Having had my first baby 7 months ago, something has really been playing on my mind. I'm sure I'm not the only woman or even blogger who has noticed or discussed this topic. But here goes.
I don't know what happened to the sisterhood but when it comes to having babies this sisterhood seems to be replaced with competitiveness, a need to terrify and give advice whether it's wanted or not. This doesn't apply to all women of course, but enough women to get on your nerves when you're pregnant and hormonal or a new mum still adjusting to all the changes your little one has brought with them.
It seems there are a few common things that people like to say to pregnant women and new/1st time mums. Here are 5 of my favourites and why they got under my skin so very much.
- Enjoy your sleep while you can, you won't sleep for a long time once baby comes. This used to annoy me as I felt like it was only ever said if I expressed excitement of Baby R being born. It seemed to be used as a bubble burster. I didn't go in to pregnancy thinking having a baby would be easy, and one of the things I assumed would be difficult was the lack of sleep. That being said I had less sleep while pregnant while making those 1am and 4am dashes to the bathroom. I know I'm lucky, Baby R is a good sleeper. But why tell someone they'll never sleep when all babies are different. Your experience isn't necessarily going to be the same as mine. Not all babies wake up during the night. Of course it's not just sleep you are warned to enjoy. Enjoy 'you time', enjoy dates, enjoy eating out. So apparently your life ends when you have children. You can't do anything except change nappies and feed the baby. You MUST sleep when baby sleeps, although they will never sleep so good luck sleeping... Urgh utter nonsense. Yes I've only had a handful of child free days and even fewer child free nights, but mainly by choice. Baby R's grandparents would take him if I wanted some time out. But realistically I want to be with my baby, I miss him when he's not around. Despite numerous hints from his grandparents it took me a while to leave Baby R and go for a day out without him. I just didn't want to. Life doesn't end when baby comes, it changes, and along with those changes you will have a whole new idea of whats fun and important.
- MY PERSONAL BUG-BEAR - you're going to gain all that weight you lost and more now you're pregnant. There's no pleasant or nice way to take that. I was lucky that I didn't gain baby weight. I remained the same weight through my entire pregnancy and about 3 weeks after he was born I was 1 stone 9lb lighter than my pre-pregnancy/during pregnancy weight. But even if I had gained weight, what would have been the problem with that? I don't see the need to make a woman feel any more uncomfortable with her constantly changing body that already feels alien. Weight gain isn't a bad thing during pregnancy, it's plain nasty to use the weight gain knowing she will already feel pretty insecure.
- Oh so he's not (insert some sort of activity or milestone) yet? Not a pregnancy one, more of a new mum/first time mum. You get a constant barrage of 'oh he's not crawling then?' Yet when you ask about their children it turns out theirs weren't crawling at two weeks old either... funny that!? I exaggerate, but you get the picture. What irritates me more is the next time you see that person you preempt their questions and say 'He's still not...' they come back with the reply 'Well he is only 7 months, don't rush him'!!!
- My labour was horrific (insert worst story imaginable) - To a first time Mum this is the worst kind of cruelty. I had no idea what to expect. I was hoping for a baby at the end and that I would manage the pain in whatever way worked for me. At any stage in my pregnancy I did not want to be thinking about all the worst things that could happen. I get that you want to share your story, but if your story involves telling a heavily pregnant woman about forceps and an episiotomy it's probably not the right time to share. If people ask or start the conversation on labour, then by all means tell them, otherwise just no. Also if you end your story with 'But once they are in your arms it's all forgotten' please know that this doesn't undo the horror story you just told, it won't remove the look of disgust and fear from my face. It just makes me wonder how you told this incredibly detailed story if it was all forgotten.
- You have to breastfeed/bottle feed, use a dummy/not use a dummy, give them organic/give them what they want, (basically do what someone else thinks is best) - I get it. You had a child, you think your way was the best way and that's awesome! This baby, however, is my baby and I will do what I think is best for him. Please don't take me the wrong way, advice is always welcomed, but usually I will ask for it if I need it. I don't understand the need to give advice on every aspect of child rearing. Especially from those who have never even had children! I genuinely do not judge anyone for having different opinions and making different choices to me. My school of thought is that every child and every mother is different. So long as your child is happy and healthy DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Yet as a new mum, I am getting used to the constant 'Oh so he doesn't....' 'Oh so you let him...'. That's right, he's happy and healthy. Tell me, why should I change how I look after him?
I could go on with the 'advice' I was given, the comments of my weight that soon became 'Oh that's not healthy, why haven't you gained anything?'. What I ultimately learnt from being pregnant and subsequently becoming a mum is that you can't please everyone all of the time. So I do what works for me, Baby R and our little family. I really have lost count of the things I was told during pregnancy and the unsolicited advice I get as a mother. So I thought I'd share that with you, let me know down below if any of this sounds familiar to you. How did you deal with unwanted advice, birth horror stories etc?
As always thanks for reading my bit of a rant, but it feels good to have gotten it off my chest! xoxo