If you’re looking for the quick answer to “What is the question you should never ask?” the answer is “Are you pregnant?” (And its various formats: when are you due/are you having a boy or a girl/etc). But there’s a longer answer, too.
If you’re a woman who is married and of childbearing age, you’re probably at the forefront of pregnancy speculations every time you say you’re not feeling well or wear an outfit that makes your stomach look a little big.
When I was pregnant for the second time, I remember announcing the pregnancy and my friend said she already suspected simply because I had said I was feeling sick a few weeks earlier. Women of childbearing age literally cannot get a little green around the gills without people wondering if they’re pregnant. I also know people question if women are pregnant because they think they’ve noticed a baby bump.
The truth is that no one wins when people speculate about whether or not someone else is pregnant. When people speculate about another person’s possible pregnancy, there are only two outcomes: they’re either right, or they’re wrong. Either way, it’s not good!
If You’re Wrong:
If you ask a woman if she’s pregnant and you’re wrong, you’ve created a I-want-to-crawl-into-a-hole embarrassing moment for the woman as she tries to explain that she is indeed not pregnant. Then, once it’s explained, there’s a good chance you will also want to crawl into said hole. If the speculation is based on seeing a larger non-baby-bearing-stomach then you also risk making people feel bad about their physical characteristics. A bump is far from evidence of a pregnancy! Some women’s bodies naturally have that appearance. Some women’s bodies also unnaturally have that appearance.
There is condition called a diastasis recti in which is when the muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen separate from one another and create a gap between the left and the right stomach muscles. This causes everything to bulge outwards and make women appear pregnant months or even years after giving birth. A diastasis recti can happen a few different ways but it is most commonly a result from pregnancy. It can occur from any pregnancy but is especially common in women who deliver a baby with a high birth weight, have had a pregnancy with multiples, have underlying abdominal problems, and/or have multiple pregnancies. A diastasis recti causes women to continue to look pregnant even when they aren’t.
Now here is the kicker: diastasis rectis is very common. Around two-thirds of women who experience pregnancy will have a diastasis recti, meaning everyone reading this knows people with this condition. (As a side note, if you’re reading this and realizing you may have a muscle separation that you want to start fixing, your best bet is to talk to your doctor and request a physical therapy referral).
A large stomach may also not be a diastasis recti. Some people’s bodies naturally carry more body fat around the abdomen. And some people have medical conditions, allergic reactions, and bloating which cause their stomachs to be larger.
Another risk you take asking someone if they’re pregnant is that you may be encroaching on a sensitive topic if they have been struggling with infertility issues. It’s a question that breaks there heart every time they have to answer it.
As you can see, it’s pretty risky to speculate about if people are pregnant, and there is a pretty reasonable chance that you will be wrong.
If You’re Right:
Maybe you’re speculating about a pregnancy and it turns out that you’re right! That is often better than being wrong, but it’s still not good. There’s no reason anyone needs to know if someone is pregnant before they have announced that they are. If they haven’t announced a pregnancy, there’s probably a reason for it.
Maybe they haven’t told their close family yet and are waiting to tell them before telling others.
Maybe they have a history of miscarriage.
Maybe they’re just not ready to announce yet.
Whatever the reason is, the fact remains that they haven’t decided to let people know yet. It’s not up to you to force their hand and answer your question. Each couple will reveal their pregnancy to the right people on their own schedule; respect that they know what’s best for their growing family.
They’ll announce when they’re ready or you’ll see a new person appear in their family and you will know then. Sit back, relax, and wait for the reveal – or lack of a reveal – to find out. The good news is that you’ll know soon enough. Definitely within the next nine months.