Monday, July 12, 2010

The TYSNFFTASOAPIRTPAB Post

That is, the "Things You Should Not Feel Free to Ask, Say, or Advise People in Regard to Pregnancy and Babies" Post.

The things on this list come from personal experience, so this is certainly not an all-inclusive list - I'm sure all women who have been or currently are pregnant could add to it. That also means that it may not apply in the next pregnant woman's life, as in it may not bother them, so take this for what it is - just my opinion. :-)

1. Asking "So when are you going to get pregnant?" or any version of said question (start trying, have a baby, etc.)
Okay, I used to be a person who felt the freedom to ask such a question, I'll admit. But as it turns out... it's not really anyone's business to ask. This question didn't bother me for a long time; I'm an open book, so I'd say what we were thinking about the whole situation. However, once we started trying, it seemed like such a personal ordeal. We didn't want everyone to know, because we didn't want to get asked every month if we were pregnant yet. So I never knew how to answer that question without blatantly lying (which I wouldn't, by the way; I'd just say something like, "who knows, we are waiting on the Lord"). At one point someone jokingly said something about us having 9 months to have a baby, & these comments hurt when you realize it's not as easy as just "deciding" you want a baby. Some people have to wait, & that wait was hard!! Harder than I expected. So, basically, watch what you say to people about getting pregnant. Sometimes you don't know what's really going on.

2. Telling a pregnant person a story about miscarriage.
The first trimester of pregnancy is an uncertain time (really the whole thing is, but relatively speaking, the first 3 months are the worst). So telling a story about miscarriage, whether personal or secondhand, to someone who is pregnant is a bad idea, not to mention not very encouraging. An acquaintance heard that I was pregnant, & asked how far along I was. I said 10 weeks. She proceeded to tell me about how she miscarried at 12 weeks, then struggled for 2 years to get pregnant again. This is not to discount her experience. I can't imagine going through that. I just don't think it's appropriate to tell someone who is pregnant & concerned for the life growing inside of them. It's too easy to worry - we don't need any extra reason to fear!

3. Telling someone "you aren't even showing!"
Most people know it's a bad idea to say something like, "you're HUGE!" "you're only 20 weeks? you look like you're 9 months!" I haven't had anyone say anything like that to me. But when I was first having to wear maternity clothes, maybe around 15 weeks, I had several people tell me I was tiny, that I wasn't showing at all. Now I realize this might not upset some pregnant women. But when I saw that I no longer had a waist & my stomach was pooching out, I felt like I was being told that I was poochy before I was pregnant & that nothing had changed! I wanted to hear that I was showing a little bit, not that I apparently needed to wear elastic pants pre-pregnancy without realizing it! Plus after 15ish weeks of feeling nauseous & exhausted, to finally be showing seemed to validate my pregnancy, so I felt like that was taken from me when people disagreed. Yes, I read into it big time - let's blame it on the hormones! But I finally got a perfect response from someone - "you look beautiful!" Now, how can that go wrong?? So just say that to a pregnant woman & you're golden.

4. "Eat that cake, you're eating for two!"
This one doesn't really bother me, but hello, 300 extra calories a day is not eating for two! That stuff goes on my thighs, not Elliot's! Silly people.

5. Anything except for "What a wonderful name!!" or some version of positive feedback when you hear what someone is naming their baby.
I actually haven't had any negative comments about Elliot's name (not to my face anyways!), so this one isn't personal but I know a lot of people experience it. There are so many types of names: traditional, modern, gender neutral names, old-fashioned names, names that are completely made up. Clearly some people do just have some crazy name ideas. But for the most part it's just a matter of what you like versus what other people like. Where people get confused is thinking they are allowed to share their opinion about someone else's baby's name. Nope. Not in the least. So, be encouraging! That name is special & chosen specifically for that child. That's a big deal!

