Sometimes they mean well. Most of the time, they’re just being catty. Whether or not they’ve actually ever gone through pregnancy and birth doesn’t even matter. When it comes to your pregnancy, they know everything better than you. And it becomes your job to find that out through a carefully woven web of questions and comments that gnaw at your already overtired bones. Want to be the compassionate one in the crowd? Avoid saying these 7 things to the preggo in your life.
7. Here’s exactly what you need to do.
The grotesque amount of information out there for pregnant women today is enough to drive the average person insane, let alone the one raging with hormones and facing a huge life change. Want to share your story? Wait to be asked. Trust me, Mama-to-Be will welcome your advice in her own time. Just remember to let her do the asking.
6. How did you come up with that name again?
If you come from a family with a naming tradition, first of all, good luck. Second of all, accept the fact now that someone will inevitably be offended by the name you choose for your child. Unless you’re the royal family (or the Baron Cohens) you’re not going to have enough space on the birth certificate to honor everyone on the list. On the other hand, if the name you choose isn’t to the liking of your beloved relative you can always tell them what one of my former colleagues calmly told her mother in law: “Well, if you don’t like my daughter’s name, you don’t have to see her.” It’s amazing how easily one well-timed response can cut critics to the quick.
5. And you’re inviting the third cousins and their friends to the bris/naming/christening/baptism/shower too, of course.
Good Lord, the parties. You’re asking a woman who is busy growing and preparing to birth life to plan a party. With your guest list in mind, no less. Are you insane? Recently a friend whose daughter is pregnant recounted how she was cornered at a family event by her daughter’s mother-in-law. “I can’t believe your daughter doesn’t want a shower,” the woman cowed. “What about my son? We have family expectations!” Here’s the only family expectation that should be put upon a pregnant woman: To have a healthy, easy pregnancy and a safe birth. Save the party stress for reality TV.
4. Are you sure you aren’t having twins? Or triplets?
Yes. I already feel like a whale, but thanks for checking. Just to clarify, no, it’s just one. And no, I didn’t mate with Bigfoot, Andre the Giant, or a descendant of Goliath. I will, however, happily shove my swollen foot into your mouth if it gets you to stop marveling at my 9-months worth of girth.
#PregnantTweet You know what’s MOST annoying about pregnancy so far? You can’t ask for advice…unless you’re prepared to agree w/ it 100%.
— Mandy (@feminartist) November 26, 2012
3. That’s cute, you think you’ll labor without drugs.
In the world of C-section mania where epidurals are the rule, not the exception, choosing to give birth naturally is amazingly brave. And wise. The more unnecessary pain management interventions that take place, the greater your chances are of having a C-section (which is major surgery) and/or delivering a doped-up baby that has a hard time breathing and is in need of immediate pediatric attention. Even when armed with that knowledge, the repetitious images of women screaming in God-awful labor pain can haunt a pregnant woman’s dreams. Pain is scary. We get it. We don’t need the reminder. What we do need is a good support team cheering us along so we can make wise decisions, not stress-filled fearful ones.
2. You’re breastfeeding, RIGHT?
Whether it’s your doctor, midwife, mother, best friend or the gal on the Internet, a preggo has heard it more times than not: Breast is best. Tell that to the woman whose newborn won’t latch for the fourth day in a row at 2:30 in the morning. As the baby sits there wailing, Mama’s exhausted self embarks on the psychological trauma of being unable to do what is supposedly best for her child. Ugliness ensues. My answer has and always will be, “That’s the hope. But the goal is that my kid gets fed. So we’ll do what works.” Remember, it’s her boobs, her baby. Not yours.
1. They’re your kid and all, but just don’t…
Speaking of which, spare us the do’s and don’ts of how to raise a child. Especially if you aren’t a parent. The bottom line is whether I enroll them in an academic boarding school before birth or decide the best place for them to learn math is at the track, it’s my choice. It became my choice when I chose to get pregnant, to help conceive and to take on the burden of carrying this life into the world. While I love you very much and am glad we can converse openly, please don’t think that because I’m now a mom you need to mother me. What I could really use is your ear and when I need your voice, I’m happy to ask. Until then, please just remind me every once in a while that I can do this and that, just maybe, I’m doing a damned good job.