FLOURISH BLOG: Providing tools and (true) stories for creating an inspired, intuitive life.
Truly, this comment is offensive to most women. It didn’t bother me, but it bothers most—so best not to say that out loud.
When I was pregnant with my second I was especially HUGE. My sister was sitting on my living room couch when I was about five months pregnant, as I was moving in to sit next to her she was like, “Oh my god, your ass looks huge.”
I responded, “That’s because it IS HUGE!” Later that night she started calling me “BB.” When I asked her what that meant she told me it stood for “Big Butt.” A friend of mine who was also in the room literally cried, “Nooooo,” when she heard this—totally offended by the exchange and trying to protect me.
I replied, “It’s fine. It’s the truth. My ass IS huge. And some day she’ll be pregnant too and her ass will be huge. It’s fine. That’s how it goes.”
If you are pregnant, compared to your normal self, no matter what that looks like, you are big. You’ve also got tons of hormones coursing through your body—which means you might not be able to help if that statement really offends you or makes you cry. Especially when even under normal circumstances it’s probably not something you want to hear.
Think of it, you wouldn’t say this to a woman who wasn’t pregnant— why say it to a woman who is? Just avoid letting that one slip and everyone will be better off.
2. “Giving birth is so painful” or some variation of your personal labor horror story.
When I was pregnant with my first I read the book Orgasmic Birth (apparently there is now also a movie) because I was hoping to be one of those few lucky women who actually experience giving birth as one giant orgasm. The reality for me was that while giving birth to my first the only thing I could eek out between every contraction was, “This is CRAZY!” I had no idea it was possible to feel so much pain. The other thought that kept running through my head was “I can’t believe there are so many people in the world!”
That being said, though I don’t personally know any of the orgasmic birth women (that I am aware of) I do have a friend who after giving birth to her first child described the feeling as “uncomfortable.” She was serious. That is how the business of being in labor felt for her, “slightly uncomfortable.”
No one really knows if a woman’s labor is going to be painful. Just because yours felt like being in a war zone doesn’t mean hers will. Personally, I always hope for the best—for every woman. You can help her do this by letting her have her own experience and not forcing your painful one down her throat. Who knows, she might be about to have the biggest orgasm of her life!
3. “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into!” or the alternative for the woman expecting her second, “Two is SOOO much harder than one.”
Okay, as with most of these, even though it may be true, why say this? Why? Since she is obviously going there—scaring her is just plain rude. It’s like standing on the side of the road, watching a car that’s heading toward certain collision and yelling at the top of your lungs, “YOU’RE F—ED!” Is that helpful? No.
Like all moms, she’ll figure it out. She’s amazing—she’s already doing the very hard work of creating and growing a child. I mean right now she’s growing a brain, and finger nails, and lungs and blood vessels, and… What are you doing? Just breathing and talking?
After the baby is born, with some combination of grace and clumsiness, she’ll figure out how to make mamma-hood work for her and her little one- like we all do. Regaling her with scary stories that have an undercurrent of “You’re not going to be able to handle this!” is just wrong.
4. “Just wait, you’re not going to get any sleep.”
If you’ve ever been pregnant you know— you already aren’t getting any sleep. You have to get up to pee every hour or so, and just rolling over in bed requires serious weight lifting tactics and time consuming pillow re-arranging procedures. On top of that sometimes your eyes pop open in the middle of the night and you are suddenly wide-awake for no apparent reason. You already aren’t getting any sleep—and your body is taxed beyond most reasonable limits. Getting the doomsday report that this is going to go on forever is decidedly not helpful. And it’s not—going to last forever. Nothing does.
5. Enjoy your free time now because you’re not going to have any soon.
I still remember those moments when my son was a baby and I could bounce him on my knee to soothe him AND finish the email I was writing. I also remember when he became a toddler and running after him became the only thing I did almost every minute of the day. Around that time I also got some valuable advice which helped me realize that virtually any project could be accomplished 20 minutes at a time at random intervals.
I also remember that when I was in the Peace Corps in Senegal deprived of all access to most western food I used to literally fantasize about eating the cafeteria food at my college. If someone had told me while I was at school, “Savor this potato bar now because there’s going to come a time in your life when you’ll really miss it.” I would have told them to shut the hell up.
I wouldn’t have exchanged my experience living in Senegal for a potato bar any day. Just like I wouldn’t trade the challenges and joys of motherhood for all the free time in the world. And despite any legitimate complaining or pining for those days that most mothers experience, they wouldn’t either. So really, just save it, she can’t hear it now, and it won’t matter later.
Please… feel free to add to the list with your comment!