Reminiscing, things I wish I had replied.

 

I wrote some ideas for a blog for Jess… and one that popped up time and time again when researching was ‘things not to say to a pregnant woman’ I thought about this carefully… wouldn’t it just be the same list of phrases from every other blog with that topic and was it really something I cared about?

Not really.

Well, maybe just a few of them deserved a reply that I didn’t have the brain capacity to shoot back in that moment so I’ll quickly take the opportunity now:

  • You’re about to pop – well im not, im going to spend 23 hours in painful labour before vaginally delivering an 8lb 3 baby…. I am not corn.
  • You’re getting big – yup, im growing another person…
  • You’re glowing – ill take that one… I knew I was mank and grumpy so every compliment was banked. Except you, creepy man on the tube who kept staring at my bump (boobs?) and smiling and then stopped to tell me… you should be quiet.
  • Are you planning on breastfeeding? Oddly more guys than girls asked me this…Freud would have a field day with that but I felt weird talking about it because I didn’t know… I didn’t want to plan too much – on the flip side of this isn’t it great that we can talk openly about feeding choices…. Let’s push it further and ask about ‘feeding’ not a specified breast or bottle choice because mums have enough worry without adding to it.
  • Is it twins? No and I’m glad because I’m 5ft 2 and a twins belly would have rendered me a weevil.
  • Sleep now you’ll never again – I did hate this one but my god do I wish I had listened.
  • Its not unusual these days to have a 10lb baby – that was one of the midwives. Still haven’t come up with a response… but maybe c-section?
  • You’ll never do anything for yourself…. Wrong but thanks for making me more determined to ensure I did.

In fairness, I didn’t mind all of that, people mean well and in a weird way it felt like I had a village around me, be it strangers or family who were saying the things that they felt were right in that situation, joining in, supporting – somehow by wheeling out these clichés people feel involved in the situation and if anything, these words are a rite of passage for any first time parent. (second timers feel free to respond as you want – a punch in the face usually works)

The only thing that ever really bothered me was in the first trimester, because having been joyous on finding out I was pregnant, this feeling was quickly thrown out with the bath water from the overwhelming nausea, sickness and constant hangover like symptoms that followed me around for 14 weeks.

I was working a stressful job that wasn’t prepared to be supportive unless I announced to members of the team I was pregnant so they could justify me stepping back a little while I dealt with these imperative first stages so I felt overwhelmed and sick and incredibly excited and nervous to get past that vital 12 week mark.

People didn’t like my lack of happiness…. And it was there under the grey tinge of my tired pukey face, it was there while I lay down trying to stop the spinning and it was there while I threw up the McFlurry I had insisted my husband needed to get me immediately.

I already felt bad enough, I didn’t really need the guilt that I wasn’t showing off how happy I was when I was just trying to survive those weeks and get to the magic second trimester.

Did you know that some women have to take anti-depressants for their pregnancy? Hormones are a powerful thing and in that first trimester we need a village around us to support whatever we are feeling… happy, sad, depressed, alone, anxious, joyful, elated… every feel is valid.

So let’s keep the clichés alive and kickin’ because it’s traditional to hear them, but let’s make sure we are also asking how those new mamas are feeling and don’t try to counter argue when they don’t give the answer you expect. If they look grey and miserable it doesn’t mean they don’t want to be pregnant and definitely don’t say – ‘you should be happy you’re pregnant’

 

Sophie aka Muffin and Puffin!

 

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