Both Eric and I have encountered the strangest phenomenon. When we tell someone that I’m pregnant, the person being told will go from whatever demeanor they had possessed prior to the statement, to an expression of complete joy, delight, and happiness. And our response internally is, “wait.. I’m pregnant.. not you…”
But that doesn’t seem to matter to whomever is being told. Now mind, this seems to be the case mostly with women who have already had kids. It seems that people internalize the news and immediately their mind returns to happier days, only the good ones, of when they had a baby and how miraculous, joyous and exciting it was. They momentarily forget your existence as they gush on about what a most wonderful experience it is.
Contrary to any notions I may have held previously, this whole experience is vastly different than that of telling someone you’re engaged, which opened a floodgate of questions around have you picked this out, did you do that, what does the dress look like, are your parents excited, let me see the ring, etc. If the wedding conversation is bride-centric, the baby conversation is whoever-is-talking-to-you-centric.
And yet in both scenarios I was made to feel special, which is nice. People treat you differently when you’re pregnant.. someone who used to be kindof challenging to work with now checks to see how you’re doing every day. And the biggest difference between the two is, while both are expensive, the wedding planning was constant, as where the baby making is a big waiting game, so naturally you must fill the time with talking.
So probably the most unexpected thing about telling someone I’m pregnant is the amount of information women are willing to share once you’ve entered “the club.” All of a sudden I am now worthy, willingly or no, of very private and personal details, to a great extent, of what they went through during pregnancy and, Lord help me, labor. I’ve heard stories ranging from “my pregnancies were like falling off a log they were so easy” (that cracked me up!) to horror stories of how sick someone was and what they endured, to vaginal births and the joy of breastfeeding, to stories about what happened to breasts after choosing not to breastfeed (including people I wouldn’t say I know all that well). LOTS of details and information. Maybe I’ll be the same way some day.
And lastly, the advice. Soooo much advice. I know everyone means well, truly, I know they just want to pump me full of information so that I’m better prepared. But I’m getting so much advice from every direction, and then they always follow it it with, “but you do what you want. You tell people it’s YOUR baby” and always with the disclaimer, “but this is what I did…”
I literally shut down the other day, because a group of us had been having a casual conversation, which turned into what I should expect, and I mentioned how I’m a little nervous and worried about once the baby comes I’ll want my mom around to help, and the conversation spiraled into how you just know what to, you don’t need any help, you get through it, just be sure you do this this this and that, and it’s so easy and natural but terrifying and you can’t break the baby but you can break the baby etc etc etc on and on. And so much advice. So much. Advice. At some point someone realized I was no longer involved in the conversation and was just sitting quietly, but they took it for worry and said I shouldn’t worry, and I brushed it off with that I was just tired. Very tired. Of so much information.
(and I’m not one to tell people thanks but no thanks.. I’m a pushover who wants people to be happy so I just listen and learn what I can)
Honestly, I know people mean well. I’ve just made up my mind that I don’t want to offer advice unless someone specifically asks for it. I know I’ll most likely fail at that, especially once I’m a mom and I know best and about everything. But I’d truly like to make every effort to let someone ask first, then I’ll talk. I think advice is much more appreciated when sought after instead of freely given. You know, that whole something earned is worth more than something free, or whatever.
What I really want is for someone to tell me the baby’s heart is still beating (on a daily basis, not just once a month), that it looks like a baby and not something mutant or scary, and then when I have the baby I want someone to cook and clean for me and tell me that I’m doing everything right. I think I would be happy with just that and nothing more. Oh, and lots of gifts… lots and lots of baby shower gifts.
But such is life that nothing is easy, so it makes sense that an easy pregnancy would be accompanied by things to make it more worrisome than necessary 🙂 Really I just know that whatever God has planned for me and this baby is best and is what will happen whether I will it or no, so there really isn’t anything to worry about.