Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Things not to say to a pregnant lady

I don't know what it is about bring pregnant, but it brings out the best and worst stories from people.  People love to tell their horror birth stories - which is something that just creates fear in everyone's minds.  Lots of other things people bring up have either offended me, upset me, or have just been plain weird.  Here's a list:
  1. Horror birth stories.  I mentioned this above - but seriously, why do people like sharing this?!
  2. What I should be doing differently.  Most of the decisions I make about this pregnancy are ones I discuss with Ian, look into, and make an educated decision on based on our lifestyle and needs.  Stop telling me I'm doing something wrong, or I should be doing it your way.
  3. What I'm feeling isn't normal at this time in my pregnancy, or at all.  I'm feeling what I'm feeling so people saying "oh that doesn't happen until the 3rd trimester" or "that should only really be happening in the first trimester" are frustrating.  If I'm experiencing a symptom, I'm experiencing whether it's supposed to be happening or not.
  4. Sharing opinions on the name.  I'm SO glad we're opting not to share our name choices with anyone because I've heard so many stories recently of pregnant women's families or friends saying "omigosh, you're really going to call your child insert name that they clearly don't agree with".  And since we're on the topic, when people find out we're not sharing the name, several people have said "just so long as it isn't ______(insert random name that they hate)."  Stop sharing your name opinions!  We all have different ideas about what makes a great or crappy name.  Ultimately, parents make the decision based on their tastes, backgrounds, culture, etc.  My advice: just smile and keep your mouth shut. 

and finally, the one that is really making me crazy:

Natural birth? WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT TO YOURSELF?  These types of comments are driving me bananas.  Also, when you ask what my birth plan is and I say our goal is to go naturally, the most horrible response is "yeah, good luck with that" with a rolling of the eyes.  Look, I don't judge people for not going the natural route, especially because I'm open-minded and realize that people have different labors - we all experience different amounts and types of pain.  And I'm also fully aware that serious things can happen and people need to have medical interventions (careful monitoring, bedrest, epidurals, other pain medication, c-sections, etc.), and I'm so grateful we have this technology available for emergencies.  My advice: Please be careful what you say to people about their birth plans.  Especially for me, when I'm doing a ton of research and personal reflection on what risks I want to take during the delivery, what is best for me and baby, and what type of birth I want for my daughter, it kills me to have someone question me.  Now, if in the middle of labor, I end up needing some type of medical intervention either out of necessity or preference, that is my decision to make with Ian, our OB and doula. 

I don't mind if people give me their honest opinion of what worked for them.  I am just bothered when people question our decision that we have spent so much time discussing.  People ask me: "you know it's going to hurt like nothing you've felt before?"  Ummm, really, no shit.  I'm pushing a watermelon out of my hoohah, of course it's going to hurt.  That's why it's called labor - our bodies are laboring for the arrival of a human being.  It's not a walk in the park!  It's difficult and tiring but you know what, I have had an uncomplicated pregnancy thus far, it seems my body is working very well and I have faith that my body can do this.  Even more so, I have faith that I can mentally do this.  I almost feel that people are offended at the idea of me wanting to go naturally.  I normally just let it slide, but in the back of my head I'm thinking - there is SO much data out there about risks increasing for mom and baby with the greater number of interventions, why wouldn't I at least try to deliver in a way that minimizes risks?  It's just logical to me.

Anyways, those are some of the things I'd recommend being careful with.

Any of you mamas out there have any to add to this list?


  1. Oh sister, I hear you big time. I HATE when people interject about going natural, like we have no idea what we're signing up for. Our bodies were made to do this and I'll be damned if I let someone else's stupid opinion get me down. Hang in there, you know whats best for you! :)

  2. I never have commented on your blog before but Anyways I am currently pregnant with my second child and during my first pregnancy I was waiting tables (36 weeks pregnant) and a customer said to me " is someone pregnant or are we just fat?" That pissed me off quite a bit. The whole comment was stupid to me. So basically add to the list don't make comments about a pregnant woman's size period.

  3. I'm not a mamma but I've heard lots of complaints from previously pregnant friends that you've listed above.

    Another one - are people constantly touching your belly? My friend HATED that. Strangers would just put their hand on her belly without even asking.

  4. I totally agree with you!!! I don't share my intentions for natural birth very often, since people give me such reactions most of the time. I don't know why people assume that things are always the same for every pregnant woman!

  5. My biggest pet peeve these days- everyone is asking whether or not I'm going to breastfeed! Um, none of your business! Then when they hear the answer is "no" due to some necessary medications I have to take, they want to try to talk me out of it. So I totally feel you on the frustrating things that people say/do!

    -Beth T.

  6. Thanks so much for the comments - these are some good ones to add to the list!

    And Beth - I should mention that I get asked this question a lot. Actually, someone at Ian's work even asked Ian - so weird!

  7. For some reason humans just can't help them selves! Human curiosity knows no boundaries! It's like when you are dating and people start asking "so...when are you getting engaged??" and then you get engaged and before walking down the aisle people ask "so...when are you having kids??"

    You'll have your daughter and people will move to the next "so...when are you having another one!"

    Don't let anyone rock your awesome mentality. Your choices are just that, your choices! And their opinions, as annoying as they can be, are just that! Their opinions.

    Rock on mama!

  8. KT - I think I might copy this post and past it on my blog! I love the idea of "what not to say to a pregnant lady" and glad you addressed it. I especially appreciate the part about not judging another woman's (couple's) decisions on labor or how they are doing things. We don't just do it for fun, we have researched and carefully make these decisions!! Their way is not the only right way. Love it!

  9. Just wait until the baby gets here, then you'll get non-stop input for everything from getting her to sleep thru the night to canned baby food vs. homemade. Take it from a mom of three, the advice never stops. Most of the time people genuinely are trying to help, so I try to listen because truthfully some of my best tips have come from other mothers. Ultimately, though, my husband and I do what's best for our family.

    Congratulations on your baby girl. Children truly are a gift from God (if only there was a way to get that gift without losing sleep & gaining weight -- LOL)

  10. Here is another thing not to say to a pregnant woman: Pregnancy would be so much easier if men were the ones who gave birth.


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