Illustration for article titled Don't Ask Pregnant Women If You Can Photo: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet (Shutterstock)

When my partner and I announced to our close family and friends that we were expecting this, we were soon bombarded with a certain question: “Are you excited?” (Or my personal favorite, “Is Maliq excited?”) Maliq and I had Strategically planned in the past two years to have a family. Of course we were excited. And yet, I realized pretty quickly that for some, my excitement wasn’t good enough or believable. I asked myself, how could I “properly” convey my excitement without saying that I was excited, and besides, why should I feel that I have to be up to a certain level of excitement in order to appease others?

To be honest, not only was I shocked and grateful that we got pregnant immediately after my IUD was removed, and while I was healthy, I was scared of the thought of possibly having a miscarriage. When I was 32, I knew at least seven other 30-year-olds who had miscarried – and two of the seven had stillborn babies. And they are not alone; About a third of all confirmed pregnancies end loudly Very good family. Of course I was excited, but as an empath and a practical thinker, I had to accept that I could be part of that 31 percent.

As a humanities scholar, I began to unpack the intentions behind the “Are you excited?” Question. And more importantly, I was keen to consider the implications of the question for an expectant parent who, for whatever reason, might not be excited. I knew some of these mothers personally, and the thought that their truth would be denied because such a question is “normal” or “innocent” didn’t go well with me.

Illustration for article titled Don't Ask Pregnant Women If You Can

Here are three reasons why you should stop asking mothers-to-be (and their partners) if they’re excited – and what to say instead.

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Samsung Galaxy Buds +Consider the impact of the question on an expectant parent who, for some reason, may not be excited.

It leaves little room for honesty and vulnerability

First of all, the question is general. It can be felt to be carefree, the pregnancy equivalent of “How’s your day going?” But it rarely happens that the person who asks how your day is going really wants to know all the details – good or bad – about your day. The expectation is that you will respond with an answer that is somewhere between “Fairly good” or “Great, thank you”.

While I believe that many people who ask pregnant women if they are excited do so with good intentions, it is one of those questions that leaves little room for an honest or vulnerable answer. The answer could actually be “no”. In all fairness, many of us are unwilling to deal with other people’s truths, especially if they don’t meet society’s expectations or our personal view of things.

Pregnancy creates a number of feelings

Excitement is relative to our individual personality and our living conditions. More importantly, people express their arousal in different ways. Some feel more comfortable expressing their arousal visibly for everyone they interact with, while others, just as excited, feel more comfortable enjoying their arousal in private. One person’s excitement looks like exultation while another looks more like contentment. both are fine and neither should need defending.

It’s also important to remember that there are a variety of emotions that women experience when they’re pregnant, from nervous, anxious, or anxious to angry, or even frustrated. It is unfair to limit an expectant mother to just feelings of excitement, and it is unfair to project our personal expectations about what we think excitement should look like.

It’s invasive

Whether we want to admit it or not, asking someone if they’re excited that they’re pregnant is invasive. We may not be aware of how long it took for the expectant mother to actually get pregnant. Instead of being excited, she is far more nervous. We also may not know how many miscarriages an expectant mother has experienced. Instead of being excited, she may be scared of being excited and struggling with fear.

It should also go without saying that not every pregnancy is a planned pregnancy – and whether someone has planned their pregnancy or not is none of our business. An expectant mother who had no intention of becoming pregnant may experience feelings of resentment, anger, or shame. An expectant mother with multiple children, whether as a partner or single, may be trying to figure out how to balance everything emotionally, financially, and physically.

It’s also important not to ignore the experiences of single mothers. For a single mother who is getting little support from the father of her unborn child, excitement can be one of the last emotions she feels. Ultimately, we should respect the invisible boundaries and unknown triggers of pregnant women.

Illustration for article titled Don't Ask Pregnant Women If You Can

What should I say instead?

Instead of asking parents-to-be if they’re excited, consider the following options:

“How are you feeling? / How are you?”

This open-ended question leaves room for an expectant parent to share as much information with you as possible and doesn’t project any particular emotion onto them.

“How exciting!”

This answer gives you space to express how excited you are for the parent-to-be. It also doesn’t require a formulaic answer from them.

“Is there anything I can do? Do you need to prepare for the baby? “

This answer shows that you care and are ready to be part of the parents-to-be village. Expectant mothers in particular can use all of the support and love they can get from their family and friends during pregnancy.

“You will be a great parent!”

A little reassurance can’t hurt, especially when you’re embarking on a new journey like parenting. It also secretly tells the parents-to-be that if they are concerned, everything will be fine.


A simple congratulation goes a long way. It’s a time-honored, classic answer, and most importantly – it’s non-invasive!