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I can’t seriously believe I had to utter them, but today the words “Please don’t pet my belly” actually came out of my mouth. To someone I really thought would know better. I just give up on humanity. Can we please, all of us, work on educating the people in our lives on proper pregnant lady codes of conduct?

Step 1: Do NOT identify the pregnant lady as such until she does so herself.

Step 2: Do NOT touch the pregnant lady unless she specifically invites you to do so.

Step 3: Do NOT make comments about her appearance. You can inquire how she’s feeling, but ONLY if you actually want the answer to the question. If you don’t want to hear about her symptoms (and believe me, she’s got them!), don’t ask.

Step 4: Speak to pregnant lady like you would any other adult human being not carrying a fetus at the moment. You’ll find that she’s got a lot to say about many topics, and will direct the conversation back to the status of being pregnant if she wants to discuss it.

Key phrases like, “It’s great to see you” and “I’d love to hear all about it, if you want to talk” are great ways to open the door to baby-related conversations, without expectation or presumption.

The entire body/mind/life shift that a pregnant lady is undergoing isn’t really anyone’s business. There’s not much anyone can really do or say to alleviate any of the symptoms, but continuing to be a good friend and respecting personal boundaries and remembering your friend is still in that swelling mass of gestation goes a long way to making this nearly year long process more tolerable. Please, don’t be a dick. Thank you.

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