We've all been there: a co-worker announces her pregnancy at work, and suddenly there are so many questions we want to ask. How far along is she? How is she feeling? Was is hard keeping it a secret until now? Isn't she just thrilled? Many expecting women are happy to talk to friends and colleagues about the excitement of this time in her life. But some women are more guarded about the topics of pregnancy and childbirth and may be uncomfortable discussing them at the office. Here are 10 questions you should think twice about asking your pregnant co-worker.
How Long Were You Trying?
While this question is usually innocent enough in its intention, it potentially forces the expectant mother to tackle two uncomfortable topics: sex and fertility. Do you really want to broach the subject of how often your colleague does it? Or maybe it's not as simple as a bedroom encounter, and she required insemination or fertility treatments to arrive where she is now. Either way, it's not appropriate office chitchat.
How Much Weight Have You Gained?
Sure, weight gain is an inevitability during pregnancy. But it doesn't mean your colleague isn't self-conscious about it! Regardless of whether she appears to have put on a few or barely gained an ounce, it's probably best to steer clear of this topic.
Are You Coming Back to Work?
The decision between staying at home and working after the child's birth can be a rocky one for any mom-to-be, and there are often some complicated financial decisions underlying her ambivalence. Don't add to the pressure by bringing up such a sensitive topic. It's also possible that she simply hasn't yet made up her mind and is therefore uncomfortable discussing it at work where her manager or others might overhear.
How Will You Be Delivering?
A woman's choice of delivery practices is quite a hot button topic these days, and everyone seems to have an opinion. But whether she opts for a home birth, a scheduled C-section, a hospital birth with interventions, or any multitude of other birthing options, it's not our place as her co-workers to make her talk about it or defend it.
How Old Are You?
Mom may be 40, fabulous, and proud to shout it from the rooftops, but if she hasn't volunteered that information to you before, don't wait until she's pregnant to inquire. She may be generally sensitive about her age or afraid that people will jump to conclusions about the health of her baby.
For five more sensitive questions, just keep reading.
Will the Child Be Baptized?
In-depth discussion of religion is sticky enough in an office environment, and the excitement over a co-worker's pregnancy doesn't negate that issue. And making assumptions about the mom-to-be's religious background can offend her or others listening in. Like politics, avoid this office-gab no-no.
How Many Children Do You Plan to Have?
Some women have plotted out a road map for their lives to follow, complete with the number of kids they will have and which colleges they will attend. But for many of us, we leave it up to fate. Becoming pregnant is just the first of many of life's uncertainties, and thinking ahead to how many little ones she plans to create may be an overwhelming consideration while she's still working on this one.
Who's the Father?
Just like they teach you in kindergarten: not all children have a mommy and a daddy. They may have two mommies, two daddies, or no daddy. Perhaps there is a daddy, but there's no wedding date in sight. In fact, maybe your co-worker is giving the gift of parenthood to a couple who can't biologically accomplish it on their own. If you're not clear on the expectant mother's relationship status, you may want to avoid the topic altogether.
What Name Have You Selected?
People love to discuss names, but sometimes too much input can leave parents ambivalent or confused. Unless she asks for your opinion, try not to ask your co-worker for specifics about her child's appellation. If you want to feel out the situation, try asking her if she has selected a name so there's no pressure for her to tell you what she's chosen.
What (Insert Big-Ticket Baby Item) Did You Get?
Expectant parents have to come to grips not only with the fact that they will soon be responsible for another human life but also with the additional expense of that wee one. Just be wary that your co-worker might be self-conscious about sharing with you that her baby will be rolling in a 15-year-old hand-me-down.