for all first time expectant fathers, and especially in the church 🙂 Thanks Tim!

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