An Open Letter from the Pregnant Lady
Dear friends and family and neighbors and Facebook acquaintances... and random strangers,
Yes, I am most definitely pregnant and a tad extra hormonal. And hungry. And swollen. And tired.
I have noticed that my pregnancy has opened the door for statements and conversations that I had hoped others were exaggerating about.
But they weren't.
People really do have a lot to say to pregnant women.
Because I am now an expert in the field of pregnant women, I would like to assist my loved ones (and other random strangers) in how to best support those who are in the midst of 9.5 months of growing a human.
1. "You're still pregnant?!"
This baby-making stuff takes time. Yes, I'm still pregnant and I expect that this baby will be born on their birthday- just like all other babies.
What to say instead: "Are you ready to meet this little one?"
2. "You're having another one already?"
Well, obviously, yes. Whether or not we chose this intentionally, it is what it is right now. And we're ready to love every one of our kids.
What to say instead: "You're going to be an amazing mom to this one, too. You've got this!"
3. "Let me tell you my horrible birth story..."
No. Just no. I've done plenty of reading and I've sought out the information I need about birth. I don't need to hear about your 48 hours of labor or the fact that you tore from front to back or any other horrible/scary details. I'm already just a tiny bit nervous about this birth stuff. I don't need any added reasons to worry about.
What to say instead: "After you've delivered, I would love to hear your birth story."
4. "Here's how you should get labor started..."
If I ask you for some ideas, you're welcome to give them to me. But there's this odd possibility that I'm simply waiting for baby to choose his or her own time. I've read all the internet ideas and I'll use what I feel comfortable with- whether it be sex, jumping jacks, or whatever. I PROMISE I'm more impatient to meet this little one than you are. Back off, friend.
What to say instead: "Can I buy you some ice cream?"
5. "You're looking <long pause> healthy today."
This also includes any comments on how big my belly is or how swollen I am or any questions on the amount of weight I have gained. May I remind you that I'm growing a baby? It's hard for me to keep a tomato plant alive- I promise this is hard work for me.
What to say instead: "You look beautiful today." (and please say it without hesitation or I won't believe you at all.)
6. "Are you sure you're not having twins?"
Actually, it's quadruplets. I'm just carrying small. YES, my belly is huge. I get it. Really, I get it. I sleep with this belly every night. I promise that you noticing the humongous size of my belly isn't giving me any new information.
What to say instead: "You look beautiful today." (Yep, this statement works well in multiple situations.)
7. "Your morning sickness is nothing. When I was pregnant...."
Actually... it is something. It's miserable. My feeling horrible doesn't make your feeling horrible any less significant. How about we just agree that puking is bad?
What to say instead: "I'm sorry. I know it's miserable. Can I bring you dinner?"
8. "Exercise would be good for you."
Yep. Sure would. Why don't you be a good friend and go do it for me? I'm tired from carrying an extra 30lbs in my belly today.
What to say instead: "Would you like to share some chocolate with me?"
9. "You're eating a sandwich? I thought pregnant women weren't supposed to..."
Have you seen the 'not supposed to' list lately? It's long. And dang it, I wanted Subway today... the first time in 8 months. But I'm a big girl and I'm comfortable with my decision.
What to say instead: "I bet that tastes delicious!"
10. "Sleep now... there won't be sleep after baby."
Actually, there's little sleep now. But thank you for the encouragement that I will be exhausted forever and ever amen.
What to say instead: "How are you sleeping?"
11. "I love birth! Can I be in the room???"
Well, that's awkward. I had this weird notion that I'd get to invite who I wanted to. Because, you know, it's kind of a personal and private moment. And I'm not sure I know you well enough to show you my vagina.
What to say instead: "Who is on your support team?"
12. "I hope you plan on an epidural. Because there is no reason to do it without one. And you'll totally need one. Because birth is painful and awful."
If I feel like I need to use a form of pain relief for my labor, then I'll use it for my labor. Will it be an epidural? Maybe. But it would be super awesome if you didn't assume you know my body better than I do.
What to say instead: "You know your body so well. I know you'll make the choices that feel best to you."
What would you add to the list? (And to all those who haven’t been pregnant- you’re welcome.)