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Real Talk

Talking To A Pregnant Woman: 101

What We Need To Hear

I feel there are a few things most pregnant women worry about, and a few things we all need to hear. People are sensitive, but pregnant people are super sensitive. So, even though some of the messages we get may be well-intended, they can come across to us the wrong way. We appreciate the message, just maybe not the delivery. These are some of the things I needed to understand when I was pregnant, and some of the things I heard instead.

Birth Is Hard, But You Can Do It.

One thing I learned while pregnant is that moms love to tell their horror birth stories to you. It’s almost like they enjoy seeing the look of fear on your face as they tell you about their asshole tearing open during birth. I had so many moms tell me about all the awful things they endured, and then laugh and say “Aren’t you excited?” It got to the point where I would steer conversations away from pregnancy and birth, because I just didn’t want to hear about all the crazy things can happen to the human body. I understand it’s important to know what to expect, but there’s a way to inform someone without scaring the crap out of them. I also understand that it can feel good to talk about your birth experience; but if it’s disturbing and scary, save that story for other moms – don’t take it upon yourself to frighten the pregnant lady. What I needed to hear was the part of the story where the mom made it through the tough experience and had that magical moment where everything was all worth it, because they got to hold their baby. I needed to hear about how good it feels to meet your child for the first time. Spare us the gory details – we know birth is going to be hard; we don’t need to be more scared than we already are.

You’ll Be Tired, But Not Forever.

Probably the number one comment I got while pregnant was “Get your sleep now, you’ll never sleep well again.” People had me believing that I was going to have to learn how to function off of basically no sleep until my kid was like, 5. I was terrified. You always hear about those people who can function and thrive off of 4-6 hours of sleep a night. Well, I am not one of those people. I need at least 8 hours a night. If I don’t get enough sleep, I’m not only a raging bitch, but I actually feel ill. I was so scared that I was going to be a perma-cranky-mom. It is true that for the first little while, you don’t sleep very much. Baby is up every hour or so, or you’re so obsessed with checking to make sure they’re alive that you only ever really fall half-asleep. But the claim that you’ll never sleep well again is bogus. There is light at the end of the tunnel, trust me. It sucks for a little bit, but it does not last. That is what I needed to hear. I needed to know that yes, I would be tired, but also that I would adapt and find a way to get the sleep I needed.

You Look Good.

Being naturally thin my whole life, comments about my large pregnant body really freaked me out. I would hear things like “How much weight have you gained,” or “Your butt is getting big,” or even “Wow, you’re huge!” I’m sure these comments weren’t intended to be mean or critical but all I could hear was “You’re fat.” The crazy thing is, I had wanted to gain some weight because I always felt too skinny, but I had a really hard time doing so. I was looking forward to pregnancy because I knew I would be able to put some meat on my bones. Once it started happening, though, I couldn’t be happy because I kept hearing comments that made me feel like I didn’t look good.  What I needed to hear, and what most pregnant women probably need to hear is this; “You look good!” It’s really not necessary to comment on weight – you wouldn’t comment on a non-pregnant person’s weight, so don’t comment on a pregnant person’s weight either. Like we tell our children; if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.

Your Social Life Will Change.

During pregnancy, I was always told that my social life was about to disappear. People tried to convince me that I was going to be stuck alone on mom-island. I kept hearing that motherhood is lonely. I was afraid I was going to lose my friends, and that an “outing” would be a trip to Walmart. In reality, I still have the same friends, plus more. And while yes, an outing to Walmart is actually kind of fun, I can still do other things. I needed to hear that my social life was going to change, not that it was going to disappear. I needed to hear that even if I couldn’t go out all night long, my friends would still be there for me. Social outings look different with a baby; they don’t stop happening.

I’m not saying it’s necessary to walk on egg-shells with pregnant women. We’re sensitive, but we’re not completely irrational. We understand that for some odd reason, a lot of people don’t know what to say to a pregnant lady. But really, try not to call us fat. And try not to scare us. We’re walking around with Pluto underneath our shirts; we don’t need insensitive verbal diarrhea added to the mix.

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