Every pregnant woman has heard these annoying questions or statements, probably more than once. Halfway through my fourth pregnancy, I can attest to the fact that nothing's changed in the "annoying things people say to pregnant women" department.

I'm currently five months pregnant with my fourth child. You'd think I'd be used to pregnancy, um, weirdness. I realize that's a rather vague term, but there are certain strange things that happen when you're pregnant that pretty much only happen when you're pregnant. Beyond the obvious baby-in-uterus situation and numerous physical delights (sarcasm font), one of the strangest transitions is into what I like to call "communal property."

Suddenly, when you're pregnant, you belong to the village — the whole village. Strangers will touch your belly, offer unsolicited advice and inquire about remarkably personal subjects. Though they've known you as a smart, thoughtful adult capable of smart, thoughtful adult decisions, suddenly, when you're pregnant, family members and "friends" critique your choices as if you've never made a choice in your life, as if it's all up for discussion.

Everybody is an expert on pregnancy and childbirth. Yep, even yours. Some people have never actually had kids or been pregnant, but somehow, they know.

This oddity manifests in some seriously irritating questions and comments. I have compiled five of my favorites. I have personally heard each one of these questions/comments more than once during each one of my pregnancies.

#1^ "Are you sure you're not having twins?"

Right. Yes, I get it. You think I have an enormous belly. Incidentally, so do I. However, there's this crazy thing called an "ultrasound" that tends to detect the whole two-babies-in-utero scenario, so maybe we could stop drawing attention to the size of the belly I already recognize as the largest belly in the history of mankind. OK? Thanks.

#2^ "Did your doctor say you could have that coffee?"

Hey now. Let's assume for a moment my "doctor" did not say I could "have that coffee." Let's assume I'm doing something "wrong" or "unhealthy" in your eyes. Are we there? Good. Now, let me ask you, do you walk up to obese people eating fast food and say: "Do you really think you should be eating that?" Do you walk up to the drunk at the bar and say: "Do you really think your liver needs another bourbon?" No. You don't. Why? Because those are adults making adult decisions and even if you don't agree with those decisions, you recognize their right as an independent human to make decisions on their own. You know what? It's the same with me. Even if I am making a choice you have deemed inappropriate or wrong, you do not need to police and babysit me. I do not belong to you, and your opinion is irrelevant. Carry on.

Before we move to number three, I have to tell you a story. When I was pregnant with my third child, I was working in an office until close to my due date. While heavily pregnant and pouring myself a cup of much-needed coffee, a woman I barely knew (who for the record had never had kids) asked me, "Does your doctor know you're drinking that?" To avoid punching her in the face, I said, "I don't have a doctor. I have a midwife." I thought she'd drop it, but she didn't. "Well, what does your midwife say?" I leaned in close and said quietly, "You know, she's OK with the coffee. It's the whiskey and cigarettes that really seem to bother her."

And then I walked away. I think she knew I was joking, and I really hope she got the message that my consumption is none of her damn business, whether or not I'm pregnant.

#3^ "When I was pregnant I only gained 15 pounds."

Why don't we stop beating around the bush and you can just ask me directly: "Why have you gained so much weight? Is there something wrong with you?"

#4^ "Wow. Three/four/five kids? Aren't you worried about over-populating the planet?"

No. What I'm worried about is people like you overtaking the rest of us until the world becomes inundated with rude people who insist on bringing political agendas into break-room conversation even though the answer to their idiotic question is literally right before their eyes. In other words, if I shared your convictions about "over-population," would I have a fourth kid in my womb? Exactly.

#5^ "You haven't had that baby yet?"

Yes. I have. But I've been having so much fun pregnant I decided to leave the baby at home and go out in the world with a pregnancy pillow under my shirt just pretending I'm still pregnant, mostly so I can enjoy genius inquiries like yours.

So yeah, for the love of pregnant women — or humankind in general — just save these questions for teasing and tormenting your pregnant loved ones. I'm kidding. Don't say it to them either.

Oh, and I've got one more. This one comes with love from my husband. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had gained about 70 pounds, partly due to preeclampsia, partly due to donuts. I was huge and swollen and a week past my due date. All the grandparents were around the house, waiting for me to "finally have that baby." One morning as I walked/waddled down the stairs with a face I imagine could wilt flowers, my husband looked at me and said, "Oh, hello gentle feather."

He nearly died that morning.

Happy pregnancies, all!

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