When I got pregnant, I didn’t realize how many of the people I knew would be experts on the state of my uterus. From the all-knowing smirks to the “You ain’t seen nothing yet” eyerolls I have been receiving in response to all the (I’m sure well-meaning!) inquiries into my well-being, I can tell now that I am the only one who has been living in a fantasy land when it comes to children.
You mean, they don’t ACTUALLY shit rainbows? And what is this I am hearing about ‘crying’?? Wait….babies need to EAT????
Despite all the (well-intentioned) invectives – if that can even be a thing – please let it be known from here on in: pregnant women aware it will not all be happiness and sunshine and sleep and cuddles and love.
What we (and yes, I *AM* speaking for all pregnant women everywhere) need is not the “You have no idea”‘s and the “You think you’re tired now”s. We actually DO KNOW that we will be waking up to a squalling bundle of joy every few hours, and we do actually understand that baby shit stinks. It’s not as though we have never been around infants in our entire lives and have come to be pregnant even though we live under a rock – most of us go into it knowing what we’re up against. So if you think for a second that just because I have never given birth to anything that I actually have ZERO IDEA about what the next bazillion years of my life are going to be like, then you, not I, are the one who needs to give your head a shake.
1. Stop telling me I have no idea. I actually do have some idea. It may not be THE (or YOUR) idea, but I actually have taken some time to clue myself in before I made the decision to give ‘er with the father.
2. You’re not actually helping when you say it like that. When a pregnant woman is asked how she feels, she assumes you actually care how she feels, and are not just looking for a reason to rain on her parade. If she’s feeling good, say “That’s Great!” not “Hah, you feel good NOW!” If she’s tired, offer her a seat or some compassion, not “Get your sleep now, you’ll need it!” which is always said in the most obnoxious of gleeful tones.
3. No, they didn’t have this in 1970. Just because you didn’t have it, or it wasn’t available when you had your children, doesn’t mean it’s useless. So many advances have been made in baby ‘technology’ that it would be nonsensical to not make use of a product that will make my life easier. Yes, I know you changed your 2-week-old on a garbage bag in the garage because you didn’t have changing pads (disposable or otherwise) available to you. Doesn’t mean I’m going to!
4. If you are a childless man, shut it. When being congratulated by a friend on my pregnancy, a (unmarried and childless) friend of his began giving me advice on avoiding pregnancy weight gain (I KNOW!!!!!), exercise, and what sort of things I should expect in labour. I pledged allegiance for life to my friend when he said to his friend “When was the last time YOU gave birth? Shut up.” I am more than happy to have a man’s perspective and experiences on birth and parenting. Just make sure you have either been in the room for one or have been barfed on by one.
5. Just get it. We don’t want your pity – we are ecstatic about being pregnant. We don’t want you to change who you are or how you treat us (for the most part – please don’t ask me to vacuum for the next 2.5 months). We just want you to understand that pregnant women get tired/cranky/swollen/happy/moody, and that we do actually know that a human being will be coming out of us that we will be responsible to care for. It does everyone no good to point it out, and doing so will likely get you a face full of ice cream if you’re within range.
If you have given birth to something, keep in mind that the moment your friends become pregnant is not the moment of karma you have been breathlessly waiting for. You know what she’s about to go through, so instead of being a know-it-all who can’t wait to tell her she has no idea, maybe take a few moments to be compassionate about the fact that maybe she doesn’t, and BE SUPPORTIVE.
When did we all start treating pregnancy as a misfortune to befall our friends, to which we respond with smarmy told-you-so-ha-ha-ha-ness??? I love a little schadenfreude as much as the next girl, but let’s not aim it at our sisters.