Parents (USA) - - Contents - By KATE ROPE

De­flect un­wanted com­ments.

Pre­pare an all-pur­pose an­swer.

From your mom to the guy at the lo­cal deli, ev­ery­one seems to have an opin­ion about your bump. If your belly is large, you may hear, “Are you due any day now?” or “Sure you’re not hav­ing twins?” On the flip side, be­ing told you’re car­ry­ing small can make you worry there might be a prob­lem with your baby. Stick with a low-key re­sponse such as, “Hu­man re­pro­duc­tion is amaz­ing, isn’t it?” Or just laugh it off and re­mem­ber that baby bumps come in all shapes and sizes.

Re­spond grace­fully.

The sim­plest ac­tiv­ity, like or­der­ing a de­caf latte, can spark un­so­licited com­ments. You can cer­tainly de­bunk the per­son’s mis­in­for­ma­tion by ex­plain­ing, for ex­am­ple, that it’s fine for preg­nant women to have some cof­fee. Peo­ple may be ea­ger to share their own preg­nancy hor­ror sto­ries with you, like the co­worker who of­fers a play-by-play of her emer­gency C-sec­tion. They usu­ally be­lieve they’re be­ing help­ful and want some­one else to have the in­for­ma­tion that they didn’t have. Your re­sponse can be po­lite but di­rect: “Thanks, but I’d rather not hear about dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ences right now.”

Curb in­tru­sive be­hav­ior.

Ran­dom peo­ple may touch your stom­ach. While the ges­ture is usu­ally in­no­cent, you can show you’re not com­fort­able with it by tak­ing a step back­ward and mak­ing a light­hearted joke, such as, “Look, but don’t touch. You break it, you buy it!” You’ll find that no topic is off-lim­its, in­clud­ing whether you plan to breast­feed. Never feel ob­li­gated to re­veal your choices. The opin­ions that mat­ter? Yours and your part­ner’s. Sources: Kathryn L. Bleiberg, PH.D., as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy in clin­i­cal psy­chi­a­try at Weill Cor­nell Medicine, in New York City; Paula Spencer Scott, au­thor of Mom­fi­dence!; Karen Win­ter, D.O., a fam­ily physi­cian in No­vato, Cal­i­for­nia.

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