6. Negative commentary in regard to a decision a pregnant woman/couple makes.
There are only about 927,461,854 decisions, give or take a few, to make in regard to pregnancy & parenthood. Doctors & hospitals, epidurals, C-sections, circumcision, breastfeeding, vaccinations, blah blah blah. & if other pregnant women are like me, they'll spend plenty of time thinking about everything & doing plenty of research about the options & praying about every decision. I am so thankful that Josh & I see so many of the issues the same way so it has been easy to make a lot of these decisions together. I try not to share a lot of these decisions with other people if they wouldn't know otherwise, because I know there are a lot of opinions. But I have had people ask me specific questions in regard to some of these things, or about cloth diapers which is not going to be a secret as soon as people see pictures of Elliot, & promptly tell me I am crazy or give me a look that says pretty much the same thing. Then let me enjoy my craziness, & you can make another decision for your child - that is okay, right??

7. Negative stories about pregnancy/postpartum/parenthood.
"You think you're tired NOW? Just wait!" Talking badly about their kids then saying, "Are you ready for that?!" "Your body is NEVER THE SAME." aka.... get ready for your life to end. Seriously people! What happened to children being a blessing? What happened in between "Congratulations on your pregnancy!" & "You don't know what you're in for!"??? For me, I have had a hard time with seeing my body get bigger, especially outside of the stomach area. I have felt yucky most of the past 6 months. But this is something I chose because I want children; we want children, lots of them! So it makes me sad to hear people say such negative things. & as I struggle with not being vain & selfish, I need to hear those positive stories instead of how women are still sad over what pregnancy did to their bodies or what having kids did for their lives.

You see a trend?? Negativity is BAD! Encouragement is GOOD! Pregnancy has been a crazy ride, & I have struggled through it so far. I have had to learn (& continue to learn) a new way of dying to myself, of letting go of things that don't matter, of getting over pride & vanity, of learning how to do what is good & right despite how I feel physically. I want to have an attitude that is pleasing to the Lord. I want to be a parent that is godly & leads her children to Jesus & takes them back to scripture in every situation. I need encouragement. I need prayer. So most of the above issues have made my struggle harder & pushed my thoughts away from trusting the Lord & resting in His plan for me & our family. I am blessed to have some people in my life who have been encouraging & wonderful through this time, & I am so thankful for them, so I don't want to make it seem like it's all been bad.

God still has a lot to teach me in the next 3 months, & I'm trying to learn as much of it as possible. I don't want to miss an opportunity or let this time pass by without changing me for the better. So, pray that that happens. Thanks. :-)

8 comments:

Becky said...

:-) I LOVE to watch friends' pregnancies/early parenthood. (I say early because that's as far as I've gotten with anyone near my age that I know well.) It's all so exciting! And you DO look beautiful. Can't wait to see pictures of the little man when he makes his arrival in a few months! Yay!

The Dodds said...

This is so great Courtney! Really funny... but so very true! And a good reminder for alllll of us!

Whitney said...

so true, so true. Funny, when I was "in the moment" myself, I thought pretty much all of the same stuff. I guess dealing with the negativity is another one of those things (like the sickness, etc...) that the Lord is gracious to let us forget once it's over. :) Can't wait for October! :)

HB said...

I LOVED this. You are RIGHT on, sister. I developed the TOUGHEST skin (after crying a lot. ha) during those days. LOVED LOVED LOVED this post- well said!

Angie Heinemann said...

You ARE beautiful friend! I loved this. And I am always thankful for the loads of wisdom you have shared with me about this giant leap o' faith in baby-making business.

Down Home Simplicity said...

Thank you so much for writing this! Oh girl you said so many things I have wanted to say but didn't know how to say it without fear of someone getting the wrong idea. You said it all perfectly! Thank you for your encouragement here, I really needed it today! You are going to be an amazing momma! Press on sweet friend!

Katy Clark said...

You forgot to include unwarranted, unwanted and yucky touching of the belly! Hello, do you normally walk up to semi-strangers and rub their tummies?!?!? Yes, there's a baby in there, but that doesn't make my stomach public domain. :)

Courtney, I love being pregnant, loved nursing and loved (still do) being a mom. Hang in there....when you see his little smile for the first time it will ALL be worth it.

Oh, and I hereby give you permission to take a nap (or two, or three) everyday. If you're tired rest. If someone doesn't like it too bad.

Melissa Shearer said...

Court,

Loved your post- so true & I'm not even pregnant! One thing you forgot is people should never have the courage to ask "Are you pregnant?" if they don't know that you are! My gosh, what a way to make a girl think- "Man, I guess I really need to go to the gym today!"