Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

“So, when are you due?”

Posted by Lissa on April 23, 2012


I told the folks at work about BabyKitty on Friday. I meant to wait until next week – we’ve a big function this Saturday and I wanted to wait until after it was all done – but that all changed Friday afternoon.

I was saying goodbye to Mr. M — actually, I was *trying* to get him out of the office while he was lingering and, I swear, starting at my bustline — when he looked me up and down and then said the fatal words:

“So, when are you due?”


Dear readers, PLEASE tell me you know better than this. The cardinal two rules of pregnancy:

1) Never ask when someone is due unless the words “I’m pregnant” have just come out of her mouth.

2) Never congratulate someone for being pregnant unless there is an actual baby emerging from between her legs at that very moment. (Or the words “I’m pregnant” have just come out of her mouth.

How Mr. M lived to be 65 without knowing these rules, I don’t know.

What was I to do? I couldn’t say “yes” — I hadn’t told my bosses yet! I couldn’t say “no” because it would be lying, and I’m not a good liar. (And they’d know I was lying when the news came out.)

So I popped my eyes as wide as they would go and looked at him with my head cocked sideways, trying to communicate wordlessly – and clearly – “OH MY GOD DID YOU JUST F***ING SAY THAT?!?” and said, “Excuse me?!?!”

That wasn’t enough, oh no. Because he replied by gesturing at my abdomen and asking, “Are you in the family way?”

My head tilted a little more, my eyes got even wider, and I mentally added more curse words to my silent communication.

At this point his wife came to his rescue and instructed me to ignore him.

I wished them a nice day – my eyes still wide – and dismissed them.


On the bright side – it turns out one of my bosses didn’t know the cardinal rules either, so I’m fairly sure I’ve saved him from being slapped, stabbed or shot at some point in his life. There’s that.

13 Responses to ““So, when are you due?””

  1. ruth said

    The number of people who do not know those rules is staggering. Though they usually learn them really quickly the first time the woman in question responds “I’m not, I just need to loose 30lbs…..” I just haven’t figured out how these people have survived as long as some of them have withOUT having had that experience….

  2. momiss said

    So sorry this happened, but it will probably continue. I was always a pretty open book when I was pregnant, and I come from a small town so I was used to it, however rude I thought it was, (and I did). But the worst time was after I had given birth to the twins, which was an emergency necessitating them to be in the NICU for 2 and 3 weeks after their birth. I gained over 100 lbs with the twins and still looked at least 6 months pregnant about 10 days later. Really. Luckily, I was so worried about them living that I did not let this get me down, but one poor woman…………came up to me in the bathroom and of course not knowing the circumstances, smiled really big and asked me when I was due. It did not hurt my feelings because my stomach was still so big and I wasn’t pregnant anymore AT ALL, but I was so scared and sad that all I could do was look at my stomach with tears rolling down my face. In a split second she realized that something was terribly wrong and fell all over herself apologizing while I continued to cry. She was nice enough to wait until I could talk and tell her the whole story, and then hugged me and told me she would pray for us all.
    Not really a bad experience, but certainly memorable. I will never forget her.

    • Momiss, I was a surrogate mother for a set of twins about five years ago, and I also had a c-section and my abdomen was VERY swollen still a few days later when I was at the bank. I walked up to the teller (a young woman), who asked me the fatal question, “When are you due?”


      I set her straight, but instead of acknowledging her mistake, she merely told me, “Well, you’re still waddling like you’re pregnant!” If looks could kill, she’d have died on the spot, bullet-proof glass or not!

  3. Proper Answer: “I’m not due, I’m just a heavy drinker!” Then vacate the scene! 8)

  4. Brad Kruse said

    OK, two bits.

    History, in the “back in the good old days, as I remember them” sense. Delivery of a healthy child was a community event. The community came together to celebrate the happy event (not necessarily *at* the moment of delivery, most of them). From times before ubiquitous hospitals, experienced friends and neighbors helped each other with birthing, and some plans about when to be available had to be made, so knowing about when to expect the onset of labor made sense, for the whole community. In the best communities, friends and neighbors helped to ward evils and risks away from the expectant family. And, too, there is a burst of magic, or creation, however you view the world, in the beginning of a new life, an experience that is as magical as a momentous sunset, as the discovery of love, and as the wonder of a gentle rain settling the dust of a drought.

    The M dude could also be remembering the times of others in his life, and estimating the issues you are facing at this point in your pregnancy, remembering how others he know coped and met various indignities, wonders, and frustrations.

    In the modern corporate, “every cube dweller is identical to every other cube dweller” mass marketed, mass health cared world, we are unaccustomed to think of how our lives affect others, either in the world others remember or in the world of our current acquaintances. Telling the old guy that he is rude would make as much sense as the mother-at-the-wedding asking, “So, when will you present me with my first grandchild?”

    I wouldn’t encourage the guy, I wouldn’t hold it against him, either.

    • Lissa said

      Brad, I’m perfectly happy when people in my neighborhood or others who are close to me congratulate me. Or the friendly woman who checks me out almost every weekend at Publix. But I think it’s very bad manners to look at a woman’s abdomen and decide that you think there is something growing there.

  5. guffaw1952 said

    At least he didn’t ask the estimated date of conception! (a non-medical person asked my then-wife that!)
    OH, more fun for you, upcoming…
    Once you are ‘showing’ everyone will think your belly is public property for them to rub an touch – without asking!
    As an expectant father, that made me nuts!
    Also four-five months along, you will want to ‘get closer’ to your husband…a lot! Enjoy!

  6. secretlivesofscientists said

    Try not to take too much offense. I think most people are meaning it in a nice way, especially us ladies who are relatively young and haven’t yet been “in the family way” mean it in a very complimentary manner, mostly out of curiousity and admiration because we find your condition exciting and cool, and we’re just trying to communicate that to you. And not all of us know that this is a rule (I didn’t know this about *never ask a woman if she’s pregnant unless she already mentioned it* stuff). Yeah, it sucks that you’ll lose some sense of privacy because you’ll be drawing attention to yourself everywhere you go with no way to hide it, but if you think about it, is it any more rude than someone coming up to you and asking you about something else you might be displaying, like a Red Sox hat, or a gunnie-related t-shift?

    • Lissa said

      Oh, I’ll be very happy and excited to share details with all our clients . . . when I’m further along. What I’m trying to get across is that it’s a monumentally bad idea to look at a woman who has gained a bit of weight – less than five pounds, in my case – or whose waistline has slightly expanded and decide that there must be another living being in there. In my case, it’s true; but what if that weren’t the case?

    • Brad Kruse said

      I think there is a big difference between commenting on a pregnancy and on a Red Sox hat.

      The had was chosen, with the understanding of where and when it would be worn. There might be an underlying assumption that the hat is present specifically to attract attention to the hat, the Red Sox, or the affection of the wearer for the Red Sox (or hats).

      A pregnant woman (for most of those she encounters daily) isn’t being pregnant to invite your attention to anything in particular. Within her circle of family and close friends, in one sense she is forewarning them that she will soon be accompanied by a little one, with the delights and impositions little ones impose on all those in contact with the family.

    • Ruth said

      Not the same, now if the woman was wearing a tshirt with the word ‘baby’ and an arrow pointing at her tummy, now that would be comparable to the redsox hat.

      Speaking as someone who gets asked that question on a fairly regular basis, who’s NOT pregnant and never has been, I agree its NOT a good thing to ask the casual aquaintance.

  7. Dave said

    I only did it once. I was in my twenties and we had just had our first child, not sure if I was still excited or just sleep deprived but I asked a woman when she was due. Turns out she had just had a baby. I apologized and learned a very important lesson that day. Now I’m in my 40’s and have a six year old who thinks I’M going to have a baby.

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