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A woman’s pregnant body seems to be an open invitation for unsolicited commentary. I have had everyone, from my friends, to my coffee barista, to a couple of men from the Doe Fund, approach me during my pregnancies to share their two cents on how I look. Sometimes it feels like I’m wearing one of those “How’s my driving?” signs on the back of tractor trailers, that instead says, “How’s my belly?”

For everyone who simply cannot help saying something about how I, or the pregnant person in your own life looks, here is a list of guidelines for you so you can avoid making said pregnant person feel like an ogre. We are a fragile people. Please handle comments with care.

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  • When describing my appearance, it is strongly encouraged that you stick with the following generally non-quantifiable adjectives: fantastic, amazing, gorgeous, incredible, rockin’, spectacular.
  • Note: “Your face looks fuller . . . but in a good way,” is never, ever, a compliment.
  • You might think that calling me a “goddess” is quite generous and sweet of you. This, however, will only bring to mind images from high school AP Art History class such as the faceless and corpulent Venus of Willendorf: Prehistoric Mother Goddess Statue.
  • Upon greeting me after not having seen me for a week or more, please do NOT utter any sentence involving the words, “whoa”, “holy shit”, “enormous”, “huge”, or “I can’t believe how big you have gotten since I last saw you.” Glad I could inject some element of surprise into your life. But this is my everyday reality: I can no longer sit on a toilet without hoisting my belly off of my knees.
  • My gestational progress is not an opportunity to test your guessing prowess. Much like a woman’s age, the length of one’s pregnancy is something to be volunteered by the pregnant person rather than guessed. Fact: If you try to guess, you will most likely estimate three months ahead of where I actually am, resulting in me shame eating salt and vinegar potato chips and a Subway Footlong by myself in a dark room.
  • Please DO say something about my rack. A much larger bust size is one of the few perks of being pregnant. IN THIS AREA ONLY is it permissible to use words like “huge,” “enormous,” and “full.”
  • When commenting on said rack, please do not utter the words “porn star”. Yes, there exists some dark corner of the internet where pregnant women can be seen engaging in pornographic activity, but trust me; I do not feel in any way akin to Jenna Jameson at this stage in my life. (Let’s try to stick to PG-13 words.)
  • If you would like to guess the gender of my child, always guess “boy”. If you tell me I am “carrying like a girl”, then that means that you think I have a tire belly. Everyone knows that carrying like a girl means you are carrying wider, and resemble someone who spends long hours driving a truck more than say, an expectant Gwen Stefani. People also say that girls “suck away the mother’s looks.” So don’t do me any favors.
  • If you see me sweating because I can no longer walk up a hill or stairs without difficulty, please lie and say that you love my “pregnancy glow.” Then, offer a hand.
  • If you have nothing nice to say at all, but absolutely MUST comment on some aspect of my appearance, please stick with the topic of my fuller, shinier mane. Yes, I agree. It does look “glorious.”

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Baby's first birthday is right around the corner—how did that happen? It's understandable if you are feeling all the emotions right now. This is a major milestone for both of you, so while you're planning a celebration for your little one, you should also take this moment to applaud your accomplishments during this past year.

One year ago, you were probably daydreaming about these moments… and possibly slightly nervous about how you would manage. Look at you now, mama! But take a deep breath, because life is about to get even more exciting as your sweet little baby enters toddlerhood!

Here are a few of our favorite items for babies and mamas at the 11-month mark:

To cheer on first steps: Bright Starts rolling monkey

Bright Starts

It takes a lot of strength to get those little legs walking for the first time! Keep your baby encouraged as they gain stability with a new toy to chase down.

$12.89

For mess-free snacking: Munchkin snack catcher

Munchkin Snack Catcher

As your baby begins to work on supervised self-feeding, you'll start to find crumbs everywhere. That's why training snack cups are so brilliant: They prevent them from dumping all those snacks at once.

$4.95

For the first cake-cutting: Creative Converting first birthday party hat

birthday hat

Get your camera ready for that first birthday! Sure, the party hat may only stay on your toddler's head for a few minutes, but the pictures will be around to cherish for a lifetime.

$9.79

For those fine motor skills: Lamaze sorting toy

Lamaze toy

The fine motor development your baby is working on today will help with everything from playing instruments to writing with pencils and so much more later in life. Believe it or not, a simple sorting toy will help boost these foundational skills.

$9.99

For breastfeeding support: Honest Mama nip balm

Honest nip balm

If you are on a breastfeeding journey with your growing babe, you two probably are in a pretty good rhythm—but your tatas still deserve some TLC.

$14.99

For simple beauty touch-ups: Honest Beauty magic balm

Honest Beauty

It can still feel hard to find a spare moment for yourself throughout the day, but it also feels good to keep up with a beauty routine that is heavy on the self-care element. Enter: An incredible multi-purpose balm that can hydrate your lips, soothe cracked skin, tame flyaways and more.

$12.99

For whatever life throws at you: All In Motion anorak jacket

All in Motion

Motherhood is all about multitasking, and your clothing should be able to take you from one activity to the next. Thankfully, the amazingly stylish activewear on the market right now means you can feel good about a wardrobe stable that is able to multitask, too.

$40

For baby’s first cake: KitchenAid hand mixer

Kitchen Aid

If you've been pinning ideas for that first birthday cake since you gave birth, make those dreams a reality with an upgraded mixer you can use throughout the years. Not much of a baker? Visit Target Bakery for a free smash cake with the purchase of a specialty cake!

$49.99

For chasing that active baby: C9 Champion women’s knit sneakers

Champion Sneakers

You might be surprised by how quickly your toddling baby turns into a running baby. So lace up those shoes, mama!

$34.99

For your favorite photos: Project 62 wire clip collage

Project 62

How many pictures have you taken in the past year? We're betting it's a pretty high number, and at least a few of those deserve to be displayed in your home. Make it easy to swap them out with a frame that allows you to display multiple pictures at once.

$20

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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