By Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor
I was so excited. At the time I was six months pregnant and enjoying a rare night out with my husband.
“Thank you, I am,” I said, beaming.
“Here you go. I’m giving you the bigger portion because you’re eating for two,” she said.
This pregnancy thing has some perks! I thought.
“But you should be careful with all that eating,” she continued, “because it’s hard to take the weight off after the baby, and you don’t want to lose your figure. So when are your twins due?”
I didn’t quite know how to answer that, partially because due dates are just estimates and babies come when they are ready, but mostly because I was not, in fact, pregnant with twins.
The whole experience was actually pretty awesome, though. Because we complained to the manager and got our dessert for free. But that is not how you should talk someone who is pregnant. Shouldn’t people in customer service know better?
Well, they should, of course. But that doesn’t mean they do.
Customer service is the name of the game for property managers and other employees who work onsite at the community. They have to constantly interact with residents and prospective renters and need to leave a good impression. Especially pregnant women, who might already be feeling a little sensitive. (I can say that because I was one, but that’s another thing you shouldn’t say directly to a pregnant woman.) It might seem like common sense, but some people need reminders.
Here are some do’s and don’ts for interacting with pregnant women at your communities.
Do offer to help carry packages. If you see a resident struggling with her packages, especially if she’s pregnant, offer to lend a hand.
Do open doors. Same with doors. Doors are hard! That’s just being helpful!
Do respect her decisions. This is the tough one. If she turns down your offer to help with her packages or to open a “heavy” door, then back off. Same as you would any other resident. Just because someone is pregnant doesn’t mean they’re enfeebled.
Don’t congratulate her on being pregnant unless you’re positive she is. What you assume is a baby bump could actually be a burrito bump. And then it gets…awkward.
Don’t offer medical/diet/other “helpful” advice. “You shouldn’t go on that treadmill now that you’re pregnant!” “Miss, your sushi delivery is here. Though do you think it’s really a smart idea to have sushi right now?” “You know the coffee out front is caffeinated, right? That’s bad for the baby!” This all goes back to the previous point of respecting her decisions. Anything she does is between her and her doctor. Are you a doctor? (If so, would you mind taking a quick look at this mole?) Make sure you have signs made up that all amenities should be used at your own risk, or have a lawyer look over the leases to make sure you’re not liable for anything. And then let it be.
Don’t touch her belly! Just…trust me on this one.
TL;DR: Treat a pregnant resident as courteously as you would any other renter. And, for the love of god, don’t ask if she’s having twins. (Unless you know for a fact she is. But, even then, tread carefully.)
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