I have been blessed with a very healthy, very active pregnancy. (Up until the last week where I slowed down exponentially…) I can only imagine that this list would be longer for those that were not. Feel free to add more to the comments!
I’ve seen the blog posts about what to do for the new mom and the advice about how we can take advantage of these last weeks as DINKs. (Dual Income No Kids) But I’ve noticed there’s not much out there to help the rest of you through those last few weeks of pregnancy. With you being defined as the multicultural world I now live in; an American abroad in an Asian country that is about 40% expat – so throw in a healthy dose of European influence as well.
And all y’all have so many different ways to do things. Let. Me. Tell. You. So I won’t even get into the advice about things like my not being allowed to eat pineapple or rubbing it in that the US doesn’t have maternity leave …
I’m sure you think you’re being helpful. And that’s great. But if you’re doing any of these things, chances are, you’re actually probably not. So I’m trying to help you here. Promise.
Please keep these in mind the next time you talk to a woman about to give birth.
Things NOT to say in those last few weeks…. Side note: this was majorly written while bouncing on a yoga ball during my four days in mild but long (early) labor, so I do not apologize for nor did I edit much the tone of it. Some of you need to hear it. And some women don’t have the ‘tude to tell you straight.
Me in my pillow fort of support at exactly 40 weeks – about 8 hours before labor started.
#1: “The baby will come when it’s ready!”
Don’t say that. Ever. We get it. But you’re likely saying this in response to one of two things:
1) you asked when I was due and that date has passed or is fast approaching.
or 2) I just told you about the weird food concoction I tried because the internet said it can bring on labor.
Either way, you’re diminishing how I’m managing my exhaustion and frustration and pain. And it’s probably just going to make me want to punch you.
Newsflash: We’re not in control of really anything right now – including the ability to sneeze without peeing. So the small feeling of forward progress that we get when drinking that tea or eating spicy food or getting acupuncture helps. Or realize that maybe we just like spicy food and those little needles actually do help with the back pain.
Either way, we’re probably uncomfortable as hell right now; I guarantee something is sore and we’re watching our other half sleep soundly through it. So when you try and negate that little bit of relief, you’re kind of just coming off as an ass.
Instead – try optimistically suggesting/lying that “It’ll be here soon!” or just reassuring us that the first minute/week/month/year will make this part all worth it.
#2: “It’s going to hurt!” (Or really any reference to how much “pain” I will be in or insistence on how much I will need that epidural.)
No. No. No. Especially if you’re citing references from your favorite movies or your friend’s birth last year.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s painful for a lot of women. And good on you if you opt for the epidural. Your birth, your choice. But birth doesn’t have to be long *or* painful. Mine was neither. I brought a 4.2kg babe into this world without the epi. And I did it in less than 6 hours; only 1 1/2 of them at the hospital. And didn’t even have an IV. So just stop. Especially if it’s a first time mom – there’s no need for you to put that in her head.
How’d I do it? Hypnobirthing, an amazing doula and partner, and alternative birth positions like kneeling and standing lunges. Yup you read that right; look it up. And then stop insisting that it will be painful.
Instead – really with this one it’s the old saying of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So say something positive or keep it to yourself. And suggestions or stories are one thing, I can deal with a few of those. But for the love of all that is staying my friend, please don’t *insist* on what I’m going to want or dish out medical advice. That’s between me and my OB.
#3: Checking in every day to know if the *baby* is here.
I’m not talking about sending encouragement here. I’m talking about the direct “Is the baby here yet?” posts. I get it. You’re excited. You’re waiting for the flood of baby pictures that should follow making a human. But did you just make yourself the 8th person to post on some version of *public* social media to ask if my kid is here yet?
No. No it’s not. And believe me, by this point, I want this kid here exponentially more than you do.
Remember when I announced pregnancy via social media? I promise I will let you all know when the actual child arrives. Until then, please spare me the 5 week window of regular public check ins on the tiny human arrival.
Instead – if you’re actually concerned, just check in on ME. Via private message. I guarantee I’ll appreciate it way more and will tell you if there’s been a change and the kid is no longer on the inside. You’ll likely even get a more detailed answer/update rather than a sarcastic one.
My favorite was the friend that sent the message; “Since I haven’t seen an announcement I thought I would send encouragement 😊” <insert link to Salt N Pepa ‘Push It’ video>
Humor is good.
Or better yet, for conversation in general, talk about something that isn’t baby related. I’m going crazy waiting and it doesn’t hurt to feel like a normal human again.