When it comes to unplanned pregnancy, people can say some very rude things. Some of my favorites include “Have you ever heard of birth control?” “Should have kept your legs closed!” and “What were you thinking?” Why some people think it’s okay to make these types of comments is beyond me, but it happens. So how can you respond?
First, consider your audience. Do you care about this person’s’ opinion? Are they making these comments in a well-meaning way? Are you going to be seeing this person regularly? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s often best not to dignify them with a response. Someone who is rude to you on purpose is not worth your time or stress.
Sometimes, however, it is appropriate to snap back. You don’t have to be rude, only honest. “I can’t believe you would be so rude to do/say/ask that” will usually stop someone in their tracks. Asking them to explain a joke they made about your pregnancy is also fairly effective in making someone uncomfortable enough to leave you alone.
If someone you care about makes those types of comments, take a different approach. Most people don’t mean to be rude or hurtful. Sometimes they’re just surprised to find out you’re pregnant, and say the first thing that comes to mind. Usually, people who care about you are just being thoughtless, rather than truly unkind.
With this group of people, you can respond in one of two ways. Sometimes it’s appropriate to educate–communicate with them that their comment was hurtful, and explain why. If you feel comfortable, explain the specifics of your situation that might help them to understand what you’re going through. Educate them, and they will more than likely be apologetic and supportive.
Other people just won’t get it. No matter how much you care about each other, some people will say things that hurt. Explaining won’t always get you anywhere. In situations like that, be as gracious as possible and try and understand where they are coming from. Maybe they are from a generation that is less open minded. Maybe their personal or family background makes it harder for them to empathize with you. If you want to preserve your relationship with this type of person, you might just have to let it go. Go home and scream in your pillow if you need to–this situation is one of the hardest things you’ll deal with during your pregnancy.
You’re going to hear some outrageous comments–that’s part of facing an unplanned pregnancy. If you’re tough enough to give this baby life, you’re tough enough to handle the ignorant people who don’t know how brave you are.
For more guidance regarding your unexpected pregnancy, visit Adoption.com.