Thursday, April 7, 2011

Things You Should NEVER Say. Ever.

I am a super duper proud Auntie to eight beautiful children. Three of those beautiful children are adopted. All of my sisters have been on the receiving end of some just plain rude questions. Are they always meant to be rude? Nope. Sometimes we don't even realize we are hurting someone with our words.

I stumbled upon an awesome blog post of a list of things you should NEVER say. EVER. It struck a chord with me as most of them are referring to adoption, pregnancy, family,infertility etc. You know, things that most people have within their circle of friends and family. We can all stand (me included. I've innocently blurted out comments that I later regretted and worried were misconstrued) to be a little more aware of our words and the affect they have on others.

I've adapted and added to this list and am posting it here. Read it, please add more NEVER statements in the comments that have been left out and repost this. Spread the word, folks:

Things you should never say. Ever.

* Never, ever ask a women if she is pregnant. She could be overweight. She could have an illness, or she could have a diastasis.

* Never ask a big family if "they know how that happens". It's crude. No one wants to discuss their sex life with a stranger.

* Never ask an adoptive family which ones are their "real kids". All children are real.

* Never ask an adoptive family if the children are "real brothers and sisters". Siblings are siblings no matter how they became that way.

* Never ask a childless couple when they are going to have kids. They could be trying. They could be infertile. They may not want children.

* Never ask someone how much money they make. Period.

* Never ask a single person why they are still single.

* Never ask if the black child in a family is from Africa. Not all black adopted children come from Africa.

* Never make a reference about The Blind Side to an adoptive family.

* Never say a child is "Just like Michael". {see above}

* Never ask a dating couple when they are going to get married.

* Never, even in jest, ask a couple if they are "done". I don't care how many kids they have. It's rude.

* Never ask a woman when she is due, unless you are certain, without a doubt, that she is expecting.

* Never tell a pregnant woman how she is carrying. No one wants to know their butt has gotten bigger. Or that they are carrying "all over."

* Never tell a new Mom how to take care of her baby. She will figure it out herself like we all do.

* Never assume the gender of a baby. If you don't know, simply use the phrase Your baby is _____________ {fill in the blank}.

* Never offer disciplinary advice to a Mom with a child who is out of control. You don't know if that child has autism, ADHD, RAD or is just strong-willed and that Mom may very well be doing the best she can.

* If a child is melting down in a public place, don't stare. Move on. Again you have no idea what that child may mentally be dealing with.

*Never walk away from a busy, obviously struggling Mother in a store/public place without saying to the Mom, "You are a great Mom and are doing a wonderful job" It will probably be the most memorable and encouraging thing she has heard all week.

* Never ask an adoptive family which kids are adopted. No adopted child wants to be pointed out.

* Never ask a family who hasn't already adopted if they are planning on adopting.

* Never ask a family who hasn't adopted when are they going to bring home their baby/child/children from (China, Ethiopia, Uganda, etc). God may not be calling that family to adopt. Your assumption puts unnecessary and unwarranted guilt and pressure on them.

* Never ask an adoptive parent how much their child "cost".

* Never say to a big family, "You should have your own reality TV show."

* Never tell any mother that her child is anything but adorable and perfect.

* Never say things to the older children of a big family like "You must have to work so hard." Or "It must be really hard to have all of those siblings."

* If a pregnant woman looks very pregnant, never say You look ready to pop. She may have months left to go.

* Never, ever tell a pregnant woman she looks like she is carrying twins. She probably isn't.

* Never tell a childless couple how great having a baby is. Again, they may be infertile.

* Never tell new parents all of the horror stories of being a parent.

* Never tell a newly pregnant woman all of the horror stories of birth.

* Never ask an adoptive Mom about her children's birth parents, especially in front of the child. Things like Why didn't they want him? Or Why was she given up? are hurtful to the child and often times the adoptive parent prefers to keep the information on the birth parents private.

* Never ask a family who has chosen to adopt first, "When are you going to have children of your own."

* Never say "oh, you must be a saint for adopting these poor kids." Or "oh I hope they appreciate what you've done for them."

* Never ask a parent with children of only one gender "Are you going to keep trying for a girl (or boy)?" or "I bet you wish you had a girl (or boy)!" Especially, in front of the kids.

* Never ask an adoptive Mother "What about his real mom? Or "Where is his mom?" Or "How old is his mom?" I am his MOM!!! I AM HIS MOM! ME! The one who takes him to every appointment, fights for him to get his medical supplies, advocates for him, holds him until he sleeps, changes every diaper, teaches him things, kisses his baby soft lips and cheeks. mama! {added by reader Ashlee}

* Never tell a woman who has miscarried, "Don't worry you can always have another one."

* Never tell a women who has lost a child, "you can always have more", or "you are still young yet" or "she would have been difficult to take care of, with all her needs"

* Never tell a woman who miscarried that "It was for the best because the child probably had issues."

* Never assume because a family is adopting first that they are infertile. Or if someone is infertile never say to them that they will get pregnant now that they have adopted "because it happens all the time". NOT TRUE.

*Never ask "Is he mixed?" We're talking about a human being here people, not a dog.

(Adapted from a wonderful post by Courtney over at Storing Up Treasures. It's right HERE. )

Have something to add to the list? Land it in the comments.

Then, repost/link to this on your blogs, Facebook, etc.


Facebook + This stuff = Fathcestboouffk


  1. Note to self: Never read a list like this when pregnant and hormonally imbalanced. It will lead to lots of tears ;)

    Yes, yes, yes. As a pregnant gal who is "carrying differently this time" {Thanks a lot, *MOM*}, and who happens to be pregnant with her fourth *girl*, I completely get this list. I also happened to be blessed with an adopted niece, so yes, this really hits home. People need to familiarize themselves with tact.

  2. Wow... great post! I will definitely remember the list of things I should never say! Thanks!

  3. Great list! Tact, that is something major that people are missing!

  4. Funny that this was posted today. I'm 27 weeks pregnant and was told "Girl, you're getting BIG!" today. Made me feel "extra" special!

  5. So many good points. We used to be licensed foster parents. One of the little boys who was in our care for a year we thought we were going to be able to adopt but it fell through. Anyway all that to say that i actually had a family member ask me if he was from Africa because he was African American. I was like no he lives 2 towns over. Cmon seriously?? I think I must have looked dumbfounded. I didn't even know how to respond to that. Grrr

  6. NEVER tell an infertile couple to "just relax and you'll get pregnant."
    NEVER tell an infertile couple to "go on vacation and you'll probably come back pregnant".
    NEVER ask an infertile couple "are you sure you're doing it right?"
    NEVER say to an infertile couple, "all my husband has to do is look at me and I get pregnant".
    NEVER tell an infertile couple how "lucky" they are to have the freedom and flexibility that comes with being childfree.
    NEVER tell an infertile couple "you can just adopt". It's not as easy as it sounds.
    NEVER ask an infertile couple "which one of you has the problem?"

    People can be so insensitive. Thank you for helping to right some wrongs, my dear. You are a gem. :)

  7. As a single woman, who also happens to be a homebirth midwife, I second two points, especially -

    1) never ask a single person why they're single. I finally got smart aleck one day and told somebody, "Oh, I used to be married, but I got tired of him and threw him off a bridge." I said it with a perfectly straight face. Their expression was priceless. ;-)

    2) never tell a pregnant woman all your birth horror stories. Midwives and natural childbirth advocates are left to pick up the pieces, and the fear you introduce into that woman's life is shameful. There are many, many factors that go into an unfortunate birth story, and you can't assume that everyone will be subjected to those same factors!

    The end. :)

  8. I love the one about big families and "don't you know how that happens?" We're expecting our 3rd and get that question a lot. I told my husband that if people are really so crass as to bring up our sex life then he should give them what they deserve and tell them all about it!

    AS for everything else, really people just need to keep their mouths shut. We rarely know what someone is dealing with (infertility, misscariage) and even a seemingly harmless question can be so emotionally devestating. Thanks for the reminders - I wish everyone could read these...

  9. Never tell a couple who has one boy and one girl child "Oh, one of each, you can stop now!" Really? Great, cause I was just waiting for you to give me permission to stop procreating, but you know, if all we kept having were girls I guess we'd just keep having babies! Grr!
    Seriously, you never know how many children that couple wants to have.

  10. I l.o.v.e this post. Amen to aaaaall of the above, comments included. Why are some people so clueless?!?!

  11. Awesome list! I'll add:

    1. Never ask a pregnant woman if it was a "planned" pregnancy. An aunt of mine asked me this...just because I was "of advanced maternal age." She didn't know it took me two years to get pregnant!

    2. Never ask the parents of an only child "when are you going to give him/her a sibling?" They may have struggled with all sorts of issues related to pregnancy/life that are none of your business. One child is a blessing! (And he is very happy, as are we!!)


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