Surprisingly enough, the answer is never!
Oh, well, sorry, I guess if you're in a committed relationship with her and you find a positive pregnancy test in the trash can.
Otherwise, nope, don't do it.
I'm not going to spell out in detail the example that inspired this post, but it happened on Sunday and no, I'm not, thanks.
Let's just look at some logistical things, okay? First of all:
What result are you looking for?
There are only a few situations that can come as a result of you asking a woman if she is pregnant.
1) The answer is no and she is appalled because she knows the only reason you're asking is because you noticed her stomach is larger than you think it should be. This is a BAD RESULT.
2) The answer is no and she is sad because she actually wants to be pregnant and you just reminded her that she isn't. This is also a BAD RESULT.
3) The answer is yes but she was not ready to tell you so she either has to reluctantly admit it, awkwardly deflect, or lie. This is also a BAD RESULT.
4) She will say "Yes, oh my gosh, thanks for noticing!" This is a GOOD RESULT but never happens so don't read this and think it's okay.
Other things to consider:
What's it to you?
Okay. Now that we've established that you probably won't get the result you're looking for, let's look at why the heck you are asking in the first place.
1) You are selfish. Yes, of course, everyone is fundamentally selfish. But asking if someone is pregnant is simply rude and 100% selfish because if a person is pregnant and wants you to know, she will tell you! So this is not a socially acceptable form of selfishness.
2) You are a busybody. This is obviously closely related to number one, but people who have to know everyone else's business and have to know it first, to the point that they will risk majorly hurting someone's feelings to ask them an offensive question are a different kind of selfish.
3) You are her boss and it will affect your staffing considerations. She's going to tell you when she's ready, okay? Calm down, it doesn't take six months to hire a temp.
Leave women's bodies alone
Like I said above, asking if someone is pregnant when they are not is insulting because it's almost always based on the knowledge that you noticed the way their stomach looks. Whether a woman is thin or not, you really don't need to be taking notice of whether her stomach is slightly larger on any given day.
Maybe she had a big meal. Maybe she's wearing an outfit that is less flattering than she thought. Maybe she's just standing in a way that is causing her body to look different than it normally does. Maybe all three of these things are true.
Women have enough going on without you keeping charts of their belly circumference from hour to hour.
But it wasn't about her body!
Oh, okay! So you were asking someone if she is pregnant because:
- She's glowing
- She seems to be eating more than normal
- She took off work for a doctor appointment
- She's been wearing baggy clothes recently
- You think it's about time she start procreating
Well good, none of those is acceptable either, so we're in the same place we just were.
Just don't do it. Let her decide how she's going to tell you and then you can say, "You know, I thought you might be! How exciting, congratulations!" And then you can look like a smarty-pants kid anyway. That's what you wanted all along, right?
How to respond when someone asks you if you're pregnant
I hereby give you permission to be as rude as you want. (I mean, within reason, but I think that goes without saying.)
On Sunday, I used a slightly more verbose version of, "Oh my god, absolutely not, and how dare you ask?"
Some people like to say something along the lines of, "Nope, just fat," which is a great way to send the message that you are a better and more gracious person than the person doing the asking.
You can even choose not to respond. Staring, turning away, and then leaving the situation can be surprisingly effective.
I'm glad we took the time for this little overview. Now go forth and never ask anyone if she's pregnant ever again.