30 Jan The Preggie Diaries: Learning to deal with unwanted advice
I am 31 weeks pregnant this week and baby is about the size of a coconut right now. It’s unbelievable that I have just 9 weeks left of my pregnancy journey. Time has just flown by, I must say!
I have touched on this topic in previous posts, but I felt it needed it’s very own one as it is such a huge part of a woman’s pregnancy journey. For me, being a naturally feisty, outspoken person, it’s been hard to hold my tongue and smile and nod rather than shut people down (complete strangers, family and acquaintances) providing me with unsolicited advice.
You see, once you are pregnant, people feel like they have a right to have an opinion about your body and your baby and that it is automatically their duty to provide you with their ‘sage advice’. Whether it is based on facts, personal experience, old wives tales or just pure crap they imagined up themselves!
I have heard it all from, “What?! You still exercise?! But that’s dangerous for the baby!” or “You shouldn’t eat any nut butters, your baby may just be allergic!” the latest and most absurd was, “Be careful of doing any squats, it’s so dangerous during pregnancy!” (FYI – Squats are one of THE MOST ESSENTIAL exercises you HAVE to do during your entire pregnancy as it helps strengthen all your key areas to get ready for birth and reduces back and neck pain. Also, it has been medically proven that the most natural and best way to give birth is in a squat position! – so yup! That advice was total hogwash!)
Through it all (and I don’t know how I managed it) I have stayed calm, listened, smiled and nodded and allowed the person to walk off thinking they saved one more pregnant woman from certain calamity. (Can you see me rolling my eyes here?)
If you are one of those (well meaning, I know) advice-giving people reading this – my advice from the preggie camp is – don’t give us your advice unless we ask for it, if we don’t, we don’t want your opinion. We have people we trust that we ask advice from, that may not include you, so don’t feel the need to impose your opinions on us. Every pregnancy is different so whatever unfortunate incident you experienced or someone you know experienced is NOT valuable information to us, it’ll probably just give us unnecessary anxiety, so rather keep your cautionary tale to yourself – it’s not helpful.
While I’m at it – don’t reach out and touch our tummies. Being pregnant is not a free pass to grope us! How would you feel if someone you barely knew suddenly reached out and started touching you in your tummy area – weird right?! (This includes family!) Ask before you touch and don’t take offence if the said preggie mommy declines your request – her body, her choice.
We feel insecure already about our bodies and our appearance and you looking at us saying, “You look tired,” or constantly asking us, “Are you tired?” – is freaking annoying! Let’s just have a conversation like normal without checking in on our fatigue levels.
For me personally, I have found that if I say, I didn’t suffer from morning sickness and swelling, some people genuinely look disappointed! Geez! It’s a good thing, be happy for me! Sometimes, I feel I have to lie and tell people I had “a bit of swelling and suffered some nausea” just to make them feel better.
In closing – if you’re feeling the urge to impart some advice to a pregnant lady – rather not – bite your tongue and rather wait for her to ask. If she asks and you do have a cautionary tale to tell about YOUR personal experience (we’re not interested in what happened to your sister, aunt,mother or even friend of a friend!), always end off with, “But that was just me, your experience may be totally different.” This is especially important when speaking to a new mom-to-be. The whole experience of being pregnant is scary enough to us, so telling us scary stories is not helpful to our anxiety levels. Be kind to us, we’re newbies!
Happy Healthy Fabulous
Photography: Tegan Smith