My Pregnancy Is Not About You
Okay everyone. I've got my ranty pants on today. Normally I limit my posts to style and trends and try to keep my personal thoughts and opinions to myself online. I've left the posts about social issues and political strife to the experts while I stuck to teaching women how to incorporate current trends into their existing wardrobe. Not today.
For years, I have been watching friends and family get pregnant. I've gone to showers, I've seen new babies in hospitals. It's all glorious, and I love it. I have ALSO gone and talked to these moms and heard some complaints that no one seems to want to say, in fear of hurting those around them. I am now one of those pregnant ladies, and I'm going to let you in on a little secret:
Their pregnancy is not about YOU.
That's right, I said it. I know that not everyone agrees with me and that's fine, but for the sake of discussion, here is what I'm hearing:
1. Don't touch the belly. Some people may not mind, some people may love it, but the ladies I talk to LOATHE it. I mean think about it: When else in life is it appropriate for a COMPLETE stranger to come up and tough your stomach? I'm sorry, but if you did that when I wasn't pregnant, I would probably bust out the pepper spray. Or punch you (I've got an excellent right hook). The belly is right between the areas on your body that could get someone sued if a co-worker touched them in the workplace. I still jump if my husband touches it and I didn't see it coming (and I'm almost six months pregnant). I'm incredibly ticklish and jumpy already, so people with their hands on me has always freaked me out. I know that you mean well, and it makes you happy, but this is NOT ABOUT you. A lot of women, pregnant or not, HATE their stomach being touched. It's just a thing. Ask the mom if it's okay if you reeeeaaaaaaallllllly need to. If not, wait for them to say, "Do you want to feel to baby?" It's rude to assume that putting your hands on someone else is okay. Don't put the mom in a weird position by making her tell you to stop. We teach kids to keep their hands to themselves. Adults, do the same.
2. Stop with the weird shower gifts. Here's another sticky situation. The shower gift. There is a registry for a reason. Some people love to make handmade gifts. That is lovely and awesome and incredibly personal. Those gifts get a pass. The issue is when the mommy to-be registers for what she NEEDS (read: will probably buy with her own money if not given to her as a gift) and you picking out what you want may NOT be what she wants. GASP! I know, I know, that baby outfit you saw is sooooo cute. However, the $20-$60 you just spent on clothes the mom doesn't need could've gone to diapers (Newsflash, moms love diapers. They're expensive, people) or some other necessity. The registry exists so that the new parents don't have to purchase everything themselves. Some moms have flat out told me that they got a TON of baby clothes, but none of their necessities. Those clothes get worn once, maybe twice before the baby grows out of them. Hello! Car seats and strollers and play yards are EXPENSIVE. If you can't afford an entire large present, give a gift card! New moms LOVE gift cards. It allows them to purchase exactly what they need and you know that it is appreciated. The problem is that the gift givers want to give what THEY think is cute and necessary. Again, it's NOT about you! Ask the mother-to-be what they really need from their registry. Chances are, they will tell you. Stop with the room decor and the cute outfits if they aren't on the registry. If you're going to get clothes in lieu of a registry item, ask first. I know some people think gift cards are tacky, but let me tell you: They are SO handy when the wave of diapers and wipes come and go.
3. Stop stalking the new mom at the hospital. Birth is hard on all involved. Stop trying to go to the hospital too early. Unless the new mommy has explicitly invited you arrive at a certain time: Wait. Don't ask family member A, B, or C if it's okay. Set up (ahead of time) one person to communicate with (the baby's father, grandmother, etc) to let everyone else know when it is appropriate to come see the baby. The mom may want time to rest. Or clean herself up. Or work on breastfeeding (I hear that can feel like a huge challenge). Or perhaps the new mommy wants to spend some time with her bundle of joy without knowing there's a room full of family waiting to see the baby. I hate keeping people waiting, and I know that a great deal of other ladies feel the same way. If I KNOW you're waiting, I'll try to hurry. With my little one, I'm putting my foot down. Those precious few hours when the baby is new are something I want to share with my husband. Period. The end. Too many people make new moms feel rushed and I know that you don't mean to. Everyone loves a new baby, but once again, it's NOT ABOUT YOU. If you don't get confirmation from the new mommy or her designated spokesperson, stop showing up at the hospital early. Let the mom breathe and get to know her new little person.
Okay, ranty pants off. Just remember, everyone is different and try to act more considerate. This is not just the post of one ranty mom-to-be. This is the culmination of YEARS of complaints I have heard from family and friends. I'm not alone, apparently I'm just the only one who wants to tell you about it. I'm jumping in front of the proverbial mommy bus to let you know what I hear.
Take it for what it's worth, but please be more considerate. When in doubt, ask the mommy.