For Mothers Everywhere (pardon me this angry rant, but please comment and add any 'others' I may have missed!!)
Number 1: "Are you pregnant"?
I never believed that someone would have the gall to ask this question until it happened to me...when I was NOT pregnant. Actually, what she said was, "you are not pregnant, are you?" or something slightly more innocent sounding, but equally horrifying. I remember my reply...uh, no. Then she said, "that is a terrible thing to say, isn't it?" and I said, uhh, yes, it is. Then I walked away. I have heard these accounts from many of my friends, both those who have just had children and some who have not had children. Now I believe that there are people dumb enough to ask this question. And 90% of the time, it is a woman who asks, which makes it worse. Men we can shake off, like, well, they must not know what a pregnant woman would look like. Women should know better. I still want to slap the woman upside the head who said it to me, and if I see her, I just might. Basically, unless a woman is buying baby supplies AND she looks like she is about to give birth on the floor, don't ever ask this question. Even then, tread lightly. Otherwise, wait for her to say it, then respond.
Number 2: "Is she (i.e. your baby) still not sleeping through the night?"
Unless you have a child who is five and still not sleeping through the night, don't ask this. Especially if you follow it with a gushing remark like, ohh, my baby was sleeping through the night at only 10 weeks old, it was sooooo easy. In fact, any comparisons like this should probably be left unsaid. It sounds condescending and judgmental. It also implies that the mother looks exhausted and so you assumed that her child must be wearing her out. You know what assuming does, right?
Number 3: "How much did you gain during your pregnancy?"
Women do not like to discuss their weight, in case you hadn't noticed. Especially discussing the time in most of our lives when we have weighed the MOST...it is not exactly enjoyable conversation. Unless you are a very, very good friend or our mothers, do not go here.
Number 4: "Is he circumcised?"
If you know the mother or father to be vocal advocates of this topic, then fine. Otherwise, I find it a bit intrusive to be asked this question. Discussing this with your pediatrician, family, or friends is OK, but with strangers, not so much. Asking someone what they are thinking about it before the baby is born seems innocuous, because they can answer with "I just don't know" if they want to, but asking after the fact about someone's decision on their child's body parts is a little too much. Especially if you just met in a birth class or at the park.
I could add "Who's the father?" to this list as well, because asking that is just plain rude. I don't know many in this position as single mothers, but again, I have heard accounts of people asking this. If you are not close enough to know, then you shouldn't know.
Number 5: The question that has really infuriated me personally is this: it seems sweet at first, "How old is he/she?"
You answer, "14 months." You are expecting some sweet reply like, 'what a darling', or 'he's so cute', or 'enjoy it'. Replies you have heard many times. But instead, this person chooses to say, "Really? My God, he only looks like he's about 9 months old!" Or the other way, they say, "wow, she's so big! my 2 year old granddaughter is her size!" Not cool, people, not cool. Thinking you can size up another person's child's age is just not helpful. Plus if the parent has worries about their child not eating well, or being overweight, you just add to their worries unnecessarily. I used to want to trip those people who guessed my son's age in the airport or at the mall. "How old is he", they would say, "seven months?" "No, he's ten months." "Really? He's so small!" Gee, thanks, and you're ugly. That's what I should have said.