You’ve heard of the bridezilla (“a woman whose behaviour in planning her wedding is obsessive or intolerably demanding,” says the Internet), but have you met pregzilla? She’s the one who gets all self-centred and super smug, as if she’s the first woman on the planet to get pregnant, and drives her friends and family bonkers with her incessant demands and obsession with her growing bump.
Toronto mom-of-two Jill Monsod admits she turned into one of those irritating people when she was pregnant with her first daughter. “I thought the world revolved around me and my pregnancy,” she says. “I complained about being tired and felt that pregnancy was so much work. My senses were heightened, and I’d complain when I didn’t like certain smells—the fish tank at the office, people’s perfume or even others’ body odour.” Monsod’s husband, James, found himself in the middle of a pregzilla moment when she announced she wanted ice cream during a snowstorm. “He said it wasn’t a good idea to go out and asked if I could wait until the next day. I cried.” (James dutifully went for the ice cream.)
Monsod also brought her pregzilla self with her to the office, where she whined to her co-workers about everything: “Being nauseous, hungry, too full, too sleepy—you name it.” It was Monsod’s best friend who finally called her out. “She told me I had changed into a crazy pregnant lady and was unbearable.”
As a self-confessed former pregzilla, I empathize with Monsod. But some perspective we both could have used is this: “Like your wedding, no one will care more about your pregnancy than you,” says Karen Cleveland, an etiquette expert in Toronto.
Here’s how to stay grounded (and not annoy everyone around you) for the next nine months.
It’s plain and simple: If you go overboard on the tummy talk you’re likely to turn off colleagues, acquaintances on social media, friends (especially those who don’t have kids) and maybe even your partner. “Don’t quell your enthusiasm, but don’t let it govern your every thought, either,” Cleveland says.
Stay profesh: At the office, remember to keep things as professional as you can. Don’t, say, stop a meeting with the higher-ups to announce that your baby has hiccups like I, er, one woman did. If you’re feeling tired or uncomfortable, and it’s making you easily irritated with colleagues or clients, take a breather by stepping away to grab a drink or excusing yourself to go to the restroom to compose yourself. Don’t say or do something you wouldn’t have before you were pregnant.
Bite your tongue: Worried your baby shower won’t play out as picture-perfect as it does in your head? Whether you imagined cucumber tea sandwiches instead of egg salad, or you’re ticked off that your registry wasn’t followed to a T, suck it up. “Even if you hate everything, you have the responsibility to be gracious, smile and recognize the time and effort that’s been dedicated to you,” says Julie Blais Comeau, an etiquette expert in Ottawa.
Reset expectations: If you simply don’t think you can get through your shower without complaining about the particulars, have a chat with the hosts before planning begins to offer your suggestions—but try not to be too picky. “I wanted a cupcake made for each guest as a giveaway, the party had to be co-ed and all the food and music had to be baby themed,” Monsod remembers. Focus on one thing that’s really important to you, and let the rest slide.
Find your following: When the mood strikes to gush all over Facebook—“Bean is kicking again, LOL <3!”—or to post a belly shot every week, Blais Comeau suggests starting a blog or a private Facebook group instead, so you know you have a willing audience. “In order to avoid disappointment, know that no one can come close to sharing in your joy,” says Cleveland. Find the one person who will obsess over every detail with you—whether that’s your partner or your mom—and give others a break. Remember, pregnancy is nine months, but friendships are hopefully forever, and you’ll want your pals on your side once the baby is born.
Expert tip: A good rule of thumb to avoid oversharing online, says Julie Blais Comeau, an etiquette expert in Ottawa, is to use social media for major milestones only—the pregnancy announcement, the first ultrasound shot, and then the “She’s here!” post and photo.