The reason it’s not okay? Because it’s none of your business.
It’s really not in any way, shape or form your business to ask a woman something about her body. Many times, though, when people are asking about pregnancy and children, it’s not out of mean spiritedness. It’s also not generally meant to be a deep question, however, it can hit a deep, pain full nerve for many women.
Babies and motherhood in general is a wonderful, miraculous part of life. But health complications, fertility issues, and difficulty conceiving are deeply personal, potentially difficult issues to talk about.
Trust me, if a woman is pregnant and happy about it, she will tell you! Pregnant women love talking about being pregnant and that’s wonderful. But not everyone has seamless pregnancies and some women might be dealing with something they don’t want to share.
I wholeheartedly believe that we should be more open to people who want to discuss difficult pregnancy, miscarriages, etc.
I’ve spoken to several women in their 50’s who miscarried decades ago and back then people acted like nothing happened, or worse, told them that they could just have another baby. It’s horrible to think that a woman should be made to feel like she has to go through something like that alone.
But in general, I also wholeheartedly believe that unless you’re her doctor, it is never appropriate to ask a woman if she’s pregnant.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “What if I’m her husband/wife/parent/sibling/best friend? Surely we’re close enough that I can ask her that.” My answer is still no.
If anything, it might be because she has something set up to surprise you with the news. Don’t take that special moment from her.
Below are several more reasons why it’s never a good idea to ask someone if they are pregnant.
- You’re her employer. This is all kinds of inappropriate and in some states, illegal.
- She looks pregnant, but isn’t. Especially if the woman isn’t pregnant, this can easily be taken as an insult. She might just be carrying weight in her abdomen or she might have already had the baby. Pregnancy can be a complicated time for women and their body image — it’s not your place to ask either way.
- She might have had a recent miscarriage or is struggling to conceive. This could be a very personal and painful subject to talk about and something she doesn’t want to share with you. Enough people asking her this could feel like an attack.
- It might be too early to spread the news. She might not have told her loved ones yet and doesn’t want them to find out before she can tell them.
- She could be pregnant, but not super pumped about it. She might be having anxiety about pregnancy, having health complications, or just having a bad day (few women are going to joyously answer your question if she just had a bout of morning sickness).
- For any number of reasons, the details about her pregnancy might not be ideal or something she wants to talk about. The father might be making things difficult, or someone she doesn’t want to raise the baby with. She might be putting the baby up for adoption or maybe the baby’s health is at risk.
- She straight up doesn’t want kids and is tired of having to justify that. Some people don’t want to have to deal with your question because a lot of people use this to try to change the person’s mind. Following up with, “But your babies would be so cute!,” “You’ll change your mind one day!,” “You’re not a real woman if you don’t experience childbirth and motherhood!” No, thank you.
While I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world to ask, I do think it’s not the best thing to ask either. Pregnancy and having children is a very personal thing that a woman can share if she chooses to. It’s not our place to ask or assume anything about anyone else’s experience, no matter our own personal views on it.
What are your thoughts on the pregnancy question?