Bullying and harassment during pregnancy

Article on bullying and harassment relating to the treatment of pregnant women. Below are some of the comments, statements and feelings that I have either personally experienced during pregnancy or overheard on the train said to other ladies.

Bullying and harassment isn’t about ‘name calling’ it is a lot of things including how you treat someone. If the recipient does not like the statements or treatment this can be classified as bullying. Yes there are times when certain statements need to be made which are unpleasant to hear such as bad news – these aren’t bullying. Statements such as your fat even if you are overweight maybe factually correct but are unnecessary to be continuously mentioned especially if said in a nasty manner (even if the teller thinks their been funny). Remember there’s a time and a place for comments and we all have feelings. Pregnancy exasperates a lot of emotions so us ladies are more prone to feeling upset by things even if before we would laugh off the statement.

1. Been dictated too about what you should eat because you’ll get ‘fat’

There’s two sides to this one being based on medical advice i.e. BMI was high to start with so you should be careful not to put in too much weight on.

The other side is when people won’t let you eat even though you’re hungry because they tell you are fat. Husbands partners who constantly go on about fat instead of praising their glowing beautiful woman who is growing a miracle.

I read an article for partners of pregnant women which said how to make her feel good. On the list was numerous mentions of give her food. Surely that isn’t healthy advice! Yes we are pregnant and there may be days we are starving like our mouths were sewn up but it doesn’t mean you should force feed us. Also there are some ladies that suffer horrendously from sickness all throughout pregnancy and certain foods could make it worse.

2. Not involving pregnant women in activities that are still safe for participation just because she’s pregnant. Believe it or not pregnancy is not an illness and as long as we are physically able we would love to be invited to participate in events. Let us decide whether we can or cannot do something don’t just assume because we’re pregnant we can’t do it. There are some pregnant womenfolk who continue to body build up until they give birth!

3. Social avoidance (similar to the above)

yep a lot of pregnant women regardless of their stage of pregnancy tend to be deliberately excluded from social events. We can go on nights out and still have a good time. Yes we will be drinking virgin cocktails and probably have to get an earlier taxi home but it doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy your drunken company and a boogie on the dance floor. However, don’t use us as designated driver that just makes us to be a convenience factor for your night out.

Some women (and men) just generally avoid pregnant women. The reasons are unknown but it’s like they treat us like someone with a grossly contagious disease. You can’t can’t pregnancy!!

4 constant bump size comments like oh your having twins when your only having one or you look ready to burst and your only 16 weeks gone.

Whatever the reason for the comments why not stop and think before you speak. At the end of the day we are human and have feelings and our hormones make us even more emotionally affected by your comments. We take things to heart quicker after all we’re not made of wood!

5. Been told we shouldn’t expect or receive any special treatment because we’re not ill!

Ok I know I mentioned above pregnancy isn’t an illness but some women do suffer certain pregnancy related illnesses and conditions. All that extra weight you’re carrying eventually hurts your back. You become exhausted quicker, cannot get comfy even sat on the comfiest chair known to man. You’re constantly up and down to the toilet to pass a teaspoons worth of pee. So surely after a few months letting us sit down in the dedicated seats on a train isn’t going to end the world. Let us be able to sit and stand as we choose ie if we operate a till in the supermarket let us have a chair so we can alternate. If we work in an office and sat all day allow us more frequent breaks so we are not sat there 8 solid hours. If we drive for Business don’t expect us to be behind the wheel of the car for the whole pregnancy!

6. Is it a boy or girl, have you picked names – why won’t you share that information

Some women don’t wish to share every detail of their pregnancy with friends and family let alone a total stranger so don’t presume you’ll be told. Also there are some ladies who (like myself) waited a long time to grow a miracle and didn’t want to find out the gender before the birth just to have that extra surprise. Also forgive us if we choose not to tell you the baby names we are deciding on because after all our little miracle might not suit the name and we decide to change it when we meet them for the first time.

7. Unwanted physical contact

Pregnant women are not your personal property! Yes, society in general becomes transfixed on pregnant women, we become the centre of wanted (and unwanted) attention. Strangers walk up to you and congratulate you, some open doors for you and give up their seat whilst others make snide remarks about weight or feel the need to touch your bump. Bump touching has a mixed response in the pregnant lady community some like it but most hate it. How would you like it if we touched your belly and said oh when’s it due when in fact your either a little overweight or have a hernia or something similar. Yes it’s crossing the unseen boundary of personal space yet some just assume that a pregnant woman is no longer entitled to that personal space.

If you are really desperate to touch the bump ASK first don’t just do it. A simple polite enquiry could result in you being able to share a kick from the baby or simply been denied the opportunity in a friendly tone.

8. Announcing the birth or details of the birth before the parents. Ok not directly pregnancy related more about the birth but still important.

The expectant parents have been waiting 9 months to meet their little miracle and have picked names and a going home outfit to dress them in. They may even have booked a newborn photoshoot so they have photos to share when they wish to announce the birth of their son or daughter then a member of the family or a friend announces the birth first. Boom! Magic has left the room, the expectant parents then feel rushed into announcing the birth sooner than they liked. In this modern society a lot of people demand to know every detail of someone’s live via social media the second it happens but a lot of us want to have a specially few days / weeks of privacy before letting the world know. Don’t take the experience away from the new parents even if you’re over the moon with excitement for them. It’s their child let them announce in their own time.

Oh and don’t demand every detail of their child’s birth or even a photo. If the parents want to share that they’ll tell you!

The above isn’t an exhaustive list but just a few items that are pet peeves to most pregnant women. Please feel free to share your pet peeves in the comments below.

Katherine xo

